Tabata is a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout, developed by professor Dr. Izumi Tabata to train Olympic speed skaters. The system is easy to apply: 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Sounds simple, right? It’s not.

In order to reap the benefits of a tabata style workout, going all out is crucial. Moving through the cardio workout leisurely will get you nowhere. With that in mind, Tabata typically isn't a great workout for beginners.

You might be wondering why the 20/10 format? Try doing an all out sprint for more than 20 seconds and you will quickly understand why you need those 10 seconds of rest. The rest period provides just enough recovery to perform another 20 seconds of maximum effort.

Why Tabata Works

Now let’s talk about results. Think about the difference between a marathon runner’s body and that of a sprinter. Marathon runners, as a general rule, are lean with very little muscle mass. That’s because while running is still one of the best ways to lose weight, on it’s own, running will never give you a ripped body.

Sprinters on the other hand, are visibly more toned and spend a fraction of the time getting there. Similar to a sprinter’s workout, tabata relies on high intensity in shorter bursts, helping you define muscle tone more efficiently. Wait, there's another benefit: the afterburn effect. You’ll keep burning calories for hours after you’re done working out. Who doesn’t want that?

Classic Tabata Moves to Help You Get Started

Because tabata is a formula more than a routine, workout possibilities are virtually endless. That being said, here are a few moves that are tabata classics:

  • Burpees
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Walking lunges
  • Planks
  • Rowing
  • Squat jumps
  • Skaters
  • Mountain climbers

Ready to get started? Christine Salus shares a great 30 minute tabata workout you can do at home. Check it out and get started with tabata today!