5 Tabata Benefits That Will Make You Make You
Forget Your Old Workouts
Forget Your Old Workouts
Last Updated March 13, 2019 By Brad Elgan
A couple years ago I hit a major workout plateua. Eventually, I discovered the benefits of tabata and changed my body and outlook on exercise forever.
I was stuck in a rut of going to the gym and doing a boring, uninspiring weightlifting routine followed by 20 minutes of cardio on the treadmill or elliptical.
Eventually it became so bad I realized I wasn't even losing weight nor gaining muscle. I completely plateaued. But the hard part was realizing that something drastically different was needed. I didn't need more sets, more reps, or more cardio.
I needed something different.
So after some research I stumbled upon an article on HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training). Altough the concept of high intensity workout sounded good, I needed something even more different. I researched a little further and discovered tabata.
A few months later I dropped 20lbs. and lost about 2 inches off my waist. Now, even though I don't exclusively do tabata, I vary my workouts and will revert back to them whenever I'm in a rut.
Tabata is a form of HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, which consists of brief but intense workouts with short recovery periods.
While Tabata has grown in popularity rather recently, the technique is actually a couple of decades old. Izumi Tabata was a Japanese professor and scientist in 1996 when he began studying the effects of interval-based training using groups of athletes as his test subjects.
His results demonstrated the effectiveness of this training method on endurance and both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. The technique itself has only developed and gained traction over the years.
The Tabata method was eventually dubbed the “four-minute workout” and some have even called it the best training method for losing weight.
However, the Tabata method is also popular because of compatibility. Ideally, a Tabata session focuses on a single movement and there are a lot of exercises that are compatible with this technique. If you have exercised at all in your life, you have probably already done them. Examples include:
- Burpees and squats
- Mountain climbers
- High knee jogs
- Jumping rope
Variety of workouts is just one of the several Tabata benefits and while you may have done these workouts in the past, the Tabata method requires a different approach than what you are used to. A general Tabata workout would require you to go hard for about 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for eight or 10 sets.
It’s a simple approach but obviously non-traditional. So what makes the Tabata method so beneficial?
1. Time Saving Opportunities
A clear advantage of the Tabata method is the ability to save time on your workouts while still getting the results that you want.
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t work out is that they feel as if they don’t have time. A full session at the gym could take several hours when you add in preparation and travel time; for a lot of people, this isn’t an option.
While some Tabata workouts call for some weights or basic equipment, there are so many exercises that don’t require anything. And with a Tabata session only lasting for four to eight minutes, there’s almost no excuse for not participating. Everybody’s got eight minutes that he or she could devote to a quick workout and with the promise of weight loss and greater endurance, it’s no wonder why people take advantage of this method.
2. Greater Fat Loss
People do call this one of the best training methods for losing weight and it’s because Tabata training is said to help people burn fat at a faster rate.
With Tabata, you are raising your heart rate extremely quickly and the intensity forces your body to work harder. By repeating these intense workouts, you increase your metabolism not only during the workouts but after the workouts as well. The reason people are attracted to Tabata is that it’s supposed to increase your BMR, or your basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy that your body burns at rest.
If you can increase this number, you can increase how much fat you burn when you aren’t even exerting yourself.
3. Aerobic And Anaerobic Capacity
Aerobic exercises are activities that have to do with cardio. Aerobic (with oxygen) describes activities that rely on your body’s ability to move oxygen through the body to meet its energy demands. Anaerobic exercises pull energy from sugar in your muscles. These are things such as lifting weights and sprinting. One of the primary Tabata benefits is its ability to improve performance in both of these areas.
Tabata training helps you develop more resistance to continuous strain on the body, which includes giving you more energy and stamina. It was Dr. Tabata’s studies that showed a 14% increase in participants’ aerobic capacities and a 28% increase in anaerobic capacities.
The study gathered data over several weeks so if you really want to benefit from Tabata training, it’s important that you do it regularly. The length of the workouts also makes it easier to be consistent.
4. Protect Your Muscle Tissue
Long cardio sessions can eat into your muscle tissue but the briefness of Tabata training ensures that your muscle tissue stays protected.
During these intense workouts, you do put a lot of stress on your muscle tissue but this only tells your body that more tissue is needed. As a result, you increase the ratio of body fat to lean body mass. Maximizing muscle mass worked can ultimately increase the production of muscle tissue.
5. Improve Performance During Longer Workouts
Many people actually use Tabata training as a supplemental workout, meaning that they use it to improve their performance during their “main” workouts.
Since Tabata increases your VO2max, or the maximum amount of oxygen you are able to use during exercise, doing these workouts can give you more energy when lifting or performing cardio. Those who do have time for full workouts at a gym will generally have time for an eight-minute workout at home so it makes sense to squeeze in a Tabata session if it’s going to improve your performance later on.
These Tabata benefits are not only physical but mental as well. This training method forces you to be focused and concentrate your energy for a short amount of time and this kind of mental training may also carry over into the gym.
Keep in Mind
Given the intensity of Tabata training, it’s generally not recommended for beginners and it shouldn’t be done too frequently either. It may be worth doing a light warm-up prior to your Tabata sessions as well. Even though the sessions are extremely short, they are meant to be intense and even people in decent physical condition will tire quickly.
If you wish to train with the Tabata method, it’s important to approach things with a little caution. While the exercises can be wonderfully beneficial, they can also be damaging. To avoid monotony and injury, it’s also wise to be diverse with your workouts.
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