Tabata: The workout that might be your secret weapon


Previously, I discuss lack of time and the solution you can use to prevent this barrier. In addition, I made an article about 5 workouts you can do in less than 30 min to get into effective workout. However, there is one type of workout you can use help improve your goals faster in less than 10 mins. In a short time with a structure time interval, you may see yourself losing fat quicker and improve fitness in a short amount of time. Tabata is the name and there are details to go over before using this method in your exercise program.

What is Tabata?

The name Tabata, taken from Dr. Izumi Tabata, who created an exercise method where you do certain exercises alternatively. 20-sec of high-intensity work and then 10-sec active rest and repeat the cycle until you reach 4 minutes; it is a short interval workout. Dr. Tabata did a research on this type of workout. The subjects were athletes, speed skaters, that did the workout on a stationary bike while the other group does 30-sec high-intensity work then 2 min rest for 4-5 times. The results concluded that the group that did the Tabata workout saw an improvement of their VO2max, maximal oxygen intake measured during exercise. It improves athletic performance. Aerobic and anaerobic capacities increased. Anaerobic system is the most targeted systems for the Tabata protocol. This is good for those that want to perform better in competition.

Tabata for Anaerobic protocol Source/Credit: Fretamales from Wikimedia CC


The last couple sentences already talked about the benefits of doing the Tabata workout. Here are some of the benefits for doing the Tabata workout. Short of time; this allows you to create no excuse for lack of time barrier. This can also help you burn major calories in a short amount of time. According to the link, you burn at least 13.5 calories per minute. So 4 min Tabata equals 50 or more calories. It will improve performance. Personally, I used the Tabata workout during my running program for a college class, PHED 237. After using the Tabata running protocol (20-sec sprint 10-sec walk 1-2 set) for 5 weeks, I did the 1.5-mile run test. I ended up getting the time of 9:19 compared to my initial time of 10:33. This also shows the benefit of improving fitness by challenging your body. Lastly, it is effective for improving cardiorespiratory fitness and your anaerobic system.

Man Wearing White Sweater and Black Shorts About to Run
Man running intense workout Source/Credit: nappy from Pexels


Despite the benefits of doing the Tabata workout, there are precautions to follow. The workout itself is only for exercisers that can perform at a high intensity comfortably without much fatigue. High intensity is not for beginner exercisers or those who are not used to performing this amount of intensity. It is recommended for beginners to go at light to moderate interval training and do low-impact exercises like walking or marching in place. Slowly progress your workout to high intensity until you feel comfortable doing so. If you’re not comfortable doing this kind of intensity or go all out early, then you feel major discomfort towards your muscles and feel breathless. You can risk yourself for injury if you perform improper techniques or form. It is important to practice good techniques and proper form. *Make sure you do Tabata at least twice a week nonconsecutively to allow your body for proper rest*

Sample workout:

One of the best things about Tabata is that you can do a variety of options to choose from. You can choose to run, bodyweight cardio, rowing machine, or cycling. Let’s do samples of 4 of these choices to see how it’s supposed to be structured.


Beginner (8x 20-sec sprint 10-sec active rest) Intermediate to Advanced (16x 20-sec sprint 10-sec active rest)

Bodyweight Cardio:

A beginner does only one exercise, 8x 20-sec squat jump 10-sec rest. Intermediate do at least 4 exercises, 8x-16x of squat jumps, lunge jumps, high knees, mountain climbers.

The advance version is doing 30-minute Tabata like this video by POPSUGAR Fitness

*To simplify, a beginner can do 4 min Tabata, the intermediate can do 8-15 min Tabata, advanced can do 20-30 min Tabata.*

Rowing machine:

Beginner (8x 20 sec very high intensity 10-sec active rest) Intermediate to Advanced (16x 20 sec very high intensity 10-sec active rest)


Same for most exercise (20 sec very high intensity 10-sec active rest)

Conclusion: Tabata is one of the best exercises you can do if you want to become fit and lose belly fat fast. Based on evidence and science behind the results, if done properly, Tabata will help you reach for your goal. Always use caution and warm up and cool down. Have a safe workout.


Waehner, P. (2018, December 02.) Tabata Training and How It Works. Retrieved from
Waehner, P. (2016, April 29.) Tabata Training for Major Calorie Burning. Retrieved from
Gray, K. (2018, August 03.) Everything You Need to Know About Tabata Training. Retrieved from
MacMillan, A. (2016, September 14). The New Science Behind Tabata Training, the Four-Minute Wonder Workout. Retrieved from

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