Want to bust through a workout or weight loss plateau? You have to try Tabata. What the heck is “Tabata?” you may ask. It is an exercise protocol invented by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. Apparently, they tested a number of intense protocols and found this one to be the best.

Frankly, the basics of Tabata training, could not be more basic. In a nutshell, the premise is to do an exercise with as much intensity as possible and/or with the most repetitions as possible for 20 seconds and then to rest for 10 seconds. The complete workout (not including a warm-up and cool-down) is just 24 minutes, so anyone who says they don’t have time to workout, should try Tabata for sure.

At my local gym, one of the instructors has started a Tabata class. I love that it is never the same workout as he always mixes up the exercises. Other than having a group to sweat and grunt and groan with, it is one of the easiest and best workout styles to do at home as well.

The typical protocol is as follows:
  • Do an exercise (squats for example) for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 7 more times
  • Move on to another exercise (push-ups for example), etc.
  • Do this for a total of 8 exercises for a final total of 24 minutes
A variation that I like is to complete a total set of all 8 exercises (20 on, 10 off) and then repeat for a total of 8 times. This is a nice variation so that you don’t burn out on one exercise before moving onto the next.

In addition to body weight moves like squats and push-ups, it’s great to include strength moves with weights as well. Plyometric jumping moves are also great for Tabata. One move I like is simply jumping as high as you can to touch a point on the wall. Do this for 20 seconds and boy do your calves start screaming after 6-8 sets.

Anyway, I’ve been researching the benefits of the Tabata protocol. Besides burning off body fat, here is what else Tabata can do for you:
  • Improve your cardio-vascular function (aerobic endurance)
  • Improve your anaerobic endurance
  • Improve your muscular endurance
  • Make you strong and fit and look fantastic
What more can you ask for, huh? It is rare that one type of exercise protocol increases both aerobic (endurance) capacity and anerobic (quick power) output so Tabata is one that I highly recommend.

As with any workout protocol, you want to check with your healthcare provider to make sure it is right for your fitness levels and abilities

- Coach Jenn of and Team Beachbody

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