T Nation

Anyone Try the Tabata Method?


Has anyone ever tried the Tabata Method? I was reading an article by Dan John and he thought that it is one of the best ways to burn fat quickly. Also, he stated that it was extremely hard. I'm just looking for some personal experiences before I try it.


I do the Tabata method about twice a month. I usually do the thrusters version. by the time i am done i usually fall down and i swear i taste blood. Don't plan on doing anything else afterwords though. one of the hardest four minutes you will ever go through.


I started to use the Tabata method with a sledgehammer last week, it's a killer!

My hockey players use the Tabata thruster once a week.


i did it with front squats once, 50% of my max for 12 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets.

i could barely walk for 6 days, and with that said i prefer simpler variations that dont fuck up my life for a week. but if your a real sadist then do it


Well, tabata with 30s rest is not Tabata at all.

(Quick note: The Tabata method is 20sek on 10sek off for 4minutes, change the parameters and you no longer can call it Tabata)

I use it when I need to drop weight fast or kick up endurance for competition fights quickly.

It will forever change what things you consider "hard" :slight_smile: (20sek only sounds short...)


I do Tabata thrusters every week. 4 minutes of pure, sadistic, bliss. And I did throw up the first two times I did them. But that wasn't a problem after you get a few sessions under your belt.



I personally began it with non-weighted exercises, then proceed to weighted exercises once I got used to it.
My personal learning path on the Tabata method is as follow:

Cross-trainer machine (2x/wk for 4wks)

Track running - 20secs full effort, 10secs walk (2xwk for 3wks)

KB Swing / KB front squat (1xwk each for 3wks)

Hope it helps,

Geek boy


Tabata 95-pound front squats mess you up.


I do double kettlebell cleans with the 53lb poods. Unfortunately, I don't have the $$ to move up to the next weights, not that I'd want to... they're already killer!

I think its great for core / stability work too.


i do Tabata every other month or so, depending on what point in my program i'm working in. i prefer doing the thruster because it incorporates some upper body work versus front squats. the only things i would recommend are:

  1. have someone time you and record the number of reps you do (you won't remember)
  2. keep a cold bottle of water handy
  3. try with very light weights to begin with. by the 3rd minute, they'll feel very heavy.

good luck


Good call Tri, that's what I intend to do next time around. It is easy for me as I use KettleGrip.

Geek boy


I do tabata body weight squats from time to time. I do the "get the most reps possible" pacing method. So last time I did 20 each of the 8 sets.


I recommend the "Bottom to Bottom Tabatas" on free/bodyweight squats. Start in the down position and rest in the down position. It will cut reps off your number (14 is a nice "standard" as the lowest of the 8 sets), but you will learn stuff about your legs and squat method that you will never forget...


Just when I thought I was already kicking my ass... DJ comes out with something worse.

I'll shall put these to work ASAP.


One of the best things you can do...


I think Dan gets some sort of sadistic satisfaction from putting us all through even more pain....


I just finished my workout. I started off with 5*5 of snatches. Then I tried the Tabata method using fronts squats. I used 95 pounds and did eight my first set, then I got five reps for the rest of the sets, except for the last where I got 3 reps. That sucked. I am going to start using it a lot more though. It will really help me with football.


Just get in there and do it. I am currently doing tabatas once a week combined with Dans MLB diet. I do tabatas every friday and then use the whole weekend to rest/recover from it. Just be sure to have a towel to mop up the sweat, plenty of water to drink and a shallow grave to crawl into.


I have my college athletes train with the Tabata Protocol 3x per week. Standard workouts look like this:
-warmup 5-10 minutes;
-non-resisted, high intensity interval training (Tabata), including 3 sets of three different jumping exercises (nine sets total);
-five minute rest;
-upper body strength training, including 5 midsection exercises and 5 upper body exercises: one set each of 8-12 reps to failure;
-rest five minutes;
-resisted Tabata Protocol, including deep lunges with dumbells in each hand hanging at the side. On the way up, press the dumbells, lowering as the next lunge occurs. Each workout is alternated between the lunge/press and the lunge/front shoulder raise.

Once again, we do this three times per week...and the college athletes are women (except for me, and I do everything they do)

We have seen incredible results in fat loss, endurance and vertical jump increases.


Oh - that suggestion is just wrong on so many different levels I can't even bare to contemplate them all.

Suffice it to say that this so-called "Bottom to Bottom Tabata" is ...well...borderline satanic.

But this is coming from a guy that blew massive chunks before the completion of minute 3 doing front squats with just the bar.