Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Fitness

The real benefits of Tabata training | Results and effects from the Tabata method

28 February, 2018
Tabata training

What is Tabata training?

Tabata training has been touted as the best exercise for losing weight, as a 4-minute workout routine, as an eight-minute workout routine, as a whole-body exercise program, and a great way to gain lean muscle.

Unfortunately, the majority of these claims aren’t backed up by science, and originally, Tabata training had a very specific goal.

The origins of Tabata training

The Tabata method was created in the 1990’s by a team of scientists led by the titular Izumi Tabata. Taking a group of physically active, young, male students involved in a variety of sporting teams, they split them into two groups; one performing moderate-intensity exercise, the other high-intensity exercise.

Tabata’s high-intensity group experienced the greater benefit from the two, and the significance of the results have reverberated throughout the fitness and sporting world for more than twenty years.

What was the high-intensity training?

Test subjects were placed on ‘mechanically braked cycle ergometers’ (fancy stationary cycles) and performed a ten-minute warm-up, followed by a very specific high intensity interval training (HIIT) set:

20 seconds of exercise at 170% of VO2max, 10 seconds rest, repeated 7-8 times.

Now known as the Tabata method.

What does that actually mean?

To explain how this works, we’re going to have to understand a few key terms: aerobic, anaerobic, and VO2max.

Aerobic (with oxygen): Sports or fitness activities that you’d describe as ‘cardio’ are normally aerobic exercises, meaning they’re powered by your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen to meet your energy demands.

Anaerobic (without oxygen): Lifting weights, sprinting, and exercises or sports that involve short bursts of intense activity are anaerobic exercises. Because they require more oxygen than your body can deliver, the energy needed is taken from glucose (sugar) in your muscles.

VO2max (oxygen capacity): This is the maximum amount of oxygen you can use during intense exercise – the higher your VO2max, the higher your body’s capability to produce the energy it needs from oxygen consumption. VO2max is measured in millilitres of oxygen/per minute/per kilogram.

You’re rarely (if ever) using either aerobic or anaerobic methods of energy production and consumption; rather, your body uses the one most suited to the task at hand.

Tabata training is an exercise that hits both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. At 170% of VO2max, you’re running at your best levels of aerobic training, and pushing your anaerobic system to provide you with energy.

What can Tabata training do for you?

Tabata’s test subjects showed significantly improved results at the end of their training period:

  • VO2max increased by 7 millilitres per kilo per minute
  • Anaerobic capacity increased by 28%’

However, it didn’t show anything about weight loss, muscle gain, or anything relating to changes in physique.

The Tabata method is a supplementary training method – basically, you use it to be better at your main exercise, sport, or goal. If you want to run further, Tabata training can increase your VO2max. If you want to have more energy while lifting, Tabata training can increase your anaerobic capacity. More than that, the Tabata method forces you to push hard for a concentrated amount of time, meaning you really have to challenge yourself.

Note: If you are thinking about attempting Tabata training, we recommend you visit a GP to see if they think it’s right for you.


Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and ˙VO2max - Tabata I1Nishimura KKouzaki MHirai YOgita FMiyachi MYamamoto K

Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system - Harsh PatelHassan AlkhawamRaef MadaniehNiel ShahConstantine E Kosmas, and Timothy J Vittorio

Anaerobic Exercise: Definition, Benefits & Examples –

What Is Aerobic Exercise? - Definition, Benefits & Examples –

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic: What is The Difference? –

VO2 Max Testing – University of Virginia School of Medicine

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.
1911_CBHS Skyscraper Banner-07

Suggested Articles

  • A person checking weight Loss

    Four simple rules to lose weight

    Dieting but not losing weight? You may have been given bad advice. Try following these four simple food rules to speed up your weight loss efforts.
    • Wellbeing
    16 January 2020
  • Face mask

    Should I be worried about smoke haze?

    Australia’s bush fire crisis has devastated many towns and rural communities. Cities not directly affected have been blanketed in smoke, but how hazardous is it?
    • Wellbeing
    16 January 2020
  • Volunteer firefighters

    Support from CBHS for volunteer firefighters

    We are extending our emergency relief program – set up to help members affected by bushfires - to any members who are also volunteer firefighters.
    • Membership
    9 January 2020
  • vegetarian meals

    Veganism. Not as nutty as you might think

    We weigh up the pros and cons of going vegan and examine claims that Australia’s fastest growing food trend is not only healthier but better for the planet too.
    • Nutrition
    7 January 2020

What Our Members Think

I joined as a CBHS member in 1978. Through many health events and challenges CBHS has always been there for me and my family. Their exceptional service over this time has always been appreciated.

- Jenny J

What Our Members Think

I've not long joined CBHS from another fund, but so far I've been impressed by the super helpful and friendly staff, the higher claim limits and rebates at a very competitive premium, and how easy it is to lodge manual claims through the app. Thanks CBHS - you've won me over! 😃

- Jessica B

What Our Members Think

What I love about CBHS is their customer service - friendly staff and always ready to help and email you the information you ask about. Keep up the great work!!!

- Linda S

What Our Members Think

I love CBHS as its so so easy to lodge a claim and whenever i need a question answered friendly consultant is one phone call away. The phone back option instead of waiting is brilliant!

- Rachel N

What Our Members Think

I have been with CBHS since I began at CBA 15 years ago...Now I have three beautiful children, one who has a disability. Our top extras cover has been really essential for his early intervention. I do love the ease of claiming online.

- Annette E

What Our Members Think

I am relatively new to CBHS and am loving it already. I worked for a CBA subsidiary a long time ago but was still eligible to join. So much better that the for-profit funds - our premium is only a little more and we pay a lower co-contribution and get great benefits. I am loving the massage rebate for my partner and gym rebate for me!

- David G

What Our Members Think

I'm extremely happy with CBHS! I have been a customer for about six years. I think the price is reasonable. And i would refer you to my family and friends any day. Thank you CBHS!!!

- Karen W

What Our Members Think

Love CBHS as I never have to doubt that they've got my back when I need it. Been through other insurers who have limited options or limits, yet cost the same or more.

- Mark F