The Tabata Protocol is a high-intensity workout that produces amazing results. A Tabata workout (also referred to as a Tabata sequence) is an interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum effort exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated without pause for 8 cycles. The total time to complete the Tabata sequence is four minutes.
The brain child behind this simple and powerful training method belongs to its namesake, Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. The groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.
Although Dr. Tabata used a mechanically braked exercise cycle machine, you can apply this protocol to almost any exercise. For example, a basic Tabata workout can be performed by doing push-ups. The more muscles used the better, so make sure you are using a full range of motion. Do push-ups nonstop for 20 second intervals, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of 8 cycles.
You will be blown away by how intense the four minutes of exercise will be. The sequence calls on both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. For the system to work, you must perform each set at maximum effort. Perform as many reps as humanly possible during the twenty seconds, followed by ten seconds of rest. After 8 full cycles, you have completed a Tabata sequence.
For an insanely intense workout I recommend combine 4 separate Tabata intervals, each four minutes in duration. You total workout will last 16 minutes. Please consult with your medical doctor before attempting the Tabata sequence. Combining these four exercises into one Tabata workout will blow your mind: Pull-ups, Squats, Push-ups and Jump Rope. Good Luck!!!
Remember the ten second rest period is very important, both physically and mentally. They provide partial recovery and moment of psychological relief.
One of my favorite Tabata workouts is the squat/over head dumbbell press combination. This is referred to as the “squat thruster” in the world of Cross-Fit. Take two dumbbells and hold them at shoulder height. Squat down, pushing your rear-end back, keeping the dumbbells on the shoulders. As you rise up, press the bells to the overhead lockout position.
For those of you who looking for a serious way to get in shape fast, try the Tabata sequence.