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Incorporating Tabata Intermittent Training Into Your High Intensity Workouts

March 13, 2021


Interval cardiovascular training has been around at least since the 1930s when Swedish coaches introduced Fartlek training to their athletes. The alternating style of varying durations of high and low intensity exercise have been studied thoroughly in the research. One of the greatest strengths of interval training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) is its’ ability to allow participants to exercise at vigorous levels. The cumulative duration of the vigorous intervals would be greater than the participants ability to sustain a single bout vigorous exercise. Researchers continue to discover the health benefits of HIIT including increased aerobic capacity, improved blood pressure and metabolic blood markers, as well as, higher post exercise caloric burning.

One type of high intensity workout is described as Tabata training (Tabata et al. Med Sci Sp Ex. 1996. J Physio Sci. 2019). Authors proposed this type of exercise training to target both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems of the body. Participants perform an exhausting series of cycling 8 bouts of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest. In contrast, interval training would involve vigorous exercise followed by moderate or low intensity exercise (active rest) before performing the next vigorous bout. Participants are encouraged to feel exhausted after 8 cycles of exercise (total time 4 minutes) and increase their intensity of cycling if they can perform more than 8 cycles and reduce their intensity if they can perform< 6 cycles.

A sample workout would include

  • 10 minute moderate warm up

  • 8 bouts of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest (total time 4 minutes)

  • 10 minute cool down

  • Performed 5 days a week

It is important to note that high intensity exercise is not for everyone and participants should check with their physician before beginning any exercise program.

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