Chances are if you have been to a gym or tuned into fitness videos, you’ve heard the term tabata. Love it or loathe it, tabata style workouts can be super effective especially when short on time.  It offers maximum benefit with short bursts of effort getting the results you seek in raising your metabolism and burning calories. Fitness enthusiast, Georgia Seacrest, comments, “With my busy schedule including classes, work, and social time, I love being able fit in Tabata workouts! Sometimes it’s all I have time for, but I can still feel good about getting a mini workout in.”

Tabata, a style of high intensity interval training,  is named after a Japanese professor and researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata. He conducted a study to measure the benefit of 20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times totaling only 4 minutes, versus a control group who endured one hour of moderate-intensity exercise. Each group exercised five times a week for 6 weeks uncovering amazing results! 

The study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, found that Tabata training improved aerobic capacity to a similar degree as moderate-intensity continuous training, but also resulted in a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity. 

It’s important to note, the intensity as performed in the study is ‘everything you’ve got!’ To reap the benefits, you must perform at your maximal effort. Tabata protocol can be applied to virtually any modality including biking, running, and exercises like push ups, squats, or everyone’s favorite— burpees.

In this month’s workout we took the tabata training style and applied it to an effective core workout. Squeeze this workout in any time during your day. Have more time on your hands? Repeat as many times as you’d like.

How to do it: There are several tabata timer apps and/or songs you can find to help time your efforts however, your watch will do the trick as well. After completing a 5 minute warm up, complete each exercise, as many times as possible for 20 seconds then rest for ten seconds. Repeat two sets for a total of eight rounds.

As always, consult your physician before beginning any new workout regimen. 

Sit Ups

—Start in a lying position with knees bent and feet on the ground; hands placed behind your head

—Curl your upper body towards your knees exhaling as you lift

—Return to start

Reverse Curl to Press

—Start in a lying position with legs in the air

—Curl hips upward then lower legs to an angle and push out

—Return the legs to the start position

Spider Plank

—Start in a hand plank position with hands directly under shoulders and body rigid

—Bring knee forward to the outside of the elbow

—Repeat with the other leg maintaining the plank position

Toe Taps

—Start in a hand plank position with feet wide

—Pulling hips upward, reach opposite hand to opposite foot

—Return to plank position and repeat with the opposite hand

Leah Seacrest, Corporate Vice President of Fitness & Operations at REGYMEN Fitnesshas over 25 years of experience in the fitness industry as a fitness instructor, director and studio owner.