What Is Tabata Training?

Tabata training is a type of interval training that guarantees fat reduction, an improved cardiovascular system plus muscle building and definition – all combined in a single workout.

It is interval training because several training sets are rapidly executed one after the other. Each training set consists of a time interval of just 20 seconds. Each training set is broken up by a 10 second interval to give the body and training weight a chance to rest. A total of eight training sets, including the short breaks, are executed and together they make up the entire training interval for a muscle group.

Only one exercise is performed per muscle group and only one such training interval is executed. The entire training interval lasts four minutes. The whole session is structured so that it resembles a full body workout. The entire body is trained on one training day, with one exercise and just one four-minute training interval per muscle group.

The advantages of Tabata training are: a sufficient stimulus is exerted on the muscles, triggering muscle growth and simultaneously training the cardiovascular system.

With a load duration of 20 seconds per training set, muscle tension is in the hypertrophy range. This is the range in which muscles receive the appropriate stimulus for muscle growth. The hypertrophy range requires 20–50 seconds of muscular tension. The series of eight training sets with only short breaks in-between causes a permanently raised heart rate during the training period. This positively effects fat-burning and the cardiovascular system.

How to do it:

Select a training weight to exercise with that you can usually manage 15 repetitions with. This is your training weight for the whole eight training sets, i.e. for the entire training interval per exercise. The training weight remains the same for all eight training sets.

Do about eight repetitions roughly corresponding to 20 secs or use an interval trainer (app) on your mobile phone. There is a Tabata Timer in the store. The first 2–3 training sets feel fairly easy. From the fourth training set it should be considerably more difficult to do the eight repetitions or last the 20 seconds.

Once you have finished the complete training interval, move on to the next muscle group using a new exercise. Take a 2–3 minute break between the exercises.

Training interval:

Eight training sets of 20 seconds duration, or eight reps (repetitions), with 10 seconds break between each one. Only execute one training interval per muscle group.


Take a 2–3 minutes break following a training interval when moving from one exercise to the next.


Only execute one exercise per muscle group.

Training sessions:

Execute three training sessions per week. See below for an example of a training plan. Be creative and after a while swap the exercises for new ones.

To download an example workout, click on example Tabata workout below!

Example Tabata Workout

Author: Multipower training and nutrition expert Stefan Riemenschneider.