Skip to main content
take the reality check diet analysis take the reality check diet analysis

Workout Tips

This section of our health library is devoted to – you guessed it – workout tips! Learn about all things fitness in these articles that are designed to help you get up and get moving, regardless of your physical ability.

What Are Tabata Workouts and How Does It Work?

Are there certain high-intensity interval training exercises that surpass others and accelerate successful measures? Tabata-goers seem to think so but let's take a further look!

What Are Tabata Workouts and How Does It Work?

Exercise and a sensible diet go hand-in-hand for a healthy lifestyle. Not only can weight loss occur, but heart health, longevity, and further aligning health benefits can arise. But are there certain exercises that surpass others and accelerate successful measures? Tabata goers seem to think so but let's take a further look!

What is Tabata?

Tabata was coined in 1996 after Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese physician and researcher, conducted research on a new form of intense exercise. The data became monumental after he took two groups: one who participated in one hour of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week while the other gave tabata a try, a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The training regimen consisted of 20 seconds of ultra-high-intensity exercises accommodated by 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds, for a total of four minutes. After 6 weeks, the tabata training group significantly improved both its by 14% aerobic and 28% anaerobic fitness levels. In addition to increasing fitness levels, participants burned an average of 15 calories per minute.

Furthermore, these exercises vary whether it be the quantity of exercises or the type of movement itself. Runners oftentimes use tabata workouts for speed work by alternating between sprints and rests. Others may go with a full body workout, rotating between push ups, squats, lunges, and other strength-training and aerobic movements. Regardless of the exercises chosen, the workouts are always relatively shortened compared to repetitions of strength training and consistent movement on an elliptical.

Does It Work?

The real question is, do these workouts really do the trick? Compared to the recommended physical activity of 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week, tabata workouts are severely shortened. Despite the comparison, individuals who put in the work and participate in these high-intensity workouts see substantial success in strength and cardiovascular optimization. For runners, contributing HIIT workouts can help with speed and longer strides. It is recommended those bouts of sprints for runners do not exceed more than once a week to prevent injuries. Due to the intense bouts of movements, partaking in these workouts should be warned with caution if jumping into it without a solid exercise base.

Selecting any certain workout is admirable, even if the activity is brief. What takes highest precedence is choosing an exercise regimen that accommodates your own lifestyle and schedule. If running countless miles seems more daunting than achieving that "runner's high," move onto something else. There are numerous opportunities to be active so choose something you find satisfying that can and will be sustained. Pairing cardio and strength training is one of the best approaches for general good health. Cardio offers heart health while strength training builds muscle and reduces fat mass. In addition to exercise, follow a well-balanced diet for best results.

Looking for a Workout?

BistroMD's team of fitness experts have created a full-body high-intensity workout for you to try! This short workout tones all of you features, including arms, legs, and cored! All the moves are body-weight focused so you don't need any equipment, just a timer and a mat. What are you waiting for? Try bistroMD's Full Body Tabata Workout today!

American Council on Exercise. Available at: Is tabata all it's cracked up to be?

Sarah Asay's Photo
Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on May 18, 2016. Updated on November 25, 2019.


Follow @bistroMD

Start Your Diet Today!

Theme picker

as seen on...
Dr Phil
Lifetime Network
The Biggest Loser
The Doctors