You’ve heard a lot of talk about Tabata recently. Whether it’s at the gym, in line at a café, or just walking down the street, everyone seems to be praising Tabata these days. So what is Tabata? While it may sound like a new dance craze or some exotic vegetable, it’s actually a Japanese exercise regimen that has taken the American fitness community by storm.
More specifically, Tabata, or “The Tabata Protocol” as it’s formally called, is a version of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that wins over devotees for its effectiveness and its simplicity.Created by Irisawa Koichi, the then head coach of the Japanese Speed Skating Team, the Tabata protocol works like this: After a 5-minute warm-up, an athlete spends 20 seconds exercising at the peak of their ability, and then rests for 10 seconds, repeating this series for a total of 8 intervals followed by a 2-minute cool-down. During the 20 second interval burst, you work your aerobic system to its edge, activating your anaerobic system so that your body continues to burn fat, even while at rest. The result is in an extremely effective workout in just four minutes.