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HIIT is a highly popular way of working out. You’ve probably heard by now that you don’t need to waste hours on cardio per week to achieve your fitness goals. All you need are a few minutes per week that are more effective than the hour-long, boring cardio sessions. However, Tabata is another form of interval work that’s more extreme than even HIIT.

High-Intensity Interval Training, as the name suggests all about working at a high intensity during a given interval. The goal is to get your heart rate up and then to make it go up and down. This is achieved by intervals where you’re exerting a lot of energy followed by intervals where you’re resting. A HIIT workout combines this rest and work formula and is able to produce something really powerful. Only a few minutes of HIIT per day are required to meet your weight loss goals.

Compared to steady state cardio workouts, where you’ll jog for an hour, HIIT is really good. Everyone is so busy these days with one thing or another, it’s just not feasible to take out an hour just for cardio. There’s weight training too and that also takes up time. Nobody wants to spend 2 or 3 hours in the gym per day, especially those who don’t have time. HIIT allows people to get an effective, high-calorie burning workout in a significantly less time.

HIIT is able to do this thanks to the varying heart rates. Our body is put under so much stress that it has to burn a lot of calories. Moreover, HIIT also triggers what is known as the “afterburn” effect where you burn calories even after a workout. This is done by the body during the recovery period. Enough about HIIT, what about Tabata?


Tabata is basically everything I’ve told you about HIIT but taken to the extreme. Tabata uses the same principles, it has work and rest intervals. However, these intervals are extremely small. A work interval is only 20-seconds and a rest interval is only 10-seconds. You basically alternate between exercises using the 20-10 work-rest routine and perform ‘circuits’ of such exercises.

The best thing about Tabata is that you don’t need to apply it to traditional cardio in order for it to work. You can just apply it to any weightlifting exercise or a core exercise. Due to the severe lack of rest, a Tabata routine gives, you’re getting the benefits of cardio and weightlifting at the same time, it’s amazing. However, that doesn’t mean traditional cardio doesn’t burn a lot of fat.

In fact, here’s a small 4-minute workout that uses a stationary bike. The workout follows a Tabata style routine which is sure to get you sweating fast. Adjust the resistance of the bike to a level you can handle.

  • When adjusting the resistance, make sure you can handle it. Furthermore, it should be a resistance level such that you feel you’re climbing a hill when you use the bike.
  • Make sure to warm-up. You can do so by pedaling for a few seconds lightly before the actual workout.
  • For the actual workout, pedal as fast as you can for 20 seconds.
  • Once the 20-second work interval is up, recover for 10-seconds. Don’t stop, just decrease the pace to a slow pedal.
  • Repeat this for 8 times, totaling a workout time of 4 minutes.

Although 4 minutes may not seem like much, this workout will test your limits. It’ll leave you gasping for air and sweating like never before. It just goes to show how effective Tabata is in getting a lot of work done in a very less time. You can use this routine at the end of your workout or as your main workout if you’re pressed for time. However, don’t do this every day as it is taxing on your body. Try to do Tabata-style workouts twice or thrice a week, not more.

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