A stopwatch is useful interval training like Tabata

Tabata 16 minute workout: the pocket rocket of exercise

Tabata Training is the most efficient way to increase your metabolism and fitness level the shortest time.

If like most of us you join and gym with the best intentions and then you never go because you just don’t have the time. You miss a few sessions and before you know it you are in an unhealthy routine.

This only takes a few minutes and needs no equipment. I would recommend doing it in the morning as soon as you wake up and keep the exercises varied.

You can download a Tabata timer on your phone that talks over the music so no need to miss out on the tunes

We use it as a warm up. Here at Tekne we love the intensity.

What is Tabata?

Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes. The first group trained at a moderate intensity level while the second group trained at a high-intensity level. The moderate intensity group worked out five days a week for a total of six weeks; each workout lasted one hour. The high-intensity group worked out four days a week for six weeks; each workout lasted four minutes and 20 seconds (with 10 seconds of rest in between each set).

The results; Group 1 had increased their aerobic system (cardiovascular), but showed little or no results for their anaerobic system (muscle). Group 2 showed much more increase in their aerobic system than Group 1, and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.

In conclusion, high-intensity interval training has more impact on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Tabata Program

Each exercise in a given Tabata workout lasts only four minutes, but it’s likely to be one of the longest four minutes you’ve ever endured. The structure of the program is as follows:

  • Workout hard for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Complete 8 rounds

You push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. This is one set. You’ll complete eight sets of each exercise.

You can do pretty much any exercise you wish. You can do squats, push-ups, burpees or any other exercise that works your large muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises work great, too.

An example of a Tabata workout looks like this:

  1. Push-ups (4 minutes) 
  2. Bodyweight Squats (4 minutes)
  3. Burpees (4 minutes)
  4. Mountain Climbers (4 minutes)

Start with push-ups. Perform them for 20 seconds at a high-intensity. Rest for 10 seconds, and then go back to doing push-ups for 20 seconds. Once you complete eight sets of push-ups, rest for one minute.

Next, move on to squats and repeat the sequence of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Once you finish eight sets of squats, rest for one minute, and then do burpees. After burpees, finish the workout with mountain climbers.

Tabata workouts are always an integral part of our fitness retreats in Ibiza. Look for our upcoming retreats now!

Des is the founder and head coach at Tekne Fitness Retreats Ibiza. He is a gymnast with over 20 years extensive coaching experience. His specialty lies in inspirational and fun teaching techniques for all ages.