Tabata workouts are a type of HIIT – high intensity interval training- where you put your body in full power drive for twenty seconds, rest for twenty seconds, and then do it again—seven times over. But, it is actually much more intense than HIIT as it requires that you do the 20 second intervals at maximum level of intensity. This is of utmost importance and will include gasping for breath, extreme muscle burn, sweating and the ultimate push with the most exertion.
It’s a super-efficient way of getting your body in shape. Tabata exercises may target various parts of the body because there is a vast amount of moves to choose from and so you can use different exercise for the 20 second intense intervals based on the muscles you want to concentrate on.
Exercise Bike Tabata
If you have an exercise bike, the most basic Tabata exercise is simply cycling. But rather than sit there going at it for the typical boring hour, you’re going to do a carefully timed workout for the Tabata protocol.
Get out a stopwatch, or set your smartphone somewhere where you can reach and see it. The regular stopwatch will work, or you can download one of the many Tabata timing apps freely available.
For twenty seconds, pedal as fast as you can. During this entire high intensity period, your speedometer should read at least 35 RPM.
Another good way to turn up the intensity meter is to up the resistance or incline levels.
When your stopwatch shows twenty seconds or your Tabata timer bleeps it out to the world, stop. Just rest. Hang out there for exactly ten seconds, and then start again, using all the breath and energy reserves you’ve been gathering in the last ten seconds.
Do twenty more seconds of your fastest possible pedaling—again, going at least 35 RPM—and then rest again for ten more.
For a Tabata training session, you need to do 8 sets of twenty seconds each, spaced by ten minute rest periods. When it’s finished you may want to cool yourself down a little by some gentle cycling. It is also important to do a 5 minute warm up to get the muscles ready for the intense phases.
That’s one example of a Tabata exercise session. But it is only one. You can make up your own Tabata exercise sessions by putting together sets of exercises that target the muscles you need to work on.
More Tabata Regimens
For instance, if you feel you need some focus on upper body strength, push-ups are a great way to workout without any extra equipment. To do a push-up, you lie on your stomach on the floor and then get into plank position; hands slightly more than shoulder width apart. Your toes should be biting into the floor, your body in neutral position. Keeping yourself in a completely straight line, lower yourself so your chest touches the floor.
Exhale, but keep your core muscles engaged, and then push up with your hands till you’re back in the starting position— keeping yourself in a straight line the whole time.
That’s the basic push up.
A Tabata push-up session means you have to be really, really, intense about your push-ups for twenty seconds. Do as many repetitions for twenty seconds as humanly possible, all while keeping perfect form.
Then, you can relax and play dead for ten seconds. As soon as the ten seconds are up, though, go all out again—high intensity, working as fast as you can go.
When 8 rounds are completed, your Tabata push-up session is done. You might feel dead, but your body has completed an important milestone on the road to better health.
Tabata Mash Ups
There are more than 25 different moves that can be used in Tabata training. You can mix and mash them together in one session, or simply the same one over and over.
For example, you can do Russian Twists for 4 of the intense 20 second sessions and then Mountain Climbers for the other 4 sets.
You can also do a low and high impact mash up, by doing Sit Ups for the first four 20 second intervals, then take it up a notch and do Box Jumps for the other four.
No matter which you choose, you will never be bored, and you will keep the body at peak level of fitness because you are constantly keeping it guessing and challenged.
Tabata is intense and highly effective. Make sure to learn the moves you plan to do and keep perfect form to eliminate the risk of injury.
If you are new to fitness then you should start slower and build up, using the exercise bike for Tabata will be your best bet until you can work up to the more intense full body moves, like Burpees, Mountain Climbers and Lunge Jumps.