Thought Tabata was just another fad? Well, believe it or not, this unique style of cardiovascular training is so much more than another Instagram challenge or fitness trend. Offering a whole host of benefits, Tabata is great for those short on time, as well as those looking to improve their fitness fast.


But, what is Tabata? Here’s the lowdown!


What are the benefits of Tabata HIIT training exercises?


Tabata is a form of cardiovascular exercise, very similar to HIIT (high intensity interval training). Tabata training includes eight rounds, each consisting of 20 seconds of intense activity, followed by a 10 second rest.


Yep, you counted right – that’s just four minutes of exercise! Sounds easy, huh? But, don’t underestimate the benefits of this intense form of training. Tabata training requires you to exercise at 170% of your VO2 max – put simply, this means 100% maximal intensity, meaning you need to be giving each 20 second round your all. At the end of your Tabata session, you should be completely spent. If not, then you need to push harder!


The great thing about Tabata training is its flexibility – almost any form of exercise can be worked into a Tabata circuit, from air bike and burpees, to sprints and step-ups. As long as you’re giving each exercise your all, you’re good!


What are the benefits of Tabata training?


What are the benefits of Tabata training?


Where do we begin?! There are so many pluses to this unique form of exercise – here’s five!


1) It’ll burn fat


If fat loss is your aim, then Tabata’s your game! This intense form of cardio will get your heart rate going, which, in turn, will raise your metabolism and encourage fat burn. Working out at such a high intensity will mean you’ll continue to burn fat throughout the day, so if you’re looking to lose a few pounds or simply want to get a little leaner, Tabata will certainly help.


2) It’s great if you’re short on time


If time is against you, then Tabata is the workout for you! Formed of eight 20 second rounds, with a 10 second rest between each round, a full Tabata circuit takes just four minutes! Get sweaty first thing, slot a session in during your work break or find four minutes later on in the evening – whenever you choose to workout, everyone can spare four minutes of their day so there’s no excuses! Obviously, if you’d like to really test yourself or if you prefer to work out for longer, you can do more than one Tabata round. But, either way, this high intensity cardio won’t eat into your day.


3) It’s super flexible


Not a fan of running, but love the air bike? Hate burpees but can’t get enough of mountain climbers? The great thing about Tabata training is how versatile and flexible it is! Just about any exercise can be incorporated into a Tabata routine, so, whether you’re a newbie who’s keen to stick to the moves you’ve mastered or a pro, keen to increase your skills and test your body, you can craft a Tabata workout to suit your needs and abilities.


Looking for inspiration? Here’s an epic AMRAP Tabata workout example from Team Grenade®’s Chelsea Andersen:




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4) It’ll help increase your aerobic and anaerobic capabilities


Huh? Let us explain. Aerobic capacity is the measure of the ability your heart and lungs have to get oxygen around your body, and anaerobic capacity is the maximum amount of energy that can produced by the body in the absence of oxygen. Tabata training will put both of these capabilities to the test and, in time, it’ll also help improve them, improving your fitness and allowing you to tackle your workouts, as well as other practical, day-to-day tasks, with ease. Tabata is renowned for improving your overall fitness, so if this is something you’re hoping to gain from taking on a new workout regime, then Tabata is definitely worth checking out.


5) It’ll protect muscle tissue


If you’re all about those gains, then cardio probably won’t be at the top of your to-do list. Yes, you want to improve your fitness and, yes, you want to get lean, but you definitely don’t want to lose your hard-earned muscles in the process! Well, good news! Tabata is ideal for those set on preserving those guns; due to the short amount of time a Tabata workout takes, you won’t be eating away at muscle tissue as you might during longer cardio sessions. HIIT, such as Tabata, puts stress on muscle tissues, telling your body that more muscle tissue is needed. Due to this, the ratio of your lean body mass to fat increases and, by choosing exercises that maximise the muscle mass worked, muscle tissue can increase*.


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Who else is planning to do a Tabata workout? Let us know how you get on over on Instagram!


If you’re in need of more workout inspiration, then why not try out these four easy but effective home workouts?