What is tabata and how to practice it correctly? Will it help with weight loss?

What is tabata and how to practice it correctly? Will it help with weight loss?
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Tabata has its origins in Japan. It is an intense workout that will give even athletes with good fitness a good workout. However, it must be said that it is a great challenge.

What is tabata, you ask?

It's a training method or system.

First, a little of its history.

In 1996, Japanese professor Izumi Tabata discovered the following in his research.

A trained individual cycling at intervals of 20 seconds of high intensity alternated with 10 seconds of low intensity cycling for 4 minutes will achieve the same VO2 max as a low intensity workout of 45 minutes 4 times a week.

VO2 max is an indicator of the endurance capabilities of a given athlete.

It means the use of a certain amount of oxygen for muscle work. The higher the value of our VO2 max, the less breathless we are during endurance aerobic activities. Because our body's requirement for oxygen intake is low. The body can make do with a lower supply.

Endurance is trained by exercising at low intensity.

Professor Tabata conducted his research on a group of Japanese speed skaters in preparation for the Olympic Games.

He divided them into two groups.

The first group trained at a lower intensity for 1 hour. They did this method 5 days a week.

The second group trained with a method of 20 seconds of high intensity and 10 seconds of rest. However, the training lasted only 4 minutes and 4 days a week. And this is the training system called tabata.

In 6 weeks of research (that's how long it takes the body to adapt to the load), the results were surprising.

Group number two, which obviously trained at lower training volumes, matched the first group in terms of endurance gains. In addition, its strength and muscle volume also improved.

This is not possible with low intensity training.

What is tabata?

Tabata belongs to the group of high-intensity interval training. It is also referred to by the English abbreviation HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

These are workouts that are performed at specific time intervals and at high intensity.

They serve to develop strength endurance.

The system of such training consists in alternating various fitness exercises at high intensity (anaerobic exercise) with aerobic exercise at low intensity.

They are alternated in time intervals.

For example, 20 seconds of high intensity and 40 seconds of low intensity. The low intensity exercises can also be replaced by a complete break at the beginning. Thus, we just rest.

These are the benefits of high intensity interval training including tabata:

  • improves blood pressure and cholesterol
  • reduces weight and significantly reduces body fat even several hours after training
  • improves brain activity and cognitive function
  • positively affects the cardiovascular system
  • improves physical strength and endurance

What else can you read in the article?
How to get started with tabata
How to do tabata properly
Tabata exercises and training
Tabata and weight loss

Does practicing tabata seem easier than running miles in timed workouts? I'm going to throw myself into tabata, it seems easier.

Don't look for a solution in search of an easier way!

You won't find it here.

Tabata may be less time consuming, but that's about it.

No goal is achieved by making things easier.

Tabata is really hard!

How to start tabata?

For starters, we need to know why we want to incorporate tabata into our training.

Whether we want to liven up our current workout or just try something different, it's fine.

It will also help us in developing strength endurance.

It is a method that is time-saving and can be practiced without the use of any equipment.

You can use exercises with your own body weight.

Basically, however, tabata, with the system by which it is performed, is not suitable for beginner athletes.

It should be remembered that it was designed to develop the endurance of top speed skaters, who were then well past their prime in terms of training.

Tabata is a challenging method for beginners.

So how to start?

First of all, we need to see our doctor. Let him approve our idea with a thorough examination.

For HIIT training, and therefore also for tabata, the ratio of alternating exercises and rest is 2:1.

If we are beginners, we would choose a different time interval.

The reason, you ask?

The fitness level of a beginner athlete is not so high that they can jump straight into the tabata system.

Motivation is another factor.

It can be demotivating for many people when they find they have to adjust the intensity of their training or reduce the volume.
They take on a lot. Then they feel they can't do it.
From this point of view, it's better to start gradually from a lower intensity and continue.
Over time, we'll get fitter. That's what will motivate us.
After a while, we'll get to a level where we'll be able to train with the tabata system.

That's the challenge we talked about at the beginning of the article.

So if we want to start with high intensity interval training, we need to go gradually.

If you're a complete beginner, you won't mind at all the 1:2 ratio of alternating exercise and rest. Gradually move up to a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio.

The point is that the exercises need to be done correctly.

The more exhausted we are, the more this ability is diminished. Our concentration, coordination, and most importantly, our overall performance is diminished. This puts us at risk of injury.

How to practice tabata correctly?

The tabata system is simple: 20 seconds of high intensity exercise and 10 seconds of rest. We repeat it 8 times. This means that the whole series lasts 4 minutes.

The most ideal is to work out 5 such series.

The whole workout lasts 20 minutes.

It doesn't matter how many repetitions we do in a 20-second workout. What matters is the intensity. We have to go all out!

If we train with weights, it should be no more than 75% of our maximum strength.

It's done in a circuit-training fashion.

What does that mean?

Tabata exercises and training

The circuit training method allows us to exercise the whole body in one training block.

We determine the exercises we will perform.

We will prepare the equipment in advance, if we need it. We will also prepare the places where we will perform the exercises.

It is important to remember that the break will be used to move to the next station. There we will perform the next exercise.

We need to keep a clock in sight to measure the intervals. There are also apps for mobile devices that contain music and sound to navigate the tabata intervals. It is better especially for concentration on the workout. We do not need to keep our eyes on the clock.

After that, we just need to put the headphones in our ears and exercise. If no one around us minds, we can even play the music loudly. That way nothing bothers us and does not restrict our movement.

So we have 8 exercises that we want to do in a given workout.

It depends on our imagination, needs and experience which exercises we choose.

We can divide them into individual body parts, given that we want to exercise the whole body.

For this reason, we could start from seven basic movement patterns:

  • Pressure
  • lunge
  • squat
  • rotation
  • thrust
  • walking/running
  • bend

Everyone has the ability to master them, but first we need to prepare ourselves by training. Of course, we don't have to include them all in the tabata system.

They will serve as a model for us when choosing exercises.

In the table below we show an example of tabata training with exercises for each body part

Exercise Exercise specification Body part to be exercised
  • Legs are placed on a raised mat
  • Hands shoulder width apart
Chest, back, shoulders, abdomen, thighs, calves
  • Alternate stepping forward with feet
  • At the same time, lower torso down until the knee of the back leg almost touches the mat.
  • Step back and continue with the other leg.
Front and back thigh muscles, gluteal muscles, back
Shrugs on trapeze
  • Grip the trapeze bar with an overhand grip a little more than shoulder width apart.
  • Lower all the way down and pull yourself up to your chin (this exercise can be replaced by pulling a large dumbbell in front of your chest)
  • If you don't dare, place a bench under the bar and lean your feet against it. This way you can help yourself, but only upwards.
Back, biceps, triceps
Russian twists
  • Sit down on the mat.
  • Only your butt stays on the floor.
  • The torso and legs will be at an angle of about 45° to the mat.
  • They will form a V with each other.
  • The hips and feet will be horizontal with the ground in the air.
  • If we want to make the exercise more difficult, the legs are extended and only slightly above the floor. Alternatively, we exercise with weights in our hands.
  • If we want to make it lighter, the heels touch the floor.
  • Rotate the torso in the direction of the body axis from side to side.
  • The shoulders and arms are firmly extended in front of the body.
Belly, core.
Push-ups with one-handed dumbbells
  • The exercise can be performed seated or standing.
  • The dumbbells are held flush next to the head.
  • The elbows are pointing outwards and are almost level with the shoulders.
  • Alternate lifting the right and then the left dumbbell upwards.
  • We don't take a lot of weight so we don't compensate by tilting our torso.
  • The torso must remain firm and straight at all times without moving.
  • The alternative without using weights is to push on the shoulders with your own body weight.
  • The position is as for push-ups, i.e. standing upright.
  • However, we raise our back to a position where we can still touch the ground with our hands and feet at the same time. This reduces the space between them.
  • Lower and raise the torso over the arms, as in push-ups.
Shoulders, triceps
  • Lie down with your back on the floor.
  • Bend your legs so that your shins are perpendicular to the mat.
  • The toes are slightly raised, touching the ground only with the heels.
  • Arms are along the body or outstretched.
  • Slowly lift the pelvis, squeezing the gluteal muscles as you do so.
  • End the movement when the thighs and hips are in line with the back and the ground is touched only with the shoulder blades and head.
  • The heels are still on the ground. You can also do it with one leg. Then one foot is placed on the outer ankle of the other, just above the knee.
  • If we want to do the exercise alternately, we just need to keep the other leg in the air for a faster change of legs.
  • If we want to make it harder, we can place our feet and shins on a raised mat.
  • For example, on a bench so that your thighs are perpendicular to the mat and your shins are horizontal with it.
Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, abdominals, pelvis, lower back, core
Bicep curls on the trapeze
  • Same as the classic trapeze push-ups.
  • However, the grip is narrower, at shoulder width.
  • The trapeze bar is held with an underhand grip.
Biceps, back
Power jump
  • Start the exercise in a slight squat position.
  • The arms are ready next to the body more behind the line of the back.
  • Rebound and jump up.
  • At the same time, the arms point upwards until you are standing up.
  • In the lunge, bring the knees towards the chest and the arms drop towards them.
  • The palms of the hands can touch the knees.
  • Return to the original position and repeat.
  • If this is difficult for someone, just perform the lunges from the squat, but the arms must go overhead into the upright.
Thighs, calves, abdomen, lower back

If one round is enough for you, that's okay. Those who are short can add more. Of course, the next round starts ten seconds after the first round.

That's tabata.

In this article you will read how to make your own training plan.

High-intensity interval training, including tabata, has many benefits.

It's a method that can be used to train different body parts and systems. For example, it can be used to train the internal stabilisation system, the core. All you have to do is add exercises and get going.

Can you lose weight this way, you ask?

Tabata and weight loss

High-intensity interval training, such as tabata, continues to burn fat even after the workout is over.

So the reward for a well-paced workout is sufficient.

But how does this happen?

It is due to the so-called EPOC effect (from the English term excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). That is, due to increased oxygen consumption after the workout.

The body then copes with the lack of oxygen and the disturbance of homeostasis, i.e. the resting state of the organism.

This is caused by intense training. We have overloaded our body to the point where it is not oxygenated enough.

We are exhausted, breathless. We may lie on the ground because of fatigue, we feel a general weakness. Even though we are doing practically nothing, our body still behaves as if we are almost at full capacity.

After a workout, the body begins to replenish lost energy stores. It uses glycogen as its main source for muscle work.

In this process, it gets energy from fat stores.

That's what we're most interested in right now, besides the fact that proper utilization of the EPOC effect increases our performance.

It logically follows that the longer and more intensely we train, the better.

That's true, but we can't exhaust ourselves by exercising too long. We'd be in danger of overtraining and under-recovering.

In that case, the equation is clear.

The shorter the workout, the more intense it must be.

So we should train at an intensity that is between 80% and 85% of our maximum heart rate.

We calculate this as follows: subtract our age from 220. The result is our maximum heart rate. We just multiply this by 0.8 (i.e. 80% of the maximum).

The result means the heart rate we should maintain during training.

High-intensity interval training should last 20 minutes at a heart rate between 80% and 85% of our maximum.

This means that our metabolism will still be fundamentally affected in the following hours.

Read also the article how to lose weight and fat loss.

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