tumblr_n4tm7qW2rV1stqhhdo1_500

Tabata Training: The Complete Guide from Intensity to Insanity

Tabata Interval Training is an interval scheme developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata, which consists of performing 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Tabata training can be an amazing method of improving ones level of athletic conditioning, and dropping fat. There are also some who’ve reported increases in lean muscle mass. This is possible due to the amount of Lactic Acid being released into the blood stream, although I would not suggest making Tabata training the core of your mass gain program.

Tabata will Get you Tired

Due to the brutal nature of Tabata training, it is best start off slow, then build up. I would start off with performing bodyweight Tabata workouts, once per week. I’ve designed a very simple, 10-week training program to help you get used to basic Tabata training:

Choose 3-4 compound exercises. Suggested exercises are pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats.

  • Week One – Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 60 seconds rest
  • Week Two – Perform 4 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 60 seconds rest
  • Week Three – Perform 4 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 45 seconds rest
  • Week Four – Perform 5 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 45 seconds rest
  • Week Five – Perform 5 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
  • Week Six – Perform 6 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
  • Week Seven – Perform 6 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
  • Week Eight – Perform 7 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
  • Week Nine – Perform 7 sets of each exercise with 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest
  • Week Ten – Perform 8 sets of each exercise with 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest

Tabata Training Splits

After the initial 10 weeks of training, your body should be used to the intensity level of Tabata training. Here are a few sample training splits you can use with Tabata training:

3 Days per Week Training

  • Day One: Upper Body
  • Day Two: Tabata
  • DayThree: Lower Body

4 Days per Week Training

  • Day One: Upper Body
  • Day Two: Tabata
  • Day Three: Lower Body
  • Day Four: Tabata

5 Days per Week Training

  • Day One: Upper Body Push
  • Day Two: Tabata
  • Day Three: Upper Body Pull
  • Day Four: Tabata
  • Day Five: Lower Body

Tabata with Weights

You do not have to use exclusively bodyweight exercises for Tabata training. Here are some basic rules to follow when using tabata training with weights:

  • Use Compound exercises such as Overhead Presses and Flat Bench Press.
  • Dumbbells and Kettlebells work best as opposed to Barbells.
  • Avoid machine and isolation exercises.

Creating your Own Tabata Workouts

Success with Tabata intervals is to consistently consistently use more challenging movements. I would personally stick to bodyweight training for Tabata before experimenting with other exercises. However, I have identified 9 dumbbell exercises that work great with Tabata training:

  • Dumbbell Thruster
  • Dumbbell Snatch
  • Dumbbell Clean and Press
  • Dumbbell Lunge
  • Dumbbell Squat
  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Overhead Squat
  • Dumbbell Push Jerk
  • Dumbbell Renegade Rows

I hope this basic tutorial proved helpful in starting out with Tabata training.


Want a Free, High Intensity Workout? Click here to learn how to get your own free Dumbbell Interval workouts.