Improve Cardio Fitness with TABATA

Posted on 25 July 2011

This is a guest post by RaceTwitch ProTeam member Kata Gémes

Tabata protocol is an effective, evidenced based aerobic workout to improve cardio fitness. The scientist, Izumi Tabata compared the effect of two training protocols on cycle ergometer. One was a moderate, constant intensity endurance protocol, the other was a high intensity interval training which contained 7-8 sets of 20s high intensity (170% VO2) exercises 10s rest between them. They found that the high intensity interval training improved both aerobic and anaerobic capacity while the moderate intensity aerobic protocol improved only the aerobic capacity of the athletes.

This 7-8 sets of 20s very high intensity endurance training with 10s rest between each bouts became known as the Tabata protocol.

Tabata protocols is not only used for cycling but several other type of aerobic exercises like running, swimming, skiing etc.

Tabata-like training can even contain some strengthening exercises which can elevate heart rate for the 85-95% of maximum heart rate.

For Your safety, use Tabata method only if you have some basic endurance ability and have no cardiological problems!

Tabata is not a method for beginners! It is recommended to use the original Tabata protocol, which contains only endurance activity. If you combine some strengthening exercises you should prefer body weight exercises like plymoterics instead of weight exercises!

Here is an example of Tabata protocol for runners:

  • 5-10 minutes easy warm up
  • 20 minutes maximum speed!! running, 10 minutes very easy jogging, walking or standing, which can let your heart rate decrease fast
  • A few minutes cool down and/or stretching.

One of the biggest advantage of this protocol is that it takes just a few minutes, you can do a full endurance training in 30 minutes! However, it makes great demands on the body and should be used a maximum of 3 times a week with a rest or low-moderate -endurance training at the following day!!


Leave a Reply