The wonderful world of Tabata

So, for my first official post I thought I would introduce you to a tried and tested but also tried and hated method of training…


This method has been called “the best fat burning workout ever’ and will increase your fitness levels like no other workout.

Dr Izumi TabataThe History:
The Tabata protocol was named after Dr Izumi Tabata, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports. The Tabata protocol was used by the Japanese National speed skating team to develop the fitness of their skaters.

Japanese National Ice Skating TeamResearch:
Many interval work to rest ratio’s were tested along with interval intensity and number of intervals. Dr Tabata’s research concluded that the following method was the most effective

20 secs intervals >90% MHR
10 secs rest
x8 intervals

The researchers found that guys who used the routine five days a week for six weeks improved their maximum aerobic capacity (a measure of your body’s ability to consume oxygen–the more oxygen you can take in, the longer and harder you’ll be able to run) by 14%. What’s more, it also improved anaerobic capacity (which measures your speed endurance, or the duration you’re able to sprint at full effort) by 28%. So the Tabata Protocol is the rare workout that benefits both endurance athletes and sprinters which is hard to accomplish. Consider that to a study of traditional aerobic training of running at 70% of aerobic capacity for 60 minutes for the same number of weeks showed an improvement in aerobic capacity of 9.5% and no effect on anaerobic capacity.

Now that’s impressive!

Try it out:
This test was used for elite athletes so it is recommended that you start at a lower intensity suitable for your current fitness levels. If you do not currently exercise or have any health issues that could be affected by exercise then it is strongly recommended you consult your doctor prior to working out.

Perform a 5 minute warm up by running, cycling, rowing or swimming at around 40-50% of your full effort. For the main workout this can be performed on a track, treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical trainer or other suitable cardiovascular equipment. Perform 20 seconds at 90% effort then have 10 seconds rest and repeat 8 times which will work out to be 4 minutes. Then perform a 5 minute cool down at around 40% of maximum effort. Post workout static stretching would be beneficial.

Repeat the workout from 3 times per week upto 5 times per week for best results. You can adapt how you use the Tabata protocol depending on your sport For example if you are a boxer you could use this for rounds on a punch bag.

I hope this blog has been of use to you as I know the Tabata protocol has been very useful to me.

Thanks for reading and keep your eyes posted for my next blog.


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