Want to get your cardio done in less than 5 minutes? The original version of Tabata training is intense, but a great tool for burning fat and improving both aerobic and anaerobic fitness – if you can handle the pain!

Originally developed by head coach of the Japanese speed skating team, Mr. Irisawa Koichi, he used a protocol consisting of periods of ultra-high intensity exercise (around 170% VO2 max) coupled with short rest to condition his athletes. This high-intensity method allows individuals to exercise in an anaerobic state (respiring without sufficient oxygen) at high performance, for longer. Coupled with the short break, it does not allow an individual to fully recovering, building a larger oxygen debt with each subsequent effort. This oxygen debt must be balanced after the period of exercise, breaking down the lactic acid produced and restoring normal hormone levels – raising metabolism and burning calories for up to 36 hours afterwards.

Tabata protocol came to be named after Professor Izumi Tabata, of Ritsumeikan University, who was in charge of the Japanese speed skating team at the same time due to his subsequent research into this method of training. His research showed Tabata interval training improved an individual’s aerobic capacity by 14% vs. only 10% increase from 1 hour of sustained moderate exercise (over a 6 week period). Tabata training also increased anaerobic capacity by a huge 28%, while sustained moderate exercise showed no measureable improvement.

Differing slightly to the standard HIIT protocol (described here https://www.ldnmuscle.com/hiit-or-miss/) Tabata does not allow an individual to recover between intervals. This is going to reduce the amount of time you have spend doing cardio, but the trade-off is the pain you’re going to experience!

We suggest performing Tabata on: stationary or spinning bike (not recumbent bike), elliptical or cross-trainer, rowing machine or sprinting (not on treadmill). Here’s how:

Warm up

  • Low intensity warm up (minimum 5 mins, preferably 10-15 mins)

Main set (8 sets of)

  • 20 sec at MAXIMUM EFFORT
  • 10 sec recovery

Cool down

  • Low intensity cool down (5-10 mins)

Now, this is REALLY going to hurt – the participants in studies often came close to, or did, throw up  from Tabata training. It is also VERY fatiguing, so is not recommended for newbie trainees! But if you can handle the pain, build Tabata into your current cardio routine for big improvements in fat loss and athletic performance.

Want to push yourself to the limit again? Sure you are ready for it? Check out our evil LDNM Tabata Torture Pack and LDNM HIIT Pack series here.