If you’re a busy corporate professional, you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your health. Between attending office, taking calls, and spending time with your family and friends, it can be quite hard to take time out for yourself and your body. But exercise you must, and Tabata is a new training protocol that many professionals are swearing by — it’s quick, it doesn’t take too much time, and it’s effective.
Tabata originated with health and sports science professor Izumi Tabata in Tokyo, Japan. It’s a style of training that many people don’t know about and the ones that do tend to have a degree of skepticism.
The reason for this is due to the fact that it’s a high-intensity training regime and it’s relatively easy to make mistakes and potentially injure yourself. This doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective, and it’s certainly not something that it is impossible to do safely.
And if you do do it safely, it’s a style of exercise that has quite a few benefits. It’s a quick way to get results, it can help you lose weight and it can help build up a variety of different muscle groups.
Because of how challenging it is, I would recommend that you don’t jump straight into Tabata without researching and preparing yourself first. So let’s run through some of the important things you need to know:
How Tabata Works
Every Tabata workout should last exactly four minutes. As we said, efficiency and speed are some of the major benefits of Tabata and this is the reason why. You are just going to do an intense workout for 4 minutes.
You will have rest periods in between the flurries of exercise of course and everything happens in 30-second increments. You start off by taking the first 10 seconds to get ready and then doing your chosen exercise as fast as possible for 20 seconds.
Then you have your 10 second rest period before firing right back into the 20 second period of intense exercise. You do this 8 times and that will bring you up to 4 minutes. Because you are only working out for a short period of time, you must push yourself to your limits.
This is where things can get a little dangerous. If your body isn’t used to firing on all cylinders you can wear yourself out really quickly and start to make mistakes. Your form also needs to be perfect to avoid any muscle tearing or injuries.
There are certain workouts that work well when using this system and I’ll talk about them in a minute, but whichever ones you decide to do, practice them at a normal pace and make sure you have them perfected before you start incorporating them into a Tabata workout.
Finding a coach to help you choose the right exercises and to guide you through the process of putting a routine together might be a good idea, especially if you are new to conditioning and strength training in general.
On to the exercises:
One thing that you need to make sure of when doing Tabata is that you should focus on exercises that work several different muscles. There is no point in just working your arms because you’re only going for 4 minutes.
You should be covering more ground than that. Also, it’s worth buying a kettlebell because that’s a great piece of equipment that can help with strength training and you’ll need it for some of these. The exercises you should consider are:
Kettlebell Thrusters: To do this one, hold a kettlebell in each hand, bend your arms with your palms facing the ceiling. This puts the weight on your shoulders. From this position, do a squat and then when raising, extend your arms, pushing the weights skyward.
Do this for the full 20-second interval. It works your shoulders, your arms, and your quads.
Push-ups: A classic exercise, an easy one to master and absolutely perfect for Tabata. If you are for some reason unfamiliar with how to do a push-up, it’s very straightforward. Lie face down and put your weight on your palms and toes.
Keep your back straight and engage your core. Push up to full extension of your arms and then lower yourself back down. Repeat this as many times as you can in the 20 second period. This exercise works your shoulders, your chest, your arms, and your core.
Kettlebell Swings: Put the kettlebell in front of you on the ground where you can reach it and stand with your legs spread. Squat down, keeping your back straight and pick the kettlebell up with both hands. With your back still straight, swing it back between your legs.
As you stand up straight, swing it back out in front of you to shoulder height. Then squat again and repeat the process. A tough exercise, but good for working your arms, legs, shoulders and your back.
Burpees: Another tough bodyweight exercise here. You start this one in a standing position, go into a full squat, place your hands on the floor and swing your legs out into a push-up position, with your back straight.
From there, jump back into the crouching position, straighten up and jump. When you land, go straight into the next burpee. A fantastic exercise for your arms and legs.
Take a look here to find out some more focused and in-depth Tabata routines that you could also try once you’ve mastered the basics.
What you need to remember is that this is not an easy way to work out, despite the fact that you are only doing it for what seems like a very short period of time. I’ve said this a few times now but it’s extremely important, you can hurt yourself very easily if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Practice, prepare yourself, avoid rookie mistakes and don’t attempt a Tabata workout until you’re sure you’re ready. Once you are, it will be a massively beneficial way to exercise.