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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tabata - what is it ?

In 1996, Dr. Izumi Tabata introduced a select group of septuagenarians to one of the most diabolically effective training methods ever conceived by the mind of man:

Tabata Training

And for the next 13 years, these four women endured the physical torments of Dr. Tabata’s training protocol.

The Results?

The same four women (circa 2009)
I am pleased to say, that after 13 years, not only have these women completely transformed their bodies, they have each carved out lucrative careers as female fitness models….just kidding.

What Can Tabata Do For You?

Aside from burning off pounds and pounds of excess body-fat, Tabata Training can help you:

Improve your cardiovascular function (aerobic endurance)
Improve your anaerobic endurance
Improve your muscular endurance
Make you strong and fit and look fantastic
How’s that for a fitness training method?

The Science Behind Tabata

The basis for all of the excitement surrounding Tabata Training comes from the good doctor’s 1996 research study published in the journal – Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

In that study, Dr. Tabata concluded that high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) was a much more effective and efficient training method than tradional cardio training.

Not only was Tabata Training more effective at improving anaerobic endurance, it was also more effective at improving aerobic or cardio-vascular endurance.

And Why is Tabata Training so Effective?

Dr. Tabata believed that the reason behind the success of his training protocol was:


The good doctor believed that exercising at a high level of intensity for a short period of time was more effective than exercising at a low intensity for a long duration.

And he wasn’t alone.

Ever since Dr. Tabata released the scientific genie from the bottle in 1996, other researchers have built upon his work. Here are just a sample of the available research:

McMaster University study – 2005
Another McMaster study – 2006
And another one – 2008
A 2007 study showing HIIT is effective at fat loss
An Aussie study from 2004
HIIT training and Growth Hormone response
HIIT training increases capacity for glucose and fatty acid oxidation
And there is lots more where this came from.

I just did a quick PubMed search and came up with 1110 studies related to Tabata’s work.

So, What is Tabata Training Anyway?

Dr. Tabata’s training method is a very specific version of High Intensity Interval (or Intermittent) Training.

In his 1996 study, Dr. Tabata had seven subjects perform:

An intermittent training exercise 5 days a week for 6 weeks
Each individual training session consisted of seven to eight sets of a single exercise
Each set was performed at the high intensityof about 170% of ˙VO2max.
Each set was timed to last for 20 seconds
Each period of rest between sets was timed to last for 10 seconds
This means that each Tabata Workout lasted for only 4 minutes.
4 minutes of Tabata Training x 5 days a week x 6 weeks = 120 minutes or 2 hours of exercise over 6 weeks
In comparison, Tabata’s cardio-vascular group performed 30 hours of cardio training over the course of the experiment (60 min workouts x 5 days per week x 6 weeks)
And still, the Tabata workouts were more effective than the cardio-vascular workouts.

How Do I Design My Own Tabata Workout?

In tomorrow’s post, I will give you two Tabata style workouts.

Each workout is to be performed 2x per week for the next 6 weeks.

I guarantee that those of you willing to give this program a serious effort will see some serious improvements in their physique and their overall level of fitness.

And while it’s not required, I highly recommend using an interval timer with your Tabatas. Trying to watch the clock an do these workouts is a real pain in the butt.

Keep us posted with ur updates !!

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