Tabata training - The four-minute fat torch

By Jessica B. Adams, Ph.D.

Developed in Japan almost two decades ago and designed for training athletes, early versions of the Tabata protocol were tested on Japanese speed skaters who, despite training for a mere two hours per week, showed significantly greater improvements in both aerobic and muscular fitness than did the control group, which trained for five hours a week. Despite the dramatic success of this training method, Tabata has only recently become popular in mainstream fitness.

True Tabata training involves 20 seconds of maximum-intensity activity followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds, resulting in four minutes of high-intensity exercise. Because this program was originally designed for extremely fit athletes, the original protocol is enough to cause nausea in many people. Fortunately, people of most fitness levels can benefit from lower-intensity variations of training that applies the principles of Tabata.

A worldwide survey by the American College of Sports Medicine identified high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as the No. 1 fitness trend for 2014. When practitioners engage in HIIT responsibly, the technique provides optimal health benefits in a relatively short period, making it a popular workout. For the purposes of HIIT, “intensity” is a relative term based on your personal fitness level. Intensity is simply a percentage of your maximum effort.

Although the original protocol was designed using a cycle ergometer (stationary bike), any large-muscle-group exercises can be used for Tabata training. When you practice Tabata training, you can use the exercises provided here or substitute exercises from previous issues of Alert Diver. When selecting exercises, consider that transition time from one exercise to the next is included in the rest interval, so some practitioners use the same exercise for all eight rounds. The key elements of this type of training are time and intensity.

Before you jump in, begin with a 10-minute, movement-specific warm-up. Complete five repetitions of each exercise, gradually increasing the speed and range of motion. Then set your timer. You can use a traditional stopwatch, wall clock, Tabata trainer or one of many apps available.
For rounds five through eight, repeat the exercises and intervals you used in the first four rounds. You may be able to complete only four rounds at first. That is perfectly acceptable as long as you work toward completion of eight rounds of maximal yet safe effort. Pushing through some discomfort due to tired muscles is good; pushing through pain can lead to injury. Listen to your body. The goal is to complete each repetition as fast possible without compromising your technique.

Your Tabata training should always be followed by a three- to 10-minute cool down. Make sure to stretch all areas that feel fatigued.
Burpee (No Push-Up)
  1.  Begin standing.
  2.  Squat until your hands touch the ground.
  3.  Jump your feet back into push-up position.
  4.  Jump your feet forward again.
  5.  Stand up.
  6.  Repeat.
Tip: Maintain a tight core to help keep your back straight.
Modification: Replace push-up position with lying prone on the ground.
  1.  Begin standing.
  2.  Bend down, keeping your knees as straight as possible (forward fold).
  3.  Walk your hands forward (left, right, left) until you are in push-up position.
  4.  Walk your hands back (right, left, right) until you are back in forward fold.
  5.  Stand up.
  6.  Repeat.
Tip: The straighter your knees (without being locked), the more you will stretch your calf muscles. Improving calf flexibility can reduce calf cramps during finning.
Modification: Bend your knees to get to the floor. Each session you will be able keep your knees a little straighter.
Speed Skater
  1.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2.  Flex (bend) your knees about 45 degrees.
  3.  Flex at the hips so your shoulders are above your knees.
  4.  Hop sideways (to the right), landing on your right foot.
  5.  Hop sideways (to the left), landing on your left foot.
  6.  Repeat.
Tip: Keep your chest up, and start with short jumps; you can increase the distance with each session.
Modification: Shorten your jumps, and allow your other foot to touch the ground for stabilisation.
Ski Abs
  1.  Start in plank position (the “up” phase of a push-up).
  2.  Jump both feet toward your left hand.
  3.  Jump both feet back into plank position.
  4.  Jump both feet toward your right hand.
  5.  Jump both feet back into plank position.
  6.  Repeat.


immersion and bubble formation Accidents Acid reflux Acute ailments After anaesthesia Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Airway control Alert Diver Magazine Alternative gas mix Altitude changes Altitude sickness Aluminium Oxide Ama divers Amino acids Anaerobic Metabolism Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Archaeology Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aspirin Aurel hygiene BCD BHP BLS Back adjustment Back pain Back treatment Backextensors Badages Bag valve mask Bahamas Balancing Bandaids Barbell back squat Barometric pressure Barotrauma Basic Life Support Batteries Bench press Benign prostate hyperplasia Beth Neale Black Blood flow Blue Wilderness Blurred vision Boat safety Bone fractures Bouyancy compensators Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing Breathold diving Broken bones Bruising Bubbleformation Buddy Exercise Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 COVID-19 COVID CPR Cabin pressure Caissons diseas Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Cape Town CapeTown Carbon dioxide Cardio health Cardiological Cardiomyopathy Chamber Safety Chamber science Charging batteries Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Charlie Warland Chemotherapy Chest compressions Chiropractic Citizen Conservation Cleaning products Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care ColdWater Cold Commercial diving Commercial schools Compressed gas Consercation Conservation Contaminants Contaminated air Coral Conservation Coral Reefs Corals Core strength Corona virus Courtactions Crohns disease Crowns Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN members DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS theories DCS DEMP DM training DNA DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Danel Wenzel Dauin island Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression Stress Decompression illsnes Decompression treatment Decompression Deep diving Deep water exploration Delayed Offgassing Dental Diaphragms Diseases Dive Chamber Dive Computer Dive Destinations Dive H Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Medical Form Dive Pros Dive Research Dive South Africa Dive Training Dive Travel Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive excursions Dive fitness Dive gear Dive heallth Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive operators Dive planning Dive safety Dive safe Dive staff DiveLIVE Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Health Diver Profile Diver infliencers Diver on surface Divers Alert Diving Divas Diving Kids Diving Trauma Diving career Diving emergencies Diving emergency management Diving fit Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dizziness Dolphins Domestic Donation Dowels Dr Rob Schneider Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits Dyperbaric medicines EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Eco friendly Education Electronic Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equalisation Equipment care Evacuations Evacuation Evaluations Even Breath Exercise Exhaustion Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Failures Fatigue Faulty equipment Female divers Fillings Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Kit First Aid Training First Aid kits Fish Identification Fish Fitness Training Fitness to dive Fitness Flying Fractures Francois Burman Fredive Free Student cover Free diving Free flow Freedive INstructor Freedive Training Freediver Freediving performance Freediving Gas Density Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gastoeusophagus Gastric bypass Gastroenterologist Gear Servicing Gordon Hiles Great White Sharks Gutt irritations HCV HELP HIRA HMS Britanica Haemorhoid treatment Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Hazardous marinelife Health practitioner Heart Attack Heart Health Heart Rate monitor Heart rates Heart rate Heart Heat stress Helium Hepatitis C Hepatitus B High temperatures Hip strength Hip surgery Hippocampus History Hot Humans Hydrate Hydration Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric research Hyperbarics Hypothermia Hypoxia IdentiFin Immersion Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Indonesia Inert gas Infections Injections Instinct Instruction Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Interval training Irritation Joint pain KZN South Coast Kidneys Kids scubadiver KwaZulu Natal Labour laws Laryngospasm Lauren Arthur Learning to dive Legal advice Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Lightroom editing Live aboard diving Liver Toxicity Liver diseas Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lung Irritation Lung function Lung injuries Lung squeeze Lung surgery Lung MOD Maintenance Malaria Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Marine Biology Marine Scientists Marine conservation Marine parks Marinelife Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical emergencies Medical questionaire Medical statement Medication Mehgan Heaney-Grier Mermaid Danii Mesophotic Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Motion sickness Mozambique Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum Nausea Nautilus Neck pain Neurological assessments Nitrogen build up Nitrox No-decompression Non-rebreather Mask Normal Air Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean Research Ocean pollution Open water divers Orbital implants Oronasal mask Osteonecrosis Out and about Outreach Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen dificiency Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen supply Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PFI PJP Tech Part 3 Partner Training Philippine Islands Philippines Phillipines Photography Physioball Physiotherapy Pills Pistons Planning Plastic Pneumonia Pneumothorax Poison Pollution Pool Diving Post-dive Pre-dive Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Professional rights Provider course Pulmanologist Pulmonary Bleb Pulmonary Edema Pulse Punture wounds Pure Apnea Purge RAID South Africa RCAP REEF Radio communications Range of motion Rashes Rebreather diving Rechargeable batteries. Recompression chamber Recompression treatment Recompression Recycle Reef Conservation Reef surveyors Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Renewable Report incidents Rescue Procedure Rescue breathing Rescue breaths Rescue training Rescue Resume diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk assessment Risk elements Risk management SABS 019 SafariLive Safety Stop Safety SaherSafe Barrier Salty Wanderer Sanitising Sara Andreotti Saturation Diving Save our seas Science Scombroid Poisoning Scuba Air Quality Scuba Injury Scuba Instructor Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Sea Horses Sealife Shark Protection Shark Research Shark conservation Shark diving Sharks Shoulder strength Sideplank Signs and Symptoms Sit-ups Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Snorkels Sodwana Bay Solomon Islands South Africa Spinal pain Splits Squeezes Stability exercise Standars Stay Fit Stents Step ups Stroke Submerged Sudafed Sulawesi Supplemental oxygen Surface supplied Air Surfaced Surgeries Surgery Suspension training TRavel safety Tabata protocol Tattoes Technical Diving The Bends The truth Thermal Notions Tides Tips and trick Tooth squeeze Transplants Travel smarter Travel tips Travel Tropical Coastal Management Tunnelling Tweezers Ultrsound Umkomaas Unconsciousness Underground work Underwater hockey Underwater photographer Underwater photography Underwater pho University of Stellenbosch Urinary retention. Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Vape Vaping Vasopressors Vasvagal Syncope Venting Virus infections Volatile fuels Washout treatments Wastewater Water Resistance Water Weakness Weigang Xu West Papua Wet diving bell Wetsuit fitting Wetsuits White balance Wide angles Winter Woman in diving Women In Diving SA Women in diving Work of Breathing Workout Wound dressings Wreck divers Wreck dive Wreckdiving Wrecks Yoga Youth diver Zandile Ndholvu Zoology abrasion acoustic neuroma excision air-cushioned alert diver altitude anemia antibiotics antiseptics bandages barodontalgia bent-over barbell rows bioassays body art breathing air calories burn carbon dioxide toxicity cardiovascular cerebrospinal fluid checklist chemo port child clearances closed circuit scuba currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants decongestion dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver in distress diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits drowning dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalising equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue fitnes flexible tubing frediving freedivers gas bubble gas poisoning gastric acid gene expression health heartburn histidine hospital humidity immersion and bubble formation immersion pulmonary edema (IPE jaundice join DAN knee longevity lower stress malaise marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment medications mental challenge micro-organisims minor illness mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal near drowning nematocysts neurological newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic outgas pain perforation phillippines physical challenges pinched nerves plasters polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive posture preserve prevention psychoactive pulmunary barotrauma rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections smoking snorkeling. spearfishing sterilising stings strength sub-aquatic swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection toxicity training trimix unified standards vision impaired warmers water quality