The Tabata Protocol
The Tabata training program is called a protocol because it is based on the scientific experimental observations of Dr. Izumi Tabata. In his experiment, Dr. Tabata had created an exercise program for two groups. The control group was supposed to do one hour of moderate intensity exercise five times a week and the Tabata group was made to do a high intensity interval workout of 4 minutes four times a week. The results were checked after six weeks and it was observed that the control group had gained aerobic or cardiovascular capacity benefits while the tabata group had gained both aerobic as well as anaerobic capacity benefits. Their anaerobic fitness level had increased by 28 percent.
Since then, Tabata training has grown in popularity as it is very effective in improving fitness.
What is included in the Tabata training program?
There are many other HIIT programs but Tabata is especially popular because of its 4 minute time limit. In these four minutes you have to choose any form of exercise that you like and workout hard for 20 seconds. Then you have to take a 10 second break. This process has to be repeated 8 times. These 8 cycles of alternating effort and rest have a massive impact on the body because the high and low intensity cycle make the body work extremely hard. Such an intense workout absolutely exhausts the person who does it. The EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption also increases to a large extent after doing this workout.
You can choose to do any one exercise or multiple exercises during the course of the 4 minute workout by changing the form of the exercise after every 10 second rest period. This has a greater effect on the body because it becomes a full-body workout. You can also choose to do three or four such 4-minute workouts in a day which makes it sixteen minutes of exercise and you can allot a separate exercise to every workout.
There are plenty of exercises to choose from- Push Ups, Squats, Planks, Weights, Jumping Rope, Medicine ball slams, Sit Ups, Pull Ups, Shoulder Press, Flys, Bicep Curls, Crunches, Sprints, Bench Press and many more. The idea is to just keep the body moving and working furiously for 4 minutes. The exercises that you choose need to make full use of your muscles.
Some things you should be careful about
Tabata training is not for beginners because it is a high intensity workout program. If you are not used to such an intense workout program, then it can prove to be very challenging for you. There is a risk of getting injured if you do not do not give your body an adequate warm up before plunging into this program. You need to be totally motivated and determined to bear the longest four minutes of your life because it does not offer you a chance to rest for long. Your muscles get fatigued and you can feel a discomfort initially because your body is not used to it. However, the task becomes easier with time as the body adapts itself to the routine. There are various benefits if you do it right.
The benefits of Tabata Training
You can gain much more with this short workout than an hour’s workout in the gym. This is because Tabata training is very intense and burns up calories very fast. This program has such a huge following because it improves the endurance threshold of the body and the metabolism constantly remains in high gear both during the workout as well as for twenty four hours after the workout.
This increase in the metabolism as well as heart rate helps the body to burn the excess fat and keeps the body agile and alert at all times. This is the aim of any form of exercise. You feel fresh when your body gets used to the intensity after a few days. It is a complete workout in itself and you do not even need to go to the gym for it. You can do this at home at your convenience and for as long as you want to and get the maximum benefit in the minimum time.