Tabata Training – 4 Minutes to an Amazing Body Guaranteed

If you think 20 seconds go by too fast then you haven’t done TABATA…


Your body will beg for mercy as your workout starts with Tabata style “20 seconds on, 10 seconds off” circuits!

So what is this TABATA training?

Tabata is one of the most popular forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocol. It consists of eight rounds of super-high-intensity exercise, each done in a specific 20 second duration of MAXIMUM effort with 10 seconds of rest interval.

It takes four minutes to complete each Tabata circuit/round but it’s likely to be one of the longest four minutes you’ve ever endured. Simply put, Tabata is perhaps the most extreme hardcore 4 mins of your life — in a GOOD way!

History of Tabata:

The name Tabata comes from the man who invented it — Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese scientist and a researcher. He conducted a study on two groups of athletes. The first group trained on moderate intensity (70% of their VO2 max) for one hour, five days per week, for a total of six weeks. The second group of athletes trained for four minutes, high-intensity workouts four days a week for six weeks, doing eight intervals of training (with 10 seconds of rest in between each set).

In conclusion, it was found that the group of athletes who performed high intensity training showed much greater increase in aerobic and anaerobic system capacities; whereas the moderate-intensity group did not improve anaerobic performance.

The Tabata workout:

Each exercises lasts for four minutes. The program is easy to remember.

Workout for 20 secs

Rest for 10 secs

And repeat…

Total 8 times

You push your body to its maximum limit for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. You repeat this protocol 8 times for four minutes total.

The short rest intervals ensure that the body starts moving (into the next set) before it actually recovers from a previous set. That’s the reason why Tabata leads to significant gain in aerobic and anaerobic performance.

Sample Tabata workout:

  •  Push-ups
  •  Jumping jacks
  •  Air squats
  •  Sit-ups

Start with push-ups. Do 20 seconds at a maximum intensity, as many reps as you can and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat till you finish total of eight sets. Rest for one minute.

Next move to jumping jacks and repeat the sequence of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Once you finish eight sets of jumping jacks, move to air squats. After air squats, finish the workout with sit-ups. It will take a total time of nineteen minutes.

If you really want an insane full-body workout, try 3-4 rounds of Tabata!

Here is a list of exercises to incorporate in your Tabata circuit:

  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • High knees
  • Pull-ups
  • Jump rope
  • Crunches
  • Plank
  • Treadmill sprints
  • Any type of body weight exercises
  • Any type of exercise with weights

Whichever exercise you choose, you should try to push your limit in that four minute circuit. Make sure you are thoroughly warmed up (for at least 5-10 minutes) before trying this type of workout. But if you are a beginner, you can always scale down as per your fitness level.

Benefits of Tabata:

  •  Tabata is a great workout to do if you are short of time. You can take some time out of your busy schedule and do it at home. You don’t really need any equipment or even to go to gym to do Tabata.
  •  Tabata is a super efficient way to burn a lot of calories in a very short amount of time and provides a full-body anaerobic and aerobic workout.
  • It increases metabolism, improves stamina, and is an excellent way to burn fat.
  • HIIT like Tabata has great after burn effect. That means, you keep burning calories for hours after your quick workout has ended because of the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect.


So, with so many benefits, the Tabata can be a wonderful way of challenging yourself to test your endurance limits. You may incorporate Tabata into your exercise program to break monotony, give yourself an adrenaline rush, and to get that chiseled and toned physique of your dreams!


Article Credits – Priyadarshini Das (Guest Contributor)