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Tabata Training 101

June 19, 2013 2 min read

In the last few years, tabata training has garnered a whole lot of attention - and rightfully so. Tabata training is a specialized kind of interval training that uses timed full body exercises and a high number of sets to blast fat and build muscle - in just 4 minutes. There are variations of tabata training, but in the traditional method, you have to push hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 for an exhausting 8 sets. Yes, 8 sets.

If you are just doing an isolated movement, like crunches for instance, this may not seem like a very challenging prospect. However, we’re not talking about isolated movements. We want compound, killer, full body exercises. Think deadlifts with shoulder presses, weighted jump lunges with keg presses, jump squats to chin ups. By the end of the 8th set, you should be ready to collapse. If you’re not, you’ve been cheating yourself on your weights, your power, your precision, or all three.

Tabata training works for the same reasons high intensity interval training works; it pushes your body through short and intense bursts of activity with small bouts of rest. The result is a massive calorie and fat burn during and after the workout.

Tabata training is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata. In 1996, he and his team at Tokyo's National Institute of Fitness and Sports discovered that people who trained at a high intensity for 4 minutes 4 days a week for 6 weeks not only saw improved aerobic conditioning (when muscles work with oxygen) but also had a 28% increase in anaerobic conditioning (without oxygen) - and it’s when we work anaerobically that we really burn fat.The group who exercised at a moderate intensity, on the other hand, worked out 1 hour for 5 days a week, for 6 weeks and only saw an increase in aerobic conditioning.

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