How do you tell the difference between a real tabata and a model HIIT workout?

It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Cardio endurance training is an ideal way to lose weight fast. There are several types of interval training, but not every athlete correctly distinguishes between them.

What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training is a type of high intensity interval training. HIIT is based on several series interspersed with various strength and endurance exercises. Each series should last about 60 seconds and be preceded by a moment of rest and lighter exercises. The whole HIIT training cannot last longer than 30 minutes. Beginners can follow the program up to 3 days a week and gradually increase the load. The training plan can include aerobics, jumping rope, running, squats, push-ups or cycling. HIIT is a technique used to improve athletic performance in a short period of time, increase fitness, strengthen muscles, burn fat quickly and improve overall fitness. High-intensity interval training can produce results three times faster

How does tabata work?

The concept of tabata comes from Izumi Tabata’s research published in 1996 by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The tests showed that regular, short, intense workouts significantly increase the body’s aerobic ceiling and anaerobic endurance. Tabata training consists of 4-minute series of endurance exercises performed at the highest level of the athlete’s ability. The series should be repeated 5 days a week for 6 weeks. After this period you should see a significant improvement in fitness, increased respiratory capacity, and reduced body fat. The currently popular sports technique is modified in many ways, for example, by increasing the duration of work or increasing the effort. Any training changes make the exercises performed not belong to the classic tabata system, but are only its variant.

How to distinguish both techniques?

In order to properly recognize the two workouts, it is necessary to look at their individual parameters and methods of execution. Every modification of the training plan makes the recognition process more difficult and moves the workout away from the classic model. In popular fitness manuals you can find HIIT or tabata as a part of the whole workout, but it should be a separate set of exercises. The differences between the two techniques are significant and easy to grasp even by a novice athlete.


The primary difference is the timing of the workout. Tabata takes a total of 4 minutes, while HIIT training can take up to half an hour. In tabata, the series are built on the system of 20 seconds of effort, 10 seconds of rest, while HIIT assumes that the work time lasts at least 60 seconds to as much as 2 minutes, and rest only 30 seconds. What’s more, HIIT is performed a maximum of several times a week and can be an additional, mode-changing component of a larger training plan. Tabata, on the other hand, must be performed systematically for 5 days over a total period of 6 weeks.

Type of exercise

HIIT is a method that can be used for any type of exercise. It works great during running or marching, cycling, swimming or even the simplest home movements like squats or push-ups. Exercises can be varied and mixed together in a 30 minute workout. Tabata is characterized by the fact that the repeated exercise is one throughout the workout. The most effective solution would be to systematically repeat up to a few specific exercises over a 6-week cycle that affect most of the body’s muscle parts simultaneously

Heart rate

According to research, when performing HIIT type training, the heart works at the level of 80 to 95% of the maximum heart rate. In the case of tabata, these parameters are usually at least 100% of the athlete’s capacity. The original research on the method showed that the participating athletes exercised for 4 minutes at 170% of their aerobic capacity, which shows that tabata is a much more demanding method

Main photo: Jonathan Borba/

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


seven + sixteen =

Recommended articles
Protein supplements – what do you need to know about them?
Protein supplements – what do you need to know about them?
Protein supplement is a product that no physically active person can do without. How to choose the ideal product of this type?
What to eat and drink to maintain a balanced diet?
What to eat and drink to maintain a balanced diet?
Sport is good for you - no one doubts this statement, but how important is a balanced diet? A proper diet will have a positive effect not only on your body, but also on your performance. Find out what to eat to give your body the best!
Creating Your Own Functional Training Gym at Home
Creating Your Own Functional Training Gym at Home
With a  well-designed functional training gym in the comfort of your own home, you can transform your fitness routine and […]
Latest articles