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What are the benefits of Tabata training?

by Ezra 6 minutes read

Last updated: 26 Apr, 2023

Tabata is a type of high intensity interval training (HIIT), a workout which alternates between intense exercise and rest. It aims to achieve the best results in minimal time.

In comparison to other HIIT workouts, Tabata has very specific time intervals and much shorter periods of recovery.

It was developed by Dr Izumi Tabata in 1996 to train Olympians. The professor found that it was more effective for athletes to engage in 8 rounds of 20 second intervals of intense exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, than other workout routines. In simpler words - performing the maximum amount of effort for the minimal amount of time.

The study was originally carried out using stationary bikes, but Tabata can be incorporated into a variety of bodyweight and strength training exercises.

Benefits of Tabata

Improves cardiovascular endurance

Due to its intensity, Tabata increases your heart rate and in turn increases your VO2 Max (the amount of oxygen that is consumed during exercise) and anaerobic capacity (the body's ability to produce energy without oxygen). If your body is able to efficiently process oxygen, you will have greater cardiovascular endurance and a healthier cardiovascular system.

Time efficient and convenient

Not many people enjoy exercising, let alone exercising for long periods of time. Tabata takes up only 4 minutes of your day, or 20 minutes if you want a longer workout.

Supports weight loss / Burns fat

As Tabata is an extremely high intensity exercise, it is the perfect workout to help aid weight loss.

The intense, yet short, bursts of energy will increase your heart rate and metabolism, causing your body to work harder than usual to keep up due to the short window of recovery.

Your body is placed into the fat-burning zone directly with Tabata training, unlike other forms of HITT. This means that even after the workout has finished, your metabolism will remain high and you will continue to burn calories and gain muscle.


Tabata can be done in the comfort of your own home as no gym equipment is needed. This makes Tabata perfect for both beginners and professional athletes as it’s flexible to individual abilities and needs!

Full body Tabata workout

Below is a beginner-friendly Tabata fitness routine that takes only 4 minutes! It requires no gym equipment and involves simple exercises.

Remember to always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards to minimise the potential for injuries, and focus on maintaining good form.

Mountain climbers

How to:

  1. To begin, get into the plank position.

  2. Bring your left knee towards your chest and then return to the plank position, repeating the same motion quickly with your right knee.

  3. Complete as many reps as you can within 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds

High knees

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-to-hip width apart and arms at your side.

  2. Lift your left knee as high as possible towards your chest before alternating to your right knee.

  3. Continue the motion as fast as possible for 20 seconds, and then resting for 10 seconds.

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Jumping jacks

How to:

  1. Stand straight with your arms at your side.

  2. Jump your feet out horizontally and swing your arms up above your head simultaneously.

  3. Then reverse the motion, jumping your feet back together and bringing your arms back down to your side.

  4. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds before resting for 10 seconds.


How to:

  1. Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent, and arms crossed against your chest.

  2. With your feet firmly on the ground, lift your shoulders, neck, and head off the floor in a curling motion while tensing your abdomen.

  3. Slowly return to the starting position, completing as many reps in 20 seconds as possible before resting for 10 seconds.

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Via: Ivan Radic / Flickr

Tabata routines to try

As long as you alternate between 20 seconds of maximum effort exercise and 10 seconds of rest, it does not matter what exercise you choose to do in Tabata training. You can even create your own Tabata workout routine!

The most popular bodyweight exercises to use in a Tabata workout include:

  • Mountain climbers

  • Jumping jacks

  • High knees

  • Burpees

  • Crunches

  • Push ups

  • Russian twists

Access to gym equipment isn’t necessary for Tabata, however it can be a great addition if you’re looking to mix up your high intensity workouts.

Common gym equipment used in Tabata routines:

  • Stationary bike

  • Kettlebells

  • Dumbbells

  • Skipping rope

  • Medicine balls

If you want to give other HIIT workouts a try that you can do at home, check out our article.

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