Tabata: What It Is & Why You Should Care

February 26, 2018

My clients do a lot of tabata work. My cycling classes do a lot of tabata drills.  My own workouts consist of a lot of tabata circuits.  Why?  Because the main pillar of Fit By Gab is time-saving, and tabata does just that.


Tabata is a type of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training that consists of a 2:1 work/rest ratio.  In other words, during tabata, you work as hard and as fast as you can, then rest for half the time that you work.  For example, if you're doing jump squats for 20 second intervals, you're only resting for 10 seconds between each set.


What makes this type of workout most challenging is the "false rest" effect, or the way in which you make your body believe that it's done working, only to have it start up again.  Half time rest is not enough to provide your body a full recovery, so your heart rate is dipping down, but never back to resting rate.  It's for this reason that four rounds of 20/10 tabata jump squats is significantly harder than steady state jump squats for 80 seconds.  Don't believe me?  Try it.


Tabata isn't just for cardio, either.  Instead of counting reps, trying doing tabata drills with weight lifting, like 20/10 tabata bicep curls or deadlifts.  Choose a heavy weight and try to do as many reps as possible in the 20 seconds.  You'll be drenched in sweat before the set is over!


HIIT workouts like tabata torch calories in very little time, so they're perfect for my quick but intense 30-minute sessions.  

Want to experience it for yourself? Try this quick tabata workout at home!



Perform four rounds of each exercise before moving on.


Spiderman mountain climbers - 20/10 x4


Lay down burpees - 20/10 x4


Wall ball - 20/10 x4


Kettlebell swing - 20/10 x4


Medicine ball sit up & toss - 20/10 x4



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