A finally tried a true Tabata workout a few days ago. Before I tell you about my workout, let's first establish some basic principals...
What is Tabata, what does it do, and who should do it?
Tabata is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training) where you do 20 seconds of intense exercise and then 10 seconds rest. This continues for 4 minutes. That's one round of Tabata.
You can work your way up to doing several rounds of Tabata. Some people claim "Just one 4 minute Tabata gives you more cardiovascular gains than an hour of running." I'm not sure I believe that. Four minutes!? When I do HIIT I aim for at least 20 minutes. I'm more inclined to believe 20 minutes of Tabata is better than an hour of running, as far as improving aerobic fitness is concerned.
I stress the word improving. If you are just starting an exercise program, Tabata/HIIT is not the thing to jump into right away! But once you have basic aerobic fitness, Tabata could help improve upon it.
So then what's the difference between Tabata and HIIT?
You notice I have been using Tabata and HIIT sort of interchangeably. That's because they're basically the same thing... Tabata just has a set time limit in which you work and rest. In other HIIT activities, there is no magic number for work and rest- it's what works for YOU and your fitness level as well as your fitness goals.
In this post and this post I talk about the benefits of HIIT. Tabata delivers the same benefits. Like I said, Tabata just establishes a set time limit for exercise and rest.
My Tabata Workout
I did 4 rounds of Tabata as a finisher on a day I did a lower body workout in my front yard. I used this online Tabata Timer so I knew when to work/rest.
Round 1: jump rope
Round 2: step ups
Round 3: jump rope
Round 4: high knee
Round 4 was the hardest because high knees SUCK! The other rounds... they weren't any worse than when I perform those exercises in circuits. And I definitely felt like I was jumping rope and stepping up as fast as I could!
This does not mean Tabata is bad!!!! It just means I am picky and like to do things my own way!
It's definitely worth trying. I am sure many exercisers like having the work/rest time established already. There's less to think about, no hassle of worrying how many jump rope rotations to do or lunges to perform, or counting out your rest breaks... You just follow the timer, go hard, and try not to barf.
If you need some ideas for moves for your Tabata workout, check out this article!
Have you tried a Tabata workout? Do you like it?
What kinds of exercises do you do?