Tabata – The 4 Minute Challenge

Why All the Focus on 4 Minute Exercise Routines?

Have you noticed there seems to be a lot of videos and articles all claiming you only need a 4 minute routine to produce fabulous results?

They are usually basing this claim on something called the Tabata Protocol.

Read on to discover what Dr. Izumi Tabata, Japanese Olympic speed skaters, and 4 minutes have to do with one another.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been having a “moment” for the last few years. Chalk it up to the fact that the workouts have been found to be as effective as longer routines, decrease your appetite, and increase your afterburn (which is basically the hat trick of the fitness world).

But lately, practically everywhere you get your sweat on, from barre to boot camp, instructors are throwing around one particular term related to HIIT: Tabata. As in, “Have a sip of water now, we’re going to do Tabata sprints.”

So while you might suspect something intense is about to happen, it might help to clarify just what Tabata really means.

Tabata is much more specific version of a HIIT workout (it’s like the vegan child in a family of vegetarians). The method is based on serious scientific research. In the mid ’90s, Izumi Tabata, a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, led a study proving that exactly four minutes of really intense intervals is just as effective as hours of lighter, more moderate training. It was dubbed the “Tabata Protocol,” or the shorter, “Tabata.”

Read Tabata program director PJ Stahl’s four things to know in order to master the Tabata method.