Tabata:5 effective workout moves to tone body


Tabata is a training technique created by Izumi Tabata, a Japanese teacher. This protocol is the most famous form of HIIT (Hight Intensity Interval Training) and consists of repeating 1 or more exercises 8 times for 20 seconds at maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of recovery to achieve excellent results in 4 minutes. In fact, the repetition of high intensity effort favorsthe increase of muscle mass and VO2 max but also optimizes energy expenditure at rest (afterburn effect) thus accelerating metabolism.

However, it is a very intense cardio workout and can not be practiced by everyone. Thus, the exercises practiced can and must be adapted according to their level of training. In addition, rest is essential for the body to be able to recover between workouts.

In fact, the tabata method can be practiced 1 day out of 2 with a maximum of 3 workouts per week.

Tabata training: what it is

This training program was developed by Professor Izumi Tabata of the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan. It has been successfully tested on the athletes of the Japanese Olympic speed skating team.

The training consists of 20 seconds of intense exercises alternating with 10 seconds of recovery to be repeated 8 times for a training that lasts 4 minutes.

Except for the timer (you can buy a stopwatch or use an app on your mobile phone), the only rule to follow isthe high intensity to maintain during execution.

The professor wrote, “If you feel good after the session, it means you’ve trained well.”

Concretely, the training consists of:

  • 20 seconds of one or more free-body exercises at maximum intensity, varying according to your physical condition.
  • 10 seconds of added time.
  • Repeat 8 times.

Attention: it seems like a simple workout but instead they are intense and difficult sessions especially for those who are poorly trained.

You can decide for a single exercise or instead alternate 3/ 4 exercises to vary your training. For example, sprints, bikes, burpees, push-ups, etc. are fine.

Calculate your heart rate

To perform tabata exercises it is essential to calculate your maximum heart rate to set up an effective workout. In fact, the exercises must be carried out at the maximum intensity that is variable according to age.

Calculate your maximum FC, it is very simple:

FC max = 220 – age.

For example, if you are 40 years old, you need to calculate 220-40= 180. So during exercises, you should get to about 160/70 bpm, that is, 80/90% of your maximum heart rate.

Tabata: Why is it an effective workout?

Izumi Tabata has shown that her method is very effective and improves cardiovascular capacity more than a moderate 1 hour workout.

After 6 weeks, training 3 times a week, people improved their anaerobic endurance by 28% and the V02 max (aerobic work) by 10%.

Tabata training: benefits

Training with this method improves:

  • Resistance
  • Force
  • Muscle mass
  • Accelerates metabolism
  • Increases cardiovascular capacity.


However, the high intensity of the HIIT type is only for healthy people both from the cardiac point of view and from the musculoskeletal system. In fact, bringing your heart rate to the highest levels can be risky for your health.

Tabata: tips for training well

This method can be practiced everywhere, home, gym or park and without specific material,except for a good pair of sports shoes.

But if you have material at home, you can also set up your workout with, for example:

  • Stationary bike from home
  • Elliptical bike
  • Rower
  • Rope to jump.


It is essential to warm up first to prepare the body for intense work to avoid trauma. In fact, the goal is to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity.

To warm up the muscles and joints it is important to devote at least 5 minutes to heating.

Examples of Tabata workouts

This program consists of 4 exercises:

  • Squat: 20 seconds – 10 seconds of intrieval.
  • Push-ups or bends : 20 seconds – 10 seconds of intrieval.
  • Mountain climber: 20 seconds – 10 seconds of recovery.
  • Squat: 20 seconds – 10 seconds of intrieval.
  • Push-ups or bends: 20 seconds- 10 seconds of intrieval.
  • Burpees: 20 seconds – 10 seconds of intrieval.
  • Squat: 20 seconds – 10 seconds of intrieval.
  • Push-ups or bends: 20 seconds – 10 seconds of intrieval.

How to properly perform burpees

How to properly  perform burpees

Start standing with his arms stretched out along the body. Descend down bending your legs, then lay your hands on the ground at pectoral height.

Stretch your legs until you are in the classic push-up position and bend over your hands. Return to the location and take a high jump.

Mountain climber

Mountain climber

Put yourself in plank position with outstretched arms and toes on the ground.

Bend your right leg and bring your right knee to your chest by stretching your left leg back. Then, stretch the right leg back by bending the left leg and bringing the left knee to the chest. Each time you have to make a small jump to reverse the position.

Push-ups or bends


Starting in plank position, open arms at a width a little wider than that of the shoulders. Flex by bending your arms, elbows parallel to your body. To perform the movement well and not get hurt, keep your back straight and belly inside throughout the exercise.



Standing start, legs spread out at shoulder width, toes rotated slightly out and body weight perfectly in the center. Bend your knees as if to sit in a chair, bring your buttocks back feeling the weight of the body on your heels.

Keep your torso straight, abdomen active and arms forward to facilitate balance during the descent phase.

Full body workout Tabata

This workout consists of 3 exercises:

  • I jump with the rope.
  • Russian twist.
  • Mr Burpees.

Perform each high-intensity exercise 8 times for 20 seconds. Retrieving seconds.

The advice is, for beginners to perform a single exercise, intermediate 2 and advanced level 3 exercises.

Abdominal workout tabata

Tabata Abdominal Workout

This tabata program to train the abs is very effective for having a flat belly. You can run it with or without rubber bands.

In all exercises, the advice is, during the effort, to exhale by carrying the belly inside.

The exercises are:

  • Snap jump.
  • Seated crunch.
  • Bicycle crunch.
  • Plank jacks.

Perform each exercise 8 times for 20 seconds and recover 10 seconds between exercises.

For beginners, the advice is to start with only one exercise (number 3), intermediate 3 (1+2+3) and advanced level the 4 exercises.

External Links:

Tabata High-intensity interval training

Categorized as Fitness

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