The Science Behind Tabata Exercises

The Tabata method of exercise is one that’s becoming well-known around the world. More and more are turning to interval training due to its effective nature, and the Tabata method is the most celebrated. The Tabata method is eight rounds of intense exercise that are performed for 20 seconds, which is followed by a 10-second break. This was designed by Professor Izumi Tabata and lasts for four minutes in total for each exercise.

Tabata introduced this new method in the late 1990s, making its debut in the CrossFit scene early in 2001. Since then, it has become a staple that many people follow to the letter. While we know its popularity and effectiveness, what’s the science behind why the Tabata method works? Let’s break it down and show why Tabata is the best way to exercise.

Tabata’s Research

Dr. Tabata isn’t simply one doctor that theorized that his new method would be effective without putting it to good use. Instead, he studied athletes that were preparing for the Summy Olympics and how they performed aerobically. First, he took those that were doing extended aerobic workouts while also studying those that were training in short bursts which would ultimately be his new method.

High-intensity interval training was known about at the time, but not really well researched. It wasn’t until Tabata found that those that were putting out maximum effort for 20 seconds at a time before going into light exercise for 10 seconds were increasing their VO2 maximum. Not only did it improve aerobic performance in studies, but also increased anaerobic performance so that athletes could use their muscles without oxygen.

The Rest Rate

Four minutes sounds like a breeze on paper, but it’s much harder than it sounds. A big reason for that is that after the maximum effort gets put into effect, even the lowered effort is still significant exercise, and it’s only for 10 seconds at a time. This allows your heart rate to drop into a better range before you kick it back into performance overdrive.

The Tabata method then allows you to rest for however long you need after your four-minute window has closed on an exercise. Some might only need a minute or two before they’re ready to start back up while others may need a full hour. Either way, mixing it up between the bursts of high heart rate and performance heart rate is great for effectiveness, while also burning fat. That leads us to our next point:

Bye Bye Fat

On top of being effective in building muscle and endurance, the Tabata method is one of the most effective ways of burning fat imaginable. Interval training has already been shown to be great for fat loss, and the Tabata method takes that to the next level. Trainers around the world have praised Tabata for coming up with the method that has helped their clients shed unwanted pounds while also helping with their mental health while adding muscle.

The Tabata method is a shot in the arm for your metabolism, and the maximum heart rate is reached with each exercise putting your body into the prime fat loss zone. Almost all major studies have shown that overweight or obese people see a more improved fat loss through the Tabata method, and even underweight people were able to build better muscle strength and increase aerobic capacity. Therefore, no matter what your starting point, Tabata helps get you to your healthiest possible.

From Tabata Himself

Dr. Tabata put a lot of work into finding the right numbers that would get the maximum results. However, he didn’t figure that his name would become attached to the exercise. “I had no idea it was going to be as popular as it has become,” Tabata humbly said. “It has been very exciting, and I’m very flattered that the name Tabata has become synonymous with this form of exercise.”

Those that have gone through the Tabata method have seen their cardiorespiratory fitness increase by an average of 10 percent. While that doesn’t sound like much, that’s actually a massive difference when it comes to that particular health measurable. Doing Tabata exercises can reduce your chances of heart disease, lower cholesterol, burn fat, and increase performance. With all of that in mind, you’re probably kicking yourself for not doing these exercises sooner!

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