Group of adults participating in a fitness class.

Tabata Training

A recent study shows that three rounds of 20-second, high-intensity activity interspersed with two minutes of low-intensity activity three times a week may provide the same cardiovascular and insulin-sensitivity benefits as traditional moderate-intensity endurance training. This means that for just three minutes of high-intensity activity a week, you can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity.


Cardiorespiratory fitness is an important element of optimal health and can decrease the risk of many chronic diseases. Improved insulin sensitivity means that the body is more efficient at using insulin to metabolize glucose. Individuals who are overweight or who struggle with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes can especially benefit from incorporating high-intensity interval training into their weekly routines.


Because of the short time it requires to see these benefits, this study easily dismisses the claim “I have no time to exercise,” and provides evidence that short, high-intensity workouts can reap the same rewards as moderate-intensity workouts that are five times longer.


The History of Tabata

Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes. The first group trained at a moderate intensity level while the second group trained at a high-intensity level. The moderate intensity group worked out five days a week for a total of six weeks; each workout lasted one hour. The high-intensity group worked out four days a week for six weeks; each workout lasted four minutes and 20 seconds (with 10 seconds of rest in between each set).

The results; Group 1 had increased their aerobic system (cardiovascular), but showed little or no results for their anaerobic system (muscle). Group 2 showed much more increase in their aerobic system than Group 1, and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.

In conclusion, high-intensity interval training has more impact on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.


Consult your physician or other health-care professional before starting any exercise program.

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