A popular regimen based on a 1996 study uses 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise (at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max) followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles). Tabata called this the IE1 protocol. In the original study, athletes using this method trained 4 times per week, plus another day of steady-state training, and obtained gains similar to a group of athletes who did steady state (70% VO2max) training 5 times per week. The steady state group had a higher VO2max at the end (from 52 to 57 ml/kg/min), but the Tabata group had started lower and gained more overall (from 48 to 55 ml/kg/min). Also, only the Tabata group had gained anaerobic capacity benefits.
What the heck does all that mean………..
Tabata interval training is the single most effective type of high intensity interval training, its also the most intense by far, and surprisingly its the shortest in duration, it only last for four minutes… but those four minutes produce remarkable effects.
Dr. Tabata discovered that this kind of interval training produces much better results than aerobic training. This included building as much muscular endurance as forty five minutes of normal cardio training. In fact in the study the subjects increased their anaerobic capacity by over a quarter as well a substantial increase in their aerobic fitness. Something to keep in mind was that the the subjects were as fit as race horses before they started the trial, so the improvements were remarkable.
This makes it an very versatile program, you can use tabata for weight loss as well most improving performance in most aerobic and anaerobic sport.
The full Tabata program is four minutes long, it will probably feel like the longest four minutes of your life.
If you are going to try it I would recommend going light with the weights until you find your range, theres a good chance you will underestimate this workout and be begging people around you to help you off the floor.
Push hard for 20 seconds
Rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat this eight times.
The secret to making this effective is in your sprint interval. You have to go all out, so do as many reps as you can in the 20 seconds, put it down for 10, then pick it up again and go hell for leather for another 20 seconds.
I would suggest getting some sort of tabata timer like a watch where you can see exactly where you are in the workout, you don’t want to have to think too much, all of your concentration will be on the exercise.