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Fat-Blasting HIIT Workout: Try Tabata Training

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By Josh Piers - - 5 Mins Read
Short on time but want to blast away fat and calories?

Consider Tabata training.

Izumi Tabata, a Japanese scientist, invented this form of high-intensity interval training activity. It involves periods of intense exercise with a high heart rate, followed by shorter recovery intervals, similar to other kinds of HIIT. Tabata training involves doing the same activity for eight sets of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. Tabata rounds last 4 minutes in total. Tabata is often practiced with simply bodyweight movements, but you can add light resistance to some activities like squats by utilizing bands or low-weight dumbbells. Exercises can also be done Tabata-style using equipment like a jump rope, Hula Hoop, or mini-trampoline. If you're feeling up to it, you can do numerous rounds, each time doing a different exercise and taking at least a 1-minute pause before beginning the next activity. Read on for four Tabata-style exercises you can do in single rounds or in succession for a total-body HIIT workout. Important note: Before starting any new workout program, consult your physician.

Why do Tabata workouts?

[caption id="attachment_10429" align="alignnone" width="709"] Dana Santas demonstrates a mountain climber as part of a Tabata training workout[/caption] There are numerous health benefits to consistent moderate-intensity cardio exercises, but there are compelling reasons to incorporate Tabata into your total training. Ashley Borden, a celebrity trainer, spoke about Tabata's advantages. "Despite the short time commitment, Tabata is not a fad, but a scientifically validated exercise program that provides a very efficient means of fat burning," said Borden, who was a trainer on E! 's "Revenge Body With Khloe Kardashian" and "The Kelly Clarkson Show," among others. Without changing their diets, overweight young men in a 12-week trial observed an average 17 percent reduction in visceral fat by undertaking 20 minutes of high-intensity exercising three times per week. Borden said she incorporates Tabata into her online sessions because of the fat-burning benefits and the simple style (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off). "People think it's more achievable than trying to push oneself for 5 minutes before taking a minute off," she said. "They say things like, 'I can push myself for 20 seconds,' which is a significant selling element for those who are scared by other types of HIIT."

Getting started

The exercises in Tabata training should be basic so that form can be maintained. High-intensity exercise is demanding even in 20-second bursts, making it more difficult to maintain perfect technique for the entire 4 minutes. Injury risk increases when the form is lost. That's why it's critical to adjust exercises as needed to make them more manageable. Drop to your knees if you're doing push-ups and notice that weariness is affecting your form. This will allow you to complete the entire 4 minutes with proper form. Tabata training requires extreme vigilance due to its high-intensity nature. If you're new to exercising or have recently taken a break and are just starting back into it, gradually increase your intensity instead of jumping right into this form of training.

An example of a Tabata workout looks like this:

Push-ups (4 minutes)  Bodyweight Squats (4 minutes) Burpees (4 minutes) 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. Move on to squats and continue the 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off sequence. After you've completed eight sets of squats, take a one-minute break before doing burpees. Finish the workout with mountain climbers after burpees. If you're short on time, need to switch up your routine, or want to develop endurance and speed, Tabata is a wonderful way to get a quick workout done. Include this form of exercise in your fitness routine to see results. Feel free to access our blogs for more workout suggestions.