Tabata Intervals – My First Encounter

tabata intervalsI’ve done high intensity interval training (HIIT) before, but Wednesday was the first day I tried Tabata intervals.

I just want to say I understand why they are so effective – the experience was pretty intensive! 🙂


Tabata intervals are named after the Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata who first used the protocol. In the Tabata protocol,  you first exercise for 20 seconds at high intensity level (8/9 out of 10), followed by 10 seconds of low intensity exercise (4/10). This cycle is repeated 8 times without rest, so that the whole workout takes only 4 minutes.

The chosen exercise can be almost anything: running, jump roping, jumping jacks, burpees but also laying down cycles or donkey kicks will do.

High intensity interval training is the most effective way to improve aerobic (and anaerobic) fitness, and it’s presumably the most effective way to burn body fat.


Tabata intervals were actually supposed to be part of my current workout, but I’ve just left it out until now. I guess I was reluctant to try them, because of their reputation. But after I finally figured out how to program my Gymboss timer, I decided it’s time to give it a try.

I did laying down bicycles in my first Tabata session. After I programmed my intervals, I plopped down on my yoga mat and started cycling as hard as I could. I could only do a couple of cycles before I had to slow down – and soon I had to admit defeat and take short breaks. I did finish the 4 minutes, despite the short breaks.

My core muscles were so spent I was afraid I couldn’t get up from my yoga mat (I did, but let’s just say I was very aware of my core musculature for a while). On Friday I was still so sore I decided to skip the workout I had planned and only train for the push ups (I’ve progressed from wall push ups to incline push ups).

Now I’m okay and ready to tackle my second Tabata session tomorrow (donkey kicks – ouch!). Thank god it only lasts for four minutes! 🙂

Warning: Doing laying down bicycles in the tabata protocol is an efficient way to get rid of extra intestinal gas. 🙂

P.S. Have you ever tried tabata intervals?


  1. Aimee says:

    I haven’t tried the Tabata intervals yet, but I’ve been hearing about them enough lately to make me curious. I’m going to add this into one of my workouts this week. In fact I just saw a video demonstration here at and there is a link to a Tabata timer in the post.

    Thanks for the tip on the bicycles! LOL!!

  2. Satu says:

    Good tip, Aimee! I didn’t know there are online tabata timers. I liked the moves in the video too – especially the beginner burpess. 🙂

  3. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! I checked out the laying down bicycles–they do look hard if done for a while. My abdominal muscles could use more workout. These could probably be done during t.v. commercials, so there is probably no excuse, except that I really hate ab exercises!! I probably should do more of them.

    🙂 Marion

    • Satu says:

      I hate all kinds of crunches, but those bicycles were just tolerable. If I do them again, I’m going to combine laying down bicycles with some other exercise.

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