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Tabata Interval Exercise: Energy Expenditure and Post-Exercise Responses

  • Huntingdon College - Adjunct Professor
Tabata Interval Exercise: Energy Expenditure
and Post-Exercise Responses
Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM
Scharff-Olson Kinesiology Lab, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL
This presentation was funded by the Department of Exercise Science Auburn University at Montgomery
Statistical Analysis
The subjects were 15 physically active women (n = 12) and men (n
= 3) with a mean age, 24.9 yr. After receiving a detailed explanation
of the investigation, the study participants were screened for health
history and provided informed consent as prescribed by the
American College of Sports Medicine and the Institutional Review
Board for Human Subject Research at Auburn University
Montgomery. During the experimental trials, the subjects reported
to the exercise laboratory and were measured for height and
weight. Height was measured to the nearest 0.5 cm and weight to
the nearest 0.01 kg.
All of the subjects were instructed on the squat jump Tabata
protocol and allowed to practice in the days preceding the trails
when oxygen consumption was measured. A Parvomedics True-
One open-circuit spirometry gas analysis system was used to
determined oxygen uptake and the respiratory exchange ratio
(RER). The gas analyzers were calibrated prior to each test with
gases verified by gas chromatography.
The oxygen uptake protocol was comprised of three stages:
Pre-exercise VO2 was measured for 30 minutes while the subjects
rested in a supine position on an athletic training table. Subjects
then completed a Tabata bout executing 8 cycles of body-weight
squat jumps with maximal (all-out) effort while being measured
continuously for VO2. Following exercise, the subjects’ VO2 was
further recorded as (per the pre-exercise conditions) for 30 minutes.
Means were calculated for each of the descriptive variables (see Table 1).
Time-ordered VO2 responses were compared with an ANOVA (p. 0.05) to
detect any differences between pre, exercise, and post-exercise values. In
addition, kilo-calorie expenditure was determined via a 5 kcal.min-1
equivalent for every 1 L of O2 consumed and is further reported based on a
standardized body weight of 70 kg.
Table 1. Descriptive Characteristics of Subjects (mean)
Variable 15 Subjects
Age (yr) 24.9
Height (cm) 168.2
Weight (kg) 67.3
Table 2. Time-Ordered VO2 Values (mean)*
Pre-Exercise VO2 3.7
Tabata VO2 38.4
Peak Tabata VO2 48.2
Post-Exercise VO2 10 min. 12.5
Post-Exercise VO2 20 min.
Post-Exercise VO2 30 min.
*All VO2 values significantly greater
than pre-exercise VO2 (p. 0.05)
PURPOSE: Tabata training, named for its developer Dr. Izumi Tabata
who studied this form of conditioning at the National Institute of Fitness
and Sports in Tokyo, involves a movement or modality such as squat
jumps, stair running or cycling done for 20 seconds at max effort with
10 seconds rest for 8 total cycles. The Tabata researches found that
this protocol produced significant improves in VO2 max following a
period of training. However, no published data are available regarding
the energy cost of the Tabata method. The purpose of this study was to
measure the energy cost of a Tabata protocol and determine the
energy expenditure following a Tabata bout.
METHODS: 15 participants, 12 women and 3 men (mean age, 24.9 yr)
who were physically active or involved in university athletics
participated in the study and provided informed consent. The study
protocol was as follows: Pre-exercise VO2 was measured for 30
minutes (Parvomedics metabolic system) while the subjects rested in a
supine position on an athletic training table. Subjects then completed a
Tabata bout executing 8 cycles of body-weight squat jumps with max
effort while being measured continuously for VO2. Following exercise,
the subjects’ VO2 was further recorded as per the pre-exercise
RESULTS: Mean pre-exercise VO2 was 3.7 For the
Tabata bout VO2 was 38.4 with an average peak VO2 of
48.2 during various 20 second max effort periods. Mean
peak RER recovery values were 1.54. At 10, 20 and 30 minutes post-
exercise, mean VO2 was 12.5, 6.4 and 4.1, respectively.
All time-ordered post-exercise VO2 values were significantly higher
than pre-exercise (ANOVA, p. 0.05). Using the 5 kcal.min-1 equivalent
for every 1 L of O2 consumed, kcal cost for the Tabata protocol was
13.4 kcal.-1min-1 (standardized to 70 kg wt). Additionally, the kcal
expenditure incurred 30 minutes post exercise was double that for the
30 minute pre-exercise period: 80.5 kcals versus 39 kcals, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: This data shows that a bout of Tabata exercise using
body-weight squat jumps produced a marked VO2 equivalent to 11.0
METs and a VO2 that had not fallen to pre-exercise 30 minutes post
exercise. Thus, the intensity of Tabata’s appears viable as an interval
training method.
Various forms of interval training, sometimes referred to as high
intensity interval training or HIIT, have become increasingly popular
in both athletic conditioning and mainstream fitness arenas.
Traditional HIIT protocols are generally comprised of “Effort” and
“Recovery” ratios such as 1:3 where 15 seconds of all-out
supramaximal exercise effort is followed by a recovery or rest interval
three times the length of the effort period such as 45 seconds.
Common HIIT modalities, particularly in athletic conditioning include
running and sprinting, cycle ergometry and plyometrics.
In contrast, Dr. Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness
and Sports in Tokyo, studied an “Effort-Recovery” protocol using
cycle ergometers comprised of 20 seconds supramaximal effort (i.e.
170% of VO2max) followed by 10 seconds of recovery. This form of
interval training was found to elicit significant improvements in
VO2max which were comparable to substantially longer training
durations of steady-state sub-maximal exercise.
However, little is know about the energy cost of Tabata interval
training including post-exercise oxygen uptake responses.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to measure the energy cost
of the Tabata format using body weight squat jumps at an al-out
effort and to also measure post exercise oxygen uptake responses
for comparison to resting oxygen uptake.
Parvomedics Metabolic Cart – Pre Exercise Oxygen Consumption
The results of this study show that a bout of Tabata exercise using
body-weight squat jumps produced a marked VO2 equivalent to
11.0 METs, a mean kcal expenditure of 53.6, and a VO2 that had
not fallen to pre-exercise 30 minutes post exercise. Thus, the
intensity of a Tabata interval exercise bout using squat jumps
appears viable as an interval training method.
Future research aimed at determining the energy cost of a Tabata
protocol with additional exercise modalities such as sprinting or
other plyometric maneuvers may also prove valuable.
In addition, the time period required for oxygen uptake to reach pre-
exercise levels following Tabata interval training has yet to be
All study participants completed the data collection trials successfully with no
adverse events. The mean energy cost values ranged from 3.7
during the 30 minute pre-exercise period to peak value of 48.2
during the Tabata protocol (see Table 2). At 30 minutes post exercise, the mean
VO2 was 4.1 which was (still) significantly higher than the pre-
exercise VO2. The mean peak RER value measured during the early post-
exercise period was 1.54.
Table 3 shows the caloric expenditure values. The mean per-minute energy cost
was notably high at 13.4 .kcal-1.min-1. Thus, the total energy cost of the 4-
minute “Tabata” bout was approximately 54 kcals. Further, the total energy
expended during the 30 minute recovery was twice that of the energy expended
during the 30 minute pre-exercise period yielding a gross energy cost of 134.1
Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. (1996). "Effects of
moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent
training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max". Med Sci Sports
Exerc 28 (10): 1327–30.
Body Weight “TABATA” Squat Jumps
Table 3. Kilocalorie Expenditure (mean)*
Pre-Exercise – 30 minutes 39.0 kcal-1
Tabata Exercise – per minute 13.4 kcal-1.min-1
Post-Exercise – 30 minutes
*Note. Total energy expenditure
accumulated during post-exercise
period was double pre-exercise period
80.5 kcal-1
Note. The research published by Nishimura Tabata was
conducted with speed skaters who performed supramaximal
bouts of the 20 sec:10 sec interval protocol (with 8 repeats)
using cycle ergometers.
... Using a heart rate monitor, this format could be used readily with a variety of aerobic-type exercises and machines such as running/jogging, elliptical trainers, electronic stair steppers, jump ropes, spin cycles, aerobic step-up benches, and so on. See Table 2, which shows the exercise equipment/ modalities that were used by the protocols (3,9). ...
... Olson used body weight squat jumps with the Tabata 20-second effort and 10-second rest format. All three of these modified formats (6,8,9), although not supramaximal, are not ''soft,'' though, on intensity. Table 2 shows that these three formats can produce a high intensity effort (80% to 95% of max) and are labeled more appropriately ''aerobic'' interval training formats because they do not rely on a 100%+ supramaximal Tabata anaerobic effort. ...
... During short 20-second effort intervals, Dr. Timmons asserts that much more body mass is used (compared with slower less intense exercise) such as the legs, hips, trunk, core, and shoulder girdle, creating a calorie inferno with more fat utilization, which persists after the short intense workout. Known as the excessive postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), often called the ''after burn,'' the Tabata-style all-out body weight squat jump study (9) showed that the participants' caloric expenditure in the initial half hour after the brief 4-minute bout was double the calories burned before exercise. Dr. Tabata has found more recently that 150 extra calories are burned during a 12-hour period after Tabata (7). ...
Learning Objective: Tabata and a variety of short HIIT formats are highly popular intense forms of interval training. Research shows that Tabata and short HIIT workouts can be used to increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, promote fat loss, and even improve blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and glucose regulation in a relatively short time. This article will detail Tabata and similar forms of training and provide how-tos for implementing and designing effective Tabata-style workouts.
... This training protocol has appeared to be safe and effective even in sedentary populations, improving blood biomarkers, increasing caloric expenditure and promoting both aerobic and anaerobic fitness [3][4][5]. Nevertheless, conflicting data have supported the notion that Tabata should be mainly addressed in athletes [6]. ...
Full-text available
The current study examines the effects of a Tabata high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session on affective, cognitive and physiological indicators in women of different fitness levels. A total of 28 adult women (aged 24.2 ± 1.5 years) completed a 20 m shuttle run test and were then assigned to higher fitness and lower fitness groups (HF and LF, n = 14 each) according to their predicted aerobic power. On a separate occasion, participants completed a 30 min Tabata workout (six 4 min rounds separated by 1 min passive rest). Each round included eight exercises (20 s exercise and 10 s rest). Affective, physiological and cognitive responses were assessed prior to, during and after the protocol. Heart rate and blood lactate concentration increased similarly in both groups over time throughout the workout (p < 0.001). Total Mood Disturbance was higher for LF (111.4 ± 15.7) vs. HF (102.9 ± 11.7) (p = 0.48), vigor showed a level by time interaction of p = 0.006 and Activation–Deactivation Adjective Check List factors deteriorated over time (p < 0.001). The Concentration Grid Test was better overall for HF (10.5 ± 3.6) vs. LF (8.6 ± 3.6) (p = 0.05). The Feeling Scale and Rating of Perceived Exertion worsened similarly in both groups over time (p = 0.002 and p < 0.001, respectively). Positive and negative affect and arousal did not differ between groups or change over time (p > 0.05). These results show that, despite the different levels of aerobic fitness, physiological, metabolic, perceptual and affective responses were similar in the two groups of women during a 30 min Tabata session. This may imply that affective responses during this type of HIIT are independent of aerobic fitness.
... In fact, there are some activities in the field which cannot be conducted due to the limitations of the equipment so the exercise cannot be imposed with the intensity 170% of max. Therefore, there are some improvements of Tabata protocol with other activities, thus carrying out Tabata training method with intensity below 170% of max, as was conducted with exercise intensity 95% of max by exercise activity squat jumps during 4 minutes [3] and there was also an exercise done with intensity 74% of max by body weight circuit exercise activity during 16 minutes [4]. In these two studies, there are several differences result in the improvement, both the cardiovascular fitness and body composition, thus the weight training activities with external exercises was conducted in this study. ...
Full-text available
Tabata protocol is one of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) models whose time is relatively short yet intensity is high, which is followed by a recovery that is relatively short compared to the time execution. There is an appearing problem on how large the impact of the model to the dynamic aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Thus, this study tried to investigate the model's impact to both capacity. To do so, this study employed experimental method using one group pre-test post-test design. In implementing the research, this study conducted a pre-test followed by training treated by Tabata protocol and finally has a post-test. This study used correlation and determination test to analyse the data on how large the impact. Having analysed the data, the study proves that there is a positive correlation between the pre-test and post-test results which means that there is significant influence on the improvement of the capabilities using the model proposed. In the meantime, other factors influencing the improvement of both capabilities are assumed low. The results of the study imply that in physical training, the method chosen needs to adjust the physical components and physiological law of the training so that maximum achievement.
Full-text available
High Intensity Interval Training is a training method based on a combination of periods in which high-intensity load alternate with low-intensity exercise or passive rest, the so-called rest interval or inactive phase. Nowadays it is gaining more popularity among the general population and is applied in modern fitness centers. The authors found that more than 95 % sports centers organizing group lessons in Brno offer some form of HIIT (“Tabata System”, especially). Changing one of the HIIT components will affect the efficiency of the whole system. This effect is demonstrable on the aerobic and anaerobic performance and the composition of body tissues. Our goal within the broad research is to find out what effect changing one variable has on the most widely used HIIT program, and we wanted to examine whether the method is suitable for recreational athletes.The authors have made the first step in the form of pilot research described in this article, trying to design the system and applying the components in it. The experiment involved twenty deliberately selected male probands. They were randomly divided into two intervention groups of ten probands. In both intervention groups, we observed: number of repetitions performed, subjective load assessment (on the Borg scale) and heart rate. The original design of the pilot study included three training units per week for two weeks (a total of six training units). Basic multiple articulated exercises (Burpees and Jump Squats) were selected for both sets in these protocols in order to achieve key intensity for HIIT. There were some limitations of the experiment described in the article.The result of the first pilot study was essential concerning the adequacy of the cycle settings. The authors were forced to stop the piloting after the completion of the first week due to the acute overtraining of the probands. The reason to stop the experiment is attributed to an inadequate frequency of training units in individual weeks, which we reflected in the design of the following pilot study and reduced the number to two. The authors have kept the research questions and present the results of the modified piloting below.It can be assumed that the prolongation of the rest interval has an impact on the ability to perform repeated exercises, heart rate and subjective perception of stress in selected exercises. These results of our pilot research are also related to people's desire to get as much as possible in as little (time) as possible. The HIIT method is (in many aspects) more effective than the continuous method. Its undeniable advantage is time saving, but efficiency is "redeemed" by intensity and demanding character (proved not just in the described experiments). Where is the line between benefit sport and health-threatening sport? What is the "correct" HIIT setting/programming and what causes a change in one of the key variables? Is less sometimes more or more demanding means more effective? Respecting people's demands and desires for performance, mental fitness and physical beauty, with regard to sustainability and health above all, we will seek answers to all these questions. The first step towards finding them is the study carried out.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Whole-body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) is a new tendency in training used to complement conventional training. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to analyze the effects of training with WB-EMS on body composition, strength and balance in middle-aged women. METHODS: Twenty-eight women were randomly assigned to two groups: the WB-EMS group (age = 48.1 ± 4.3 years) or the control group (CG) (age = 51.1 ± 5.4). All participants continued their training of 2 days⋅week-1 and 60 min⋅day-1 of endurance-dynamic strength exercises and additionally did 20 minutes more of dynamic strength exercises one day⋅week-1: the WB-EMS group did the additional training with WB-EMS and the CG did the same training but without WB-EMS. Body composition, muscle isokinetic strength of the knee flexors/extensors and postural stability were measured before and after 8 weeks of training. RESULTS: After the training program, the WB-EMS group showed lower values for the waist circumference (83.00 ± 7.37 vs. 78.50 ± 7.30 cm; p< 0.01), hip circumference (104.80 ± 8.61 vs. 101.00 ± 6.78 cm; p< 0.05) and total fat mass (37.04 ± 6.08 vs. 36.26 ± 5.78%; p< 0.05). In balance stability the WB-EMS group reduced their Fall Risk Index (1.70 ± 0.51 vs. 1.30 ± 0.38 AU; p< 0.01) and deviation (1.50 ± 0.43 vs. 1.03 ± 0.74 AU; p< 0.01) after training and showed lower values in the Fall Risk Index (p= 0.007) and deviation (p= 0.024). CONCLUSIONS: The WB-EMS training program helps reduce the risk of falling and improves body composition variables and balance results in middle-aged physically active women. Keywords: Exercise, electromyostimulation, WB-EMS, body composition, balance, strength
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