Review: Tabata Pro
Tabata’s are an efficient and fun way to get a great workout.
What’s a Tabata?
A popular regimen based on a 1996 study uses 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles).
Why bother with them?
Studies by Tabata, Tremblay and others have explored the effectiveness of this method compared to traditional endurance training methods. A study by Gibala et al. demonstrated 2.5 hours of sprint interval training produced similar biochemical muscle changes to 10.5 hours of endurance training and similar endurance performance benefits.
According to a study by King, HIIT increases theresting metabolic rate (RMR) for the following 24 hours due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and may improve maximal oxygen consumption more effectively than doing only traditional, long aerobic workouts.
Long aerobic workouts have been promoted as the best method to reduce fat, as fatty acid utilization usually occurs after at least 30 minutes of training. HIIT is somewhat counterintuitive in this regard, but has nonetheless been shown to burn fat more effectively. There may be a number of factors that contribute to this, including an increase in RMR, and possibly other physiological effects.
So essentially, you work your butt off for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10. Doing this 8 times is considered 1 Tabata. The work periods can consist of one exercise, or you can rotate through more than 1. For example, you could switch between pushups and kettlebell swings.
Since you’re working so hard during a Tabata, really giving it everything you’ve got, the last thing you want to do is worry about the times. That’s why a good Tabata timer comes in so handy. You can purchase a stand-alone timer, if you like, for around $20.
Or, if you have an iPhone (or any other phone that runs apps), there are several apps that can do the job (ranging from Free to about 3 bucks). I use Tabata Pro.
- Simplicity – very easy to use and configure
- Visible and audible ‘work’ and ‘rest’ cues
- Can be configured to play music & playlists while in use
- Inexpensive ($2.99)
You can see a video review of Tabata Pro, here.
UPDATE 12/28/2012 — This is one app that I’ve kept on my phone for years now. It’s great to have when traveling, too.