Tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, featuring exercises that last four minutes. It incorporates a warm up and uses full-body exercises that engage as many muscle groups as possible.
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What is Tabata?
Tabata is a workout protocol that was created by Dr Izumi Tabata, who found that shorter, more intense workouts provide quicker results for increased cardiovascular capacity, endurance and weight loss. Tabata is becoming increasingly popular with good reason!
It is already the new go-to workout for athletes and fitness professionals for a super-aerobic cardio workout that shows fast results. They can be both intense and challenging for athletes of all levels.
What to consider if you are trying Tabata?
As Tabata consists of higher intensity exercises performed in short bursts with even shorter rest periods, it is important to start Tabata with easy, simple exercises that allow your body time to adjust to the new level of intensity over time. We suggest starting with the beginner workouts which can be just as challenging as they are still four minutes in length and involve some high-intensity exercises.
You will notice your heart rate and breathing increase. To gradually move into the workouts, you may like to break the exercises down into low range and mid-range intensity levels. I.e. perform the first two exercises at a slower pace to warm up and gradually increase the heart rate. Then increase the intensity of the next four exercises to gear the body up a little more.
Then gradually reduce the intensity during the last two exercises and slow the movement right down to ensure you cool-down properly. You may even like to add a short walk and some light stretching to the end of your workout to help you cool down, especially if you are new to Tabata or high-intensity exercise in general.
Benefits of wearing a Heart Rate Monitor during a Tabata workout
If possible, wear a Heart Rate Monitor during your Tabata training. Record your maximum heart rate achieved during each workout and check this alongside what is called your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR).
Your HHR is the difference between your resting heart rate and your maximum heart rate and is used when working out your exercise heart rate. This can be worked out by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate, so if you have a resting heart rate of 50bpm and a maximum heart rate of 200bpm you would work out your HHR using the formula: 200-50 = HHR (150bpm in this case). You will need to measure these numbers using a heart rate monitor to get an accurate HHR.
If you haven’t measured your resting or maximum heart rate you can work out your HHR using an estimates formula including your age. This formula is to subtract your age from 220 then subtracting your resting heart rate from that. So if you are 40 years old and your resting heart rate is 50 the formula would be: (220-40)-50 = HHR (130bpm in this case).
It is possible, that during your Tabata workout, your heart rate may have gone over your HRR and if so, take note to increase the intensity gradually with time. If your maximum heart rate during the workout was just under your HRR, this is a good place to start for Tabata.
If you are new to interval training, you may even like to begin by simply performing one interval of the first four exercises instead of the full eight exercises for the first week or perform the first and last exercises at a slower pace with reduced intensity and a steady-state breath.
How often to perform Tabata?
Begin by performing these workouts no more than 3 times per week and allow yourself at least one full day of recovery in between each workout to heal.
Your body needs to increase cardiovascular capacity and strength slowly to support your heart and lungs. Gradually build up your fitness level by adding another 1-2 workouts to your weekly training regime once you feel your recovery time is improving.
How to find Tabata in the 28 Day Challenge App:
- Go to the exercise tab in the app
- Scroll until you find the Tabata section
- Once you click on Tabata this will take you to the Tabata workout page, listing all the Tabata video variations under two tabs ‘Beginner’ and ‘Advanced’
- You can then enjoy the workout you have chosen, don’t forget to give it a star rating
- Finally hit the ‘Record this workout’ button to record show that you have completed exercise today. You will then be taken back to the app home screen where you can see the workout has been recorded in your daily exercise.
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