Does your workout feel tired and boring? Try Tabata to mix things up!

Tabata is a training technique that uses high intensity training with minimal rest periods in a four minute duration. But let me assure you: it will be the longest four minutes you ever spent!

If you haven't heard of this, the name comes from Izumi Tabata. Professor Tabata worked for the Japanese speed skater Olympic team and analyzed the data from having the athletes do short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by even shorter rest periods and found amazing results.

Basically you do 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest and then repeat this cycle 8 times for a total of four minutes.

One of the best findings from his research is that by doing this training technique you actually are increasing your resting metabolic rate (RMR) for the following 24 hours due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It improves your aerobic and anaerobic levels. In a nutshell you get more out of High Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT) for 4 minutes than you do using traditional aerobic exercises because it burns fat more effectively.


  • Great if you don't have a lot of time. (Come on - who doesn't have FOUR MINUTES?)
  • Improves your fitness performance because it teaches your body to better process oxygen.
  • It's challenging.

You can do Tabata for any exercise, strength training or cardio. Personally, I like to do this with single arm dumbbell swings. Here’s how you do the exercise:


    • Grab a dumbbell with an overhand grip on the handle and hold it in front of your waist at arm’s length.
    • Squat down
    • Swing the dumbbell between your legs.
    • Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, stand up and swing the dumbbell up to chest level.

A fit woman performing a dumbbell swing in a squat position

  • Squat down and repeat the movement until you finished the prescribed repetitions.
  • Repeat on other arm when completed.

Remember, the fastest way to see results is to cause muscle confusion. So get out of your fitness rut and try new techniques.