Tabata: The 4-Minute Fat Burning Method

Tabata: The 4-Minute Fat Burning Method

Tabata is all about short, high-intensity workouts that will help you get fitter, burn fat and even improve your performance.

If I told you that there was a method capable of amplifying fat loss, and in just a few minutes, would you believe it?

Please pay attention to the following article!



  1. KB Curtsy Lunge.
  2. Spiderman Mountain Climbers.
  3. KB Swings Hand-to-Hand.
  4. Tuck Sit Ups.
  5. KB Curtsy Lunge.
  6. Spiderman Mountain Climbers.
  7. KB Swings Hand-to-Hand.
  8. Tuck Sit Ups.

What is Tabata?

It is a training system, characterised by very short routines but at maximum intensity, where exercise times are interspersed with pauses, thus remaining:

8 intervals of 20 seconds effective work by 10 seconds of absolute rest.

It was created in Japan by Professor Izumi Tabata, who after his research, proved that:

“…The same results can be obtained by comparing moderate intensity training (70% of VO2MAX) continuously for 60 minutes with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)…”

HIIT should be close to 170% VO2 MAX. If you want to find out more about what this parameter means, we recommend you visit this link.

What are the benefits of Tabata?

Reduce Training Time

But this does not mean by any means that the result is less.

Sometimes, time should be used, rather than lengthening a training session.

Tabata Dumbbell Stride

Intensity is the conditioning factor in this tabata workout!

A Tabata session lasting 4 minutes can generate the same stimulus as a session of a lower intensity, but lasting 10 times longer!

Reusing Lactate

It allows you to train the quality of reusing the lactate generated by the intensity applied (glycolysis), so that this substance can be used as fuel for other muscles in the body.

A greater number of enzymes specialised in the reconversions of lactate to pyruvate and vice versa are created, promoting the faster clearance of lactate from the muscles, passing through the bloodstream, and deposited in other energy-requiring muscles.

🔥Lactate will be the “culprit” of that burning sensation experienced in these interminable 4 minutes.🔥. If you want to find out more about the effects on the body do click here.

Improving Insulin Sensitivity

That is, greater uptake of glucose by muscle tissue, preventing accumulation in the form of fat.

This is because the highly anabolic hormone insulin is responsible for introducing into the cell the material available in the bloodstream (amino acids, glucose, fatty acids, …).

If we have a trained body, this capacity will be increased, we’ll be less resistant to insulin, avoiding the effects of accumulation in the fat cells.

Increase Anaerobic Threshold

It will basically help us in being able to sustain effort for a longer time for a given high intensity.

This is where the increase in VO2 Max, a magnitude that aims to measure the amount of oxygen a person consumes when exercising, comes in.

Tabata benefits

If the VO2 Max is high, it means that the person is able to last longer at a high intensity.

Post Combustion Effect

Once the training session is over, everything returns to basal levels.

But obviously the system has undergone a trauma (not drama): a series of changes have occurred at the metabolic level involving subsequent adaptations.

The main effect observed is the oxygen debt must be restored. In what sense? Well, the oxygen is needed for the lactate to be metabolised, to restore ATP, phosphocreatine, glycogen…

  • For low-intensity exercise: the oxygen debt can be replenished within 30 seconds of stopping, and fully recovered within a few minutes.
  • For high intensity: such recovery can take up to 24 hours or more, depending on the duration and intensity of the exercise.

Cardiovascular Improvement

And when I mean improvement, I mean a healthier, better trained, stronger heart.

This will, unless we genetically have a myocardial-related condition, be a fortifying weapon to avoid heart ailments such as heart attack.

Cardiovascular improvement with tabata

On the other hand, resting heart rates will drop noticeably, a sign of a trained and efficient system.

Most common exercises

There is little point in using very heavy external weights, such as barbells or dumbbells;

It is preferable to use a moderate weight that will allow us to perform the exercise with correct technique, but that will gradually fatigue us as the repetitions progress.

  • We can use other elements, which often appear in circuits and functional training routines, including: kettlebells, Bulgarian bags, suspension training (TRX), battle ropes, dumbbells….
  • Selecting an aerobic activity and maximising the intensity of each interval is also an excellent option: sprinting, rowing, stationary cycling….

Tabata Routine

Here are the following routines corresponding to a tabata workout:



  1. Jumping Jacks.
  2. KB Figure 8 to Hold & Squat.
  3. Lateral Shuttle Run (from 0 to 3mts to 0).
  4. KB Traveling Push Up.
  5. Jumping Jacks.
  6. KB Figure 8 to Hold & Squat.
  7. Lateral Shuttle Run (from 0 to 3mts to 0).
  8. KB Travelling Push Up.



  1. V Ups (alternating).
  2. Side kick.
  3. Side-to-side press-ups.
  4. Burpee to pull-up.
  5. V Ups (alternating).
  6. Side kick.
  7. Side-to-side press-ups.
  8. Burpee to pull-up.



  1. Push Press (alternating) with KB/Dumbbells.
  2. Renegade Row with KB/Dumbbells.
  3. Snatch with KB/Dumbbell.
  4. Loads with KB/Dumbbells.
  5. Push Press (alternating) with KB/Dumbbell.
  6. Renegade Row with KB/Dumbbells.
  7. Snatch with KB/Dumbbell.
  8. Loads with KB/Dumbbells.



  1. Jump with Lunge
  2. Superman Hands Freeing Press-Ups
  3. Walkout (Worm Walkout)
  4. Elbow-Hand Plank
  5. Jump with Lunge
  6. Superman Hands Freeing Press-Ups
  7. Walkout (Worm Walkout)
  8. Elbow-Hand Plank



  1. Floor Press with Gluteal Bridge with Dumbbells / KBs
  2. Cossack Squat with Dumbbells / KBs
  3. Alternating Row with Dumbbells / KBs
  4. Unilateral Dumbbell Thruster / KBs
  5. Floor Press with Gluteal Bridge with Dumbbells / KBs
  6. Cossack Squat with Dumbbells / KBs
  7. Alternating Row with Dumbbells / KBs
  8. Unilateral Dumbbell / KBs Thruster



  1. Squat to Press with rotation with KB
  2. Scissors with KB
  3. Squat to Bicep Curl with KB
  4. Knees to Stand-up with KB
  5. Squat to Press with Rotation with KB
  6. Scissors with KB
  7. Squat to Biceps Curl with KB
  8. Knees to Stand-up with KB

Can I do a Tabata routine at home?

Of course you can!

For most of the exercises in the Tabata workout you only need your own body weight + a stopwatch (tabata timer).

Ah, and don’t forget: your music!

Tabata at home

Choose your tabata music and there’s only one thing you need to be aware of: perform the exercise as intensely as possible!

But if we want to add an extra point, there are a series of songs that mix intense rhythms during the 20″ of Tabata effort with a slower rhythm during the 10″ of rest: they are the Tabata Songs.

Tips for beginners

Tabata is a fairly strenuous activity and, as with HIIT, you need to have a good cardiovascular system if you want to get the most out of it.

Otherwise, it may not be the right activity for us…

But in general terms, if we do a Tabata in conditions the fat loss will be considerable, even if we don’t use up a lot of calories during the session.

Let’s not forget that: we’ll lose fat, as long as the rest of the factors are in line, especially calorie control.

Importance of the Warm-Up

The duration of the warm-up is inversely proportional to the duration and intensity of the activity that follows.

How do I know I’m doing it right?

To get the maximum benefit from the Tabata method, you need to apply maximum intensity to each effective work interval.

With these we get a very powerful workout lasting only 4 minutes.

Tabata exercises

There is no point in simply completing each set if we do not apply a sufficiently powerful stimulus.

In general, to give you an idea of the effort you have to put into your training, when you reach the 4th or 5th interval, fatigue can be very high…

When to practise Tabata?

We can plan a Tabata as a “finisher”, at the end of our usual training or weight routine.

On the other hand, on non-training days, or even after performing a LISS exercise (Low Intensity Cardio). This type of training method should not be overestimated, as even the most experienced user may be in for a “surprise”.

Example: walk for 1 hour and, after that, perform a Tabata of Burpees!


  1. Talisa Emberts, John Porcari, Scott Dobers-tein, Jeff Steffen, and Carl Foster (2013). Exercise Intensity and Energy Expenditure of a Tabata Workout.
  2. J LaForgia, R T Withers, C J Gore (2006). Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Related Entries

  • Is HIIT the same as Tabata? Find out here.
  • If you want to learn more about what the Combustion Effect is, I recommend you visit this link.
Review of Tabata Method

Effective for Fat Loss - 100%

Physically demanding - 100%

Improved Performance (VO2 Max) - 100%

Fun and enjoyable - 100%


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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
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