The Tabata Workout

Grassroots Gazette 

Edition 5

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Ever wonder where the word Tabata originates? Client David Manzano first thought it was a Japanese appetizer when I told him we were doing a Tabata in our workout. He then said he saw chicken skewers and sauce and it made him very hungry. Sadly, it isn't food, but the name Tabata is of Japanese origin. 

Tabata is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training created by scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata. Dr. Tabata was trying to create a program that would benefit the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating team. After much study and research, it was found that the short 20 second intervals with a rest of 10 seconds immediately following proved beneficial in the athletes performance. It improved overall anaerobic and aerobic performance.

Dr. Tabata set up two groups for his study. One group completed moderate intensity workouts for 6 weeks/5 days a week. Each workout was 1 hour long. The other group performed high-intensity workouts for 6 weeks/4 days a week. Each workout was 4 minutes long.

Group one showed an increase in aerobic performance, but no increase in anaerobic (muscle) performance. Group two showed a greater increase than group one in both aerobic and anaerobic performance.

Tabata is quick, effective and intense. You are asked to work as hard as you can with each exercise for 20 seconds followed by a 10-second rest. A traditional Tabata would include 4 exercises for 4 minutes. THAT'S IT!! 4 MINUTES to speed up your metabolism and greatly improve your overal cardiac output and endurance. 

An example program would include the following:

  • Jumping Jacks 20 Sec (10 Sec Rest)
  • Push Ups 20 Sec (10 Sec Rest)
  • Squat Jumps 20 Sec (10 Sec Rest)
  • Squat Thrusts 20 Sec (10 Sec Rest)

Repeat everything one more time to total 4 minutes! 

The best part about a Tabata is that is can be done anywhere. 

We encourage you to try the program above, but go for 8 minutes. This means you will repeat each exercise 4 times. It will be over before you know it and the benefits of your hard work will last long after the workout is finished. There are also a few apps that can easily keep your time. Simply type in Tabata in the app store for a free download.

See below for pictures of exercises and have a healthy and happy day!


Sources include:, Wikipedia

Grassroots Tabata of the Month

  • Jumping Jacks 
  • 20 Seconds on/10 Seconds off
  • Push Ups - Drop to knees to modify or do along wall
  • 20 seconds on/10 Seconds off
  • Squat Jumps
  • 20 Seconds on/10 Seconds off
  • Squat Thrusts
  • 20 Seconds on/10 Seconds off
Squat thrusts.jpg
  • Repeat the program 3 more times to equal 8 MINUTES.