Tabata is one of the most intense workouts in the fitness world. While it is very versatile in the moves and specific exercises that can be used, it is very specific in intensity and timing of intense intervals.
Specifically it calls for 20 seconds of moves at maximum exertion levels, then 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.
It is also sometimes a controversial way of exercising, which, is sometimes debated across the fitness community, over its safety, benefits and in what situations it should or should not be used.
In this article I will go over all of the pros and cons of Tabata in a non-biased way to allow you to make an educated decision about whether Tabata is for you.
Pros of Tabata
Many of us have a busy work and family life and working out each day is hard to fit into the schedule. Tabata is usually done within 4 minutes and rarely exceeds 10. This kind of quick and efficient workout instantly appeals to those that are busy and rightfully so. Due to the short time that Tabata takes people do not need to drive down to the gym every day and instead can fit a session in at home or even in a break at the office.
Leading on from the “Fast” pro, Tabata is arguably the quickest way to burn calories and essentially loose fat. This is, of course, if you work it out in the terms of “minutes spent working out” to results. The fact that you can burn the same amount of calories in 4 minutes with Tabata than a 30, 45 or even 60 minute walking session is a real pro to Tabata.
3. Added benefits
Due to the way Tabata works it is also said by many professionals to help build muscle as well as strength. Depending on the exercise, Tabata can be an excellent way to build strength in different parts of the body and core strength is an added benefit as it calls on the core to keep stability whilst performing challenging tasks.
It is also known to increase stamina and endurance, which, are important not only for professional athletes, but, for all of us, especially, as we go towards the senior years.
Cons of Tabata
There is a big amount of speculation from experts into whether Tabata is suitable. The plain truth is that Tabata is NOT suitable for absolutely everyone. For example, an individual with heart problems or someone who suffers with high blood pressure should not take part in Tabata.
This is due to the fact that the way Tabata works is to increase the heart rate drastically for these short bursts of full body exertion and with the short rest time the body does not allow the heart rate to lower hence forcing a higher and higher rate.
For healthy individuals this isn’t a problem and will increase fitness levels but for some, it can be life threatening.
Due to the “quick and efficient” connotations people have around Tabata and its method, stretching and other safety precautions are often discarded as not important and efficiency of the workout overalls health. This is a big mistake to make which many people do.
Always make sure that there is adequate room for the exercise of your choice and that the surface is soft enough for you to perform movements without injuring joints. For example, push ups require a softer surface as pushing your bodyweight up repetitively on concrete / hard flooring can cause wrist inflammatory and damage.
Finally, be sure to stretch and warm up all muscle groups, especially those that you know there will be an emphasis on with the exercise of your choice. This is essential in order to reduce the risk of “pulling” and injuring muscles and joints.
If you are a healthy individual who takes care with warming up before exercise Tabata is a fantastic way to burn large amounts of calories in a fast and efficient way. Also, keep in mind that if your fitness is on the lower end of the scale, this does not mean that you cannot work towards the Tabata goal.
The truth is with enough motivation, dedication and work anyone can do Tabata, even if it takes time to get there.