Tabata: The Best Way to Sneak in a Workout

It’s time for some Tabata training! Doing more work in less time does wonders for fat loss.

One of the least talked about training methods is workout density, which is the amount of work you do in a given time frame. The greater your density, the greater your caloric expenditure.  The best way to increase workout density is to decrease rest periods like you do in HIIT and Tabata training. The longer you drag out your workout, the less likely you can keep up the intensity.

An easy way to do this is set a time limit of say 20-30 minutes, and try to get as much of your workout done in that time frame. Each time you do that workout, try and beat your previous time. So if you are trying to lose body fat, get out of the mindset that you have to work out for hours and hours. The harder you work in less time will equate to a higher metabolism and a much more effective weight loss program. Keep it short and sweet, yet intense.

Why Tabata?

The Tabata study was the groundbreaking research that encouraged people to start moving harder and faster to lose fat and increase conditioning.

(a b Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. (1996). “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max”. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28 (10): 1327–30. doi:10.1097/00005768-199610000-00018. PMID 8897392.)

In short, the Tabata study showed that by doing 8 rounds of 20 seconds of hard work and 20 seconds of rest, you could increase fat burning and conditioning more efficiently and effectively that steady-state type cardio.

Tabata-Style Workouts

For a recap on Tabata intervals, it’s a high-intensity interval training protocol originally created by Japanese researcher Dr. Izumi Tabata. Each Tabata interval consists of 20 seconds of high intensity (as hard as you can go) exercise followed by a 10-second rest. This is repeated for 8 rounds, totaling 4 minutes time. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase your total work capacity and workout density in a short amount of time. I prefer strength-based exercises such as goblet squats, kettlebell swings, push-ups, TRX rows, farmers walk and ball slams and cardiovascular machines like the Ski Ergometer, Concept 2 Rower, and Air Bike (Assault bike preferred).

One Tabata workout can do some damage but to get summer shredded, you need a little more. I like to use 3 different exercises for 3 different Tabata workouts. Balance the workout with 1 upper-body, 1 lower-body, and 1 explosive movement. For the cardio machines, you can rotate between the three.

Tabata Workout #1

Perform each exercise for 20 seconds as hard as possible and then rest 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence for 8 total rounds. Rest 2-4 minutes as needed between exercises.

  • Goblet Squats 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • TRX Row 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • Ball Slams 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds

 

Tabata Workout #2

Perform each exercise for 20 seconds as hard as possible and then rest 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence for 8 total rounds. Rest 2-4 minutes as needed between exercises.

  • Kettlebell Swings 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • Push-ups 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • Farmers Carry 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds

 

Another way you can utilize Tabata intervals is with cardiovascular machines. I prefer the Concept 2 Rower, Ski Ergometer, and Assault Air Bike.

 

Cardio-Based Tabata Workout #3

Perform each exercise for 20 seconds as hard as possible and then rest 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence for 8 total rounds. Rest 2-4 minutes as needed between exercises.

  • Ski Ergometer 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • Assault Air Bike 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • Concept 2 Rower 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 8 rounds

Time For Tabata

 This type of training is simple and effective. You don’t have to think much just set the timer, pick your movement of choice and go. Just make sure to keep form and stay safe.


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