Tabata workouts for weight loss: exercises, protocol, timer

Tabata (or Tabata protocol) is a type of short, but very intense sports training. It was developed in Japan by Dr. Izumi Tabata.

The training is built on the principle of interval training, which is based on the periodic repetition of intervals with a very high and low degree of load. This alternation increases endurance, perfectly trains both muscles and the cardiovascular system.

A full workout takes only 15-20 minutes, so it is ideal for those who, due to being busy, cannot devote a large amount of time to training. You can do it in any convenient place – at home, in the park, at the stadium, in the gym.

Compared to existing types of training, the Tabata protocol has a number of undeniable advantages:

  • takes little time;
  • gives a quick effect in losing weight;
  • does not require special sports equipment or equipment;
  • trains both muscles and the cardiovascular system;
  • allows you to practice in any convenient place;
  • suitable for both beginners and experienced athletes;
  • does not allow the body to adapt to the load, which ensures constant progress.

Who can use the Tabata protocol

Tabata is a workout that does not require special training. It is great for both beginners and experienced athletes. Beginners should start with easier exercises. Over time, when the physical form improves, it will be possible to complicate the training by adding the use of sports equipment to the exercises: dumbbells and weights.

However, like any type of physical activity, Tabata has a number of contraindications. Without consulting the attending physician, people should not engage in this type of training:

  • with diseases of the cardiovascular system;
  • with diseases of the joints;
  • with obesity II and above degree;
  • during the recovery period of the body after illness or surgery.

Inventory and equipment for training

In order to start classes according to the Tabata protocol, you will need quite a bit:

  • interval timer;
  • training shoes;
  • gym mat.


The timer is an essential tool for Tabata training. With the help of a sound signal, it notifies you of the beginning or end of the cycle, as well as the onset and end of the time for training or rest. You should not replace it with a stopwatch, because to track time you will have to constantly be distracted by the second hand, which will inevitably reduce the intensity of the workout. The timer allows you to focus entirely on the technique of the exercise being performed.

You can buy a timer at any sporting goods store. Alternatively, you can use an online interval timer, the settings of which allow you to pre-set the number of exercises and their duration.

Sneakers are also required for classes. The Tabata protocol has many exercises based on jumping and running. Properly selected sports shoes minimize the risk of injury and protect the joints. Barefoot is not recommended.

A rug, strictly speaking, is not a necessary element for classes. But when doing exercises while sitting or lying down, it is still better to use it both for reasons of hygiene and for convenience.

Tabata Workout Exercises

For the best result, the exercises selected for classes must meet the following requirements:

  • include several muscle groups at the same time;
  • have a simple technique of execution, which will reduce the risk of injury;
  • ensure the work of muscles in an oxygen-free (anaerobic) mode;

The following types of exercises meet these requirements to the greatest extent:

  • push ups;
  • squats;
  • lunges;
  • jumping;
  • twisting;
  • pull-ups;
  • burpee (an exercise that combines jumping and push-ups).


These exercises can be complicated or simplified in accordance with physical fitness. So, push-ups can be with different hands, relying on socks or on your knees. In addition, there are various ways of squats, pull-ups, lunges, jumps.

The main thing is to always follow the correct technique for performing exercises, on which its effectiveness and safety depend.

Building a training

The workout consists of cycles of 4 minutes. Each cycle is divided into 8 periods, consisting of a sprint phase (performing the exercise as fast as possible) and rest, as follows:

  1. Sprint – 20 seconds.
  2. Rest – 10 seconds.

In other words, during the 4-minute cycle, there is an alternation of the sprint and rest phases in a row, without interruptions.

During the cycle, work with one exercise is in progress. At the sprint stage, the exercise is performed as intensively as the body allows. Then comes the 10-second rest phase. At this time, the muscles can relax slightly without losing the level of intensity.

At the end of the first 4-minute cycle, you can proceed to the second. It will be working on another exercise. In total, such cycles can be from one (for beginners) to five or six per workout.

If we take 3 sessions per week as an example, then the workout will look like this:

  • warm-up – 3-5 minutes;
  • 1st cycle (lunges) – 4 minutes;
  • 2nd cycle (push-ups) – 4 minutes;
  • 3rd cycle (jumping from a semi-squat) – 4 minutes;
  • stretching – 3-5 minutes.

The frequency of training depends on the general physical form and sports experience of the student. On average, it ranges from 2 to 4 sessions per week.

Before starting a workout, it is necessary to prepare the body for work with the help of a joint warm-up. It is a circular smooth rotation in all joints. You should start from the upper body, doing 4-6 rotations in each direction. At the end of the joint warm-up, you can run in place or low jumps for 1-2 minutes, which will prepare the cardiovascular system for training.

Each workout should end with a stretch, lasting 3-5 minutes. It helps muscles recover faster and get a beautiful shape. When stretching, special attention should be paid to those muscles that were involved in the workout.


Progress Tracking

Tabata training is also good because it allows you to accurately track progress in classes. To do this, you need to fix the number of repetitions of the exercise in each 20-second phase of the sprint. For example, in the first cycle, push-ups were done with the following number of repetitions: 9 * 8 * 7 * 6 * 6 * 5 * 5 * 4. The sum of these repetitions is the number of points scored for the entire cycle. And the last figure shows the level of personal progress. An increase in these indicators indicates an increase in physical fitness.

In order for the classes to be regular, you should think over and draw up a training schedule in advance ….

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