There are many different forms of workouts and each workout will give you a different result. However, if you’re looking for a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout that will improve your endurance and cardiovascular fitness, then give the Tabata Protocol a go.

Developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan, a Tabata workout uses 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (or 8 cycles of the 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest pattern). His research showed that by taking rest periods only half the length of the intense bursts, the body is forced to perform without full recovery, so at some point between rounds six and eight, the athlete hits the point of maximum oxygen intake.

While it is not required, a Tabata interval timer is recommended. You can either use an online one (such as or download an app if you own a smartphone.

The Tabata Protocol can be applied to almost any exercise, include sprinting, jumping rope, lifting weights/kettlebells or performing bodyweight exercises. An example of a 20-minute Tabata workout may consist of:

  • Push-ups.
  • Fast squats or squat jumps.
  • Medicine ball slams.
  • Burpees.
  • Mountain climbers.

To get the maximum benefit of Tabata workouts, perform each of the exercises at the highest intensity that you can handle. Don’t forget to spend some time to warm-up before you start and cool down/stretch after the workout.



Andrew is the owner and principal trainer of Health Jigsaw. He is a highly sought-after trainer and has been a personal trainer since 1997. Andrew has previously worked in a five-star luxury resort, large fitness centres and an exclusive personal training studio.

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