The question of the similarities and differences between Tabata and HIIT is an interesting one, so let’s look into this further.
Tabata is high intensity interval training. It’s a subset, a particular form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), but, there are certainly other forms of high intensity interval training out there that are not Tabata. But, HIIT is NOT Tabata, and should not be confused with it when it comes to the correct protocol of how Tabata is executed.
What high intensity interval training (HIIT) means is that you’re doing some physical activity at a really, really intense level for a specified interval, and then you either rest or do a less intense activity for another specified interval.
You go in waves, switching between intense activity and a recovery period. For instance, under one HIIT protocol you might do thirty seconds of intense activity, followed by twenty seconds of moderate-level activity as your recovery block. Then you’d ramp it back up to the really intense stuff, and hold that for thirty seconds more; and when that is done, get twenty seconds of recovery.
Tabata is a particular form of high intensity interval training that many feel gives the body the ideal workout.
The Tabata protocol is much more specific than HIIT. It calls for exactly 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by a 10 second rest, and this sequence is done exactly 8 times. There is no variation.
Also, for those 20 seconds the moves you execute must be at maximum capacity and exertion level, with all the energy possible, at max rate, without any tapering off or slowing down. Then only 10 seconds to catch your breath.
The Main Difference
The main difference between Tabata and HIIT is that the timing of the intervals in the protocol for Tabata is very specific and must be followed. While HIIT may allow for longer intervals or longer rests, and some regimens actually do not use rest periods, but, instead incorporate slower movement as the rest period, Tabata does not.
And the intensity with which moves are executed must be at max force with Tabata, they should literally want to make an experienced athlete and advanced level fitness buffs want to puke.
Both HIIT and Tabata use intense intervals. Both share many of the same moves, though the intensity levels and rest periods vary. Moves, include, burpees, mountain climbers, lunge jumps, squat jumps, intervals on exercise machines, such as, bikes or treadmills.
Other Forms Of HIIT
Tabata high intensity interval training is not the only type of high intensity interval training out there, by any means.
There’s the Peter Coe regimen; a ultra-fast 200 meter run, then thirty seconds of rest, then another 200 meter. This regimen was used by coach Peter Coe in the 1970s.
There is also the Gibala regimen, developed by Professor Martin Gibala and published in 2009 as three minutes warm up, sixty seconds of intense exercise and seventy-five seconds of rest. This gets repeated eight to twelve times, three times a week.
The Timmons regimen was developed by Jamie Timmons, professor of systems biology, and published in 2012. Here two minutes of gentle exercise – slow biking on a stationary bike—is followed by twenty seconds of high intensity. The high intensity and recovery intervals are each repeated three times, three times a week.
All of these are examples of high intensity interval training. They are not Tabata exercise regimes, though; the Tabata name is only given to high intensity interval training that follows the exact protocol set out by Tabata in his 1996 paper—20 seconds intensity, ten seconds rest, repeat eight times.
There are some high intensity interval training programs marketed as ‘Tabata style’ which typically use the basic form of Tabata’s ideas, but, mix it up a bit by introducing periods of different exercises in various orders.
The most straightforward Tabata high intensity interval training goes through just one exercise at a time, a practice which enables you to really focus on putting your all into it.
Getting Started With Either Workout
Tabata and HIIT are both advanced level fitness routines. Both of these are highly intensive forms of training that are not typically recommended for beginners. If you want to start, it is better to begin with HIIT on a small-scale and work your way up.
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