Have you ever heard of Tabata workouts? They’re a brilliant way of improving your fitness as well as keeping up with your workout routine when you’re short on time.


Japanese doctor Izumi Tabata conducted extensive research into different forms of exercise and how effective they were for the Japanese speed skating team. He published his findings in an article in 1996. These findings became known as the Tabata protocol, or Tabata workouts. Tabata workouts have been shown to be more effective at increasing both the anaerobic and aerobic systems, so a Tabata workout can be great for improving all round fitness and for weight loss. Even better, Tabata workouts last only four minutes – or eight if you’re super fit. We can all find four minutes in our day, no matter how busy we are.

Here are our top 5 tips for a great Tabata workout:

Understand what it entails

A Tabata workout is 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times to make a four-minute workout. If your base fitness level is already quite high, you can double this to the eight minutes used in Tabata’s original study

Go all out


This is not just any exercise; it needs to be something really hard, that you couldn’t continue for even a second longer. In fact, by around fifteen seconds in you should be looking at your timer to make sure it’s still counting down and hasn’t broken.

Alternate upper and lower body


Since you only get 10 seconds of rest between very high intensity sets of exercise, it makes sense to alternate between working your legs all-out, and then your arms. This way you’ll work your whole body, but also won’t find that you’re running out of steam before your four minutes ends

Research different moves


You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to do a Tabata workout. Although the original Tabata protocol was formulated on a stationary bike, you can essentially do anything that gets you to that point of working really hard. That could be star jumps, box jumps, jumping lunges… anything you can think of! Of course, if you’re tired of doing the same thing and feel uninspired, you can always search YouTube for new ideas

Use an app

When you’re busy getting out of breath, you won’t be able to follow the second hand on your watch or the stopwatch on your mobile. There are plenty of free apps out there that you can use to time your workouts; find one that works well for you and make use of it. Then all of your concentration can go into working out.

Tabata workouts are more than just a quick bit of exercise to squeeze in on a day when you don’t have much time; they are a fantastic way to build up your fitness and really push yourself. Add a couple of Tabata workouts into your weekly routine, and you’re bound to notice the improvements in your overall fitness fairly quickly. Just make sure you increase the intensity of your workouts to match your new fitness levels!