Tabata training has become one of the most popular forms of H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training). It uses a set time of 4minutes, broken down in to eight rounds, 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest intervals.
Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and colleagues compared results of moderate intensity and HIIT. The study assessed two groups of amateur athletic males in their early 20’s. The first group pedalled on an ergo-meter for 60minutes at 70% of VO2 max, while the second group pedalled for 20seconds at maximal effort with 10seconds rest for 4minutes.
Both groups worked out five days a week, 5hrs or 20minutes a week. They continued this for 6 weeks.
The study found that, as expected, the Tabata-style group increased their anaerobic performance while the moderate intensity group did not. What was more surprising was that the Tabata-style group also improved their aerobic ability in a similar fashion to the moderate intensity group, who were specifically training for that. Showing that the Tabata protocol provides 2-in-1 benefits from the 4minutes.
Since this paper many have ‘experimented’ with the use of various exercises and moved away from the original research. Although they adopt the same principle, 20s on – 10s off for 4minutes, this is not inline with the research and therefore, cannot claim to have the same effects until further research has been performed.