The Tabata Protocol

Don’t have a lot of time?  You’re not alone.  Here’s one way to get the maximum from your workout in a minimal amount of time.

Have you heard of High-Intensity  Interval Training (HIIT) or Sprint Interval Training?  These are methods of training that individuals use to improve performance.  They are fairly self-explanatory, just break down the meaning of the words in each.  You use high intensity or “sprints”, in intervals, to improve your overall performance.

I always use sprint intervals as a part of my Indoor Group Cycling Class.  This is a way to get our heart rates up, during the sprint, bring them back down during a brief rest period and then bring them up/down, several times.  It’s a great workout and, I think, a very valuable part of class. 

Recently, I learned about a new “protocol” for training called The Tabata Protocol.  Tabatas are four-minute, intense training segments.  After warming up (for about 5 minutes), a Tabata has you perform 20 seconds of high-intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.  You work yourself to the maximum (push super hard) through 20 seconds, and then back off for 10.  You go through this for 8 cycles, taking you four minutes, total. After the set, you would do a short cool down (about 2-3 minutes).  You can do a Tabata on an exercise bike, an elliptical trainer or on a treadmill or stepmill.  It’s a great way to get a hard workout in, while only working for a short period of time.

Now, as with all exercise, you should ease into this type of training.  Perhaps you wouldn’t want to go full force or for the full 4 minutes on your first time out.  Maybe run through 4 cycles, taking you only 2 minutes then see how you feel. 

I’ve recently read several articles on The Tabata Protocol and why we’d want to put ourselves through this type of workout.  I find this particularly helpful when I don’t have a ton of time after a strength workout.  I also read that this is a great way to build muscular endurance and improving your aerobic and anaerobic fitness.  One article I read even incorporated four exercises: Squat & Press w/ Medicine Ball, Burpees, Alternating Lunges and Mountain Climbers  – 10 seconds of rest between each of the 20 second sets and repeat (Oxygen Magazine, Sept., 2011). 

When it comes to exercise, I like to try new things.  Although exercise is exercise, we all know our bodies become accustomed to certain routines.  After a while, you want to mix it up, try something new, give that body a shock.  Perhaps your shock this week is to try using The Tabata Protocol in or as one of your workouts?  Rumor has it, iPhone even has an app for it! 

Let us know how it goes! 

Stay tuned for next week’s Tasty Tuesday… My favorite post-workout PUMPKIN PROTEIN SHAKE!


Carri Nelsen


About The Zone Magazine

The FREE, all digital, local magazine focusing on good news in Northern Baltimore County, Harford County & Southern PA. Visit our website.
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2 Responses to The Tabata Protocol

  1. Pingback: There’s an App for that! | The Zone Magazine

  2. Pingback: Fasting Cardio – Yea or Nay? | The Zone Magazine

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