Interval training has been around for decades. Interval training, used to improve endurance, alternates high intensity effort with moderate to low intensity effort. The Tabata workout is a modern version of the basic interval training workout. It can help you increase your endurance and stamina – take your fitness to the next level.

What Is a Tabata?
Tabata is a workout based on research conducted by Izumi Tabata. A Tabata workout begins with a warm-up. You then repeat six to ten cycles of a workout.

The workout consists of a high intensity exercise and a medium or moderate intensity workout. For example a Tabata rowing workout might have you alternate rowing at 30 to 35 strokes per minute and then rest at around 20 strokes per minute. It’s generally at a two-to-one ratio, so if you were at a high intensity level for two minutes, you’d work out at a resting pace for one minute. You’d repeat this for six cycles – thus your total workout would be eighteen minutes.

The original Tabata method worked out for four minutes or eight cycles. Each cycle includes twenty seconds of high intensity effort followed by ten seconds of rest. You can try it right now with a squat. Squat as many times as you can for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds. Repeat for four minutes. (A squat is a low body movement. Your feet are shoulder width apart. You sit back using your gluteus and thigh muscles. Keeping your weight in your heels, you lower your backside until it is parallel or below parallel to your knees. Stand up quickly using the same muscles and repeat.)

It may not look like an intense workout. However, after four minutes of this your lower body will no doubt be burning and you’ll be breathing heavily.

Tabata Applied to Any Exercise:
You can use the Tabata approach with just about any exercise, from push-ups to cycling. The key is to learn what a high intensity effort and a moderate intensity effort feels like to you. Studies have shown that the Tabata approach improves both aerobic and anaerobic functions, meaning it improves your muscular and cardiovascular endurance and stamina. It’s a great way to get in shape quickly. And while the workouts are challenging, they’re faster than a long slow distance approach and can be quite fun.

Try a Tabata workout with your favorite exercise. If you don’t know what a high intensity level or a moderate intensity effort feels like, consider getting a heart rate monitor and learning your target heart rate zones. A moderate effort is generally around 60-80% of your maximum heart rate and your maximum is usually 80-90% of your maximum heart rate.