Our tabata protocol for dummies guide is designed to take the mystery out of the term "tabata." The word is thrown around a lot, and oftentimes when people say they are doing it, they are gravely mistaken. It drives me absolutely nuts when fitness clubs of all places advertise tabata protocol classes that are an hour long. Read on and you'll understand why that has to be 100% false.
We all know the benefits of cardio workouts, but some days doing a workout for 20 plus minutes just isn't in the cards. If you are strapped for time, and are in decent shape, a tabata protocol is for you!
Warning: This workout is not suited to beginner exercisers or those with certain medical conditions.*
Tabata Protocol is actually pretty simple! This workout is best performed on a stationary bike. If you must use an elliptical trainer, an outdoor bike, or running outside, you can try the tabata protocol but you will lose some of the benefits of a true tabata workout. This is because it's impossible to generate the same intensity in just 20 seconds on these other modalities than you could on a stationary bike.
Step 1: Warmup for 5-10 minutes at an easy pace.
Step 2: Perform 8 20-second sprints with 10 seconds of active rest in between each one.
What is a sprint? You go with the combination of as high of a resistance as you can with as fast of a speed (RPM) as you can!
What is active recovery? You go as slow and as low resistance as you can without stopping altogether!
For example: Sprint at minute 5:00 (assuming a 5 minute warmup).
Go slow from 5:20-5:30
Go slow from 5:50-6:00
Continue until the 9:00 minute mark.
Step 3: Cool down by moving slower for 3-5 minutes.
*If you are over age 50 and have not been cleared by a physician, do not attempt the Tabata Protocol. Also avoid Tabata if you have a heart condition. If you are unsure it's best to avoid Tabata.
Next time you see an hour-long fitness class advertising that it's Tabata Protocol, realize that, by definition, it can't be! Many classes will have you do a move for 20 seconds on with 10 seconds rest for 8 sets and call it Tabata. Then you will repeat that same thing with another move.
The goal of tabata is that, by the 4 minutes, you're spent. If you have time to repeat more and more sets of 4 minutes of exercises, you haven't done Tabata by the book. The more you know!
I hope this Tabata Protocol for Dummies workout was helpful! If you liked this article and would like more content from Trainer Gina Paulhus, check out her other Fitness Articles here.