The Tabata training method is a type of HIIT ( high intensity interval training ) of four minutes duration in which alternate 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest eight times in a row. It is a very attractive training because of its short duration and its good effectiveness when it comes to producing a high caloric expenditure.
For a Tabata training to be effective it is essential that in the work intervals we reach 170% of our VO2 max : this assures us the effectiveness of the training. If we do not reach that volume of oxygen, we will be doing a HIIT, but not a Tabata.
Getting to that volume of oxygen is very complicated in trained athletes, and much more for amateur athletes, so it is important that we choose Tabata exercises properly and that they help us to reach that level of effort. What kind of exercises are the most suitable when performing a Tabata routine?
Generally Tabata routines are usually done with exercises with one’s own body weight , although we can include some implements or accessories that help us gain intensity. We can also repeat the same exercise during the eight intervalsof the Tabata routine or else combine different exercises alternating during the work periods.
We are interested in choosing global movements that involve a large number of muscle groups to help us reach that maximum intensity we seek. Between them a good option can be the burpees ( with all its variants ), the wall-ball shot or ball throw against the wall, kettlebell swings ( also with its variants ) or the Everest Climbers .
Another good option is to include exercises with jump that help us to raise the pulsations quickly (20 seconds of work are not very long and we have to reach 170% of VO2 max) and that demand a big effort: squats or strides with jump , jump rope ( with all the variants we can do ), jumps to the drawer, jumps with knees to the chest … The possibilities are very numerous and we can put together many different routines.
Is something wrong if I do not get 170% of my VO2 max? It happens that we will not obtain all the benefits promised by the Tabata training, or not at the levels that would be optimal. But at least we are moving and training, something that is always positive, especially to create a training habit.
If you think that reaching 170% of VO2 max is too much for you, you can try the Gibala method : a type of HIIT training with a similar approach to Tabata, but with a more moderate effort.
What exercises or movements do you include in Tabata training?