Tabata –The 10 minute workout
by Bobby Best
The Tabata workout is one of the shortest but most effective workouts you can do. It is based off of research done by an exercise scientist named Izumi Tabata, who found that multiple short-duration, maximum intensity intervals were successful at increasing performance and caloric expenditure.
The whole Tabata workout is 2-4 minutes of 20 seconds maximum intensity, and 10 second rest using a full body exercise (running, rowing, medball throw, etc.). In essence, it allows you to redline your metabolic system for a given amount of time. The idea is to work at a maximum intensity over and over without full recovery, and then once the workout is over, the body continues to work to recover from the workout.
To utilize the Tabata workout to the max here are some ground rules:
- Pick a full body exercise that can be executed for high reps in 20 seconds
- Do a 2-4 minute warm up of the same exercise you will be doing during the intervals. At the end of your warm up, take your heart rate (count your pulse for :15 and multiply by 4)
- Perform every work interval with MAXIMUM intensity. 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest
- Don’t go past 8 intervals (4 minutes)
- Cool down for an additional 2 minutes
- Count your heart rate again at the end of the cool down, if it is not at or below your starting heart rate, reduce the number of intervals
The only way this exercise protocol work is if you can maintain a high level of intensity. If you die out half way, you don’t get the same benefits out of it. That being said, Tabata intervals are extremely exhausting, and not everyone is ready for it. Start slow with only 3 or 4 intervals. Slowly work up to 8, but this takes time. Listen to your heart rate and your recovery. If done right, it is one of the most effective workout for the least amount of time.