Tabata training is an extremely effective training method for disciplines which require nonstop power and physical effort over a duration of time, such as cycling, MMA, strongman, Olympic lifting, and many more. Tabata training is also great for fat loss through its ability to raise the rate of fat burning post workout. What’s more, Tabata training takes literally minutes to complete! So, if you want to increase your sustained work output for your sporting discipline, or enhance your physique, Tabata training may be for you.
What is Tabata training?
The idea behind the Tabata training method is fairly simple. You firstly warm up to ensure the muscles and the body is ready for exercise. An exercise is chosen and it is performed for 20 seconds, with a rest of 10 seconds, and this is repeated for a total of 8 times. So, in summary:
• Perform as many repetitions as possible for 20 seconds
• Rest for 10 seconds
• Repeat 8 times
The name “Tabata” originates from the creator of the training method, Dr. Izumi Tabata. Dr Tabata was the head coach of the Japanese speed skating team. Tabata has become more and more popular due its effectiveness, increase both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Tabata is also a great choice for bodybuilders who wish to spice up their training once every two to three weeks whilst also reducing body fat levels.
Which exercises can we use for Tabata training?
Exercises which recruit a large number of muscles would be best for Tabata training, such as squats. Some exercises are not as suited for the training method, such as isolation exercises and compound exercises which reply heavily upon one muscle group. The squat and push press are two exercises which supplement each other well.
The front squat is the best option for many if performing the squat for Tabata training, with the bar easier to rack, and the added safety of being able to drop the bar if you fail (which is likely!). It would be best to experiment with the back squat too, however, as the front squat can restrict breathing somewhat. The push press works the shoulders and triceps greatly, yet the drive integrates the lower body and will aid the lift as the upper body tires. The push press would be best performed with dumbbells.
Other choices are available, such as sprints, rowing, and cycling on spin/exercise bikes. Be aware of form as you fatigue during weight training exercises, however. Exercises such as the deadlift would not really be a suitable choice for this reason.
Tabata training frequency
Tabata training should not be a staple aspect of your overall training plan. The method is very taxing if performed properly, and therefore its usage should be limited to no more than once every fortnight. Tabata is an advanced training method so the training itself may be best implemented in a gradual fashion, beginning with 4 or 5 “sets”, working up to the full 8 over a period of time.