The Tabata Regimen

Nowadays the Internet is crowded with training ideas and music to workout following the Tabata Regimen, designed by the Japanese professor Izumi Tabata in 1996.

This method aimed at improving aerobic capacity without negatively affecting the anaerobic capacity. The study used 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). The intensity was really key here; if one of the athletes could not keep up for the 8 rounds, he would be disqualified. At the same time, another group of athletes were training following the conventional method (long lasting, 70% of maximum capacity). After six weeks, the first group was able to improve both capacities at the same time, while the second had only been able to improve aerobic capacity.

Dr Izumi Tabata
Professor Izumi Tabata. Photo:

While these great benefits should only be expected if the method is applied in its full integrity, truth is that this type of intervals (8 x 20 seconds of work / 10 seconds of rest) has become extremely popular and is currently being used worldwide with all kinds of exercises, both aerobic and anaerobic.

This method enables us to concentrate a big volume of exercise in a relatively short time period, which is exactly what we are looking for in Life Warrior, so we will be proposing it to you very frequently.

We can combine exercises in endless ways:

  1. Just one exercise during the 8 intervals

This would be the most similar to the original protocol, especially if you choose an aerobic exercise. You can also choose an anaerobic exercise, but in this case you should choose an exercise of which you can perform a very high number of consecutive reps… 8 intervals can be really really long!! 🙂

Good options for one exercise:

Easy: Jumping Jacks, Bodyweight Squats, Inchworm push ups

Medium: Burpees, Jump Squats

Hard: Push ups, pull ups, back squats

2. Two Exercises

This is a very good way to keep a high level of intensity, since it will take longer until we wear out. In this case we can choose between different variations:

  • Two antagonist (non competing) exercises: row + press, squat + deadlift, biceps curl + triceps extension, etc. With this kind of combinations we manage to delay exhaustion substantially, since the contraction of one muscle implies the relaxation of the antagonist, so while I am working with one muscle group, I am relaxing the other one.
  • One upper body and one lower body exercises: Squats + Shoulder Press, Lunges + Push Ups, etc. With this kind of combinations, especially if we choose compound (multi-joint) exercises, we are abe to add some aerobic benefit, which is called PHA (Peripheral Heart Action). With your upper body set, your heart will pump blood into the muscle groups you are using, to cope with the muscle needs. When you switch to lower body exercises, your heart will need an extra effort to achieve the same pump in your lower body, and then again subsequently to the upper body…
  • One unilateral exercise where you switch sides (single leg squat, single arm kettlebell thruster, split squats, lunges…)

3. Four Exercises

With this formula we can choose between doing two rounds of four exercises (1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4) or, if we want to increase the intensity, do two consecutive rounds of the same exercise and then move to the next one (1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4). With four different exercises we can achieve a very complete training and reduce fatigue. It would also work really well with PHA training (rounds 1-3-5-7 upper body, rounds 2-4-6-8 lower body)

4. Eight Exercises

This is the option that can achieve the most assorted, comprehensive and less tiring workout. It works very well especially in those workouts that we will perform towards the end of the week, where the tank starts to be closer to empty…

There you go one example of this variation: 1.Bodyweight Squats 2.Push Ups 3.See Saw Lunges (right leg) 4.See Saw Lunges (left leg) 5.Burpees 6.Reverse Crunches 7.Plack Holds 8.Mountain Climbers

Music is a great tool to increase motivation and make your training more appealing. When we are going to use Tabata Intervals, we have exactly what you need: a ton of songs adapted to these timings with indications of where to start and when to stop. Of course, the name of this playlist is Tabata Songs, and you can find them both in Spotify and in YouTube.

Another option, of course, is playing your own music (or not play any music at all) and using an interval timer. You can find many of them in the Internet and in both app stores (Google play or Apple Store), although in the Apple Store free versions are a bit harder to find.

Here you have a couple of options you can use in your computer:

Was this article interesting for you? Are you going to give it a go to this kind of trainings? Let us know in the comments, or even better, share it!! 😉


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