Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that many well known exercise programs are basing themselves upon. In a sense, they are reinventing the wheel, branding it and selling it at a high price. Despite what the high visibility of these programs might imply, it is not necessary to pay a fortune to gain the many benefits to be had from the time saving methods of Tabata training.
Tabata training is actually not a very new concept. It was started in the mid-1990s in Japan by Izumi Tabata, a scientist that compared groups of exercisers using the program and using other methods. He found that using Tabata intervals improved both aerobic and anaerobic capacities of the participants, while traditional cardiovascular workouts improved aerobic capacity only and to a lesser degree.
The real kicker to this method is that it can be preformed with much less time investment for similar results due to its high rate of efficiency. In a world where few people have excess time for anything, a program which promises results with less time commitment is something to take notice of. The high intensity of the program also creates a sort of confusion in the body which boosts metabolism and burns more calories during the workout and during a period of time following the workout.
Tabata methods have evolved based on the programs and practitioners but the basic format of a program includes eight rounds of four minute sessions. The four minute sessions are broken down into twenty seconds of high intensity training paired to ten seconds of rest.
The high intensity exercises will vary by program. Examples of exercises that are preformed at very high intensity during the period of twenty seconds include sprinting in place, chin ups, pushups, and barbell squats. The exercises chosen will largely dictate what sorts of exercise equipment is needed and whether the training should occur in a gym or if it can take place at home. As a money saving choice for fitness, there are many free videos available for examples of Tabata training that can be followed in the comfort of home and there are even free aids such as online Tabata timers.
As with any exercise routine, it is important to speak with a physician when starting a new program. Tabata is very efficient, but that requires hard work which may be a stress to the body. It is important to ensure that no preexisting health conditions might prevent the workout from being performed safely. As with any exercise program, any next day soreness should be a sign heeded to take a break before attempting the program again. When a program is new and muscles are used in a different way, it is important to include time to repair as part of the building endurance and improvement of a fitness plan.