HIIT vs Tabata
Is There a Difference?
By Dominic Pereira
Heart racing, muscles burning, sweat dripping into your already soaked activewear. You’re probably in a Tabata or HIIT class without knowing the correct terminology for your pain!
These two highly effective training methods are often used interchangeably but each has its own unique qualities which make them beneficial.
Similarities between HIIT and Tabata
- Both HIIT and Tabata’s main focus is getting your heart rate up using maximum effort over a short period, with brief rest breaks.
- Both workouts have studies that show they aid in fat burning, improved speed and endurance, and weight loss.
Which training method you choose is up to your fitness goals and preferences. Now let’s take a look at what makes these two training methods different.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
What is HIIT?
In a previous post–7 Exhilarating Benefits of HIIT that will jump-start your fitness journey–we discussed that High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, involves short periods of intense exercise followed by short, low-intensity recovery periods.
How does HIIT Work?
You’ll work hard for 30 or 40 seconds then rest for 10 to 30 seconds. An effective HIIT workout ranges from 10 to 30 minutes with 4 to 6 repetitions(reps) in total. You can do 30 or 40 seconds at one station, if in a group, and then move to the next exercise/station.
The fitter you get the less rest you will need between stations and the more rounds you will complete your allotted time.
What is Tabata?
With Tabata training, you’ll take part in a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but you’ll execute exercises that last for four minutes. We know four minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it will be the longest four minutes of your life. If you’ve ever tried to do a one minute plank, you’ll understand perfectly…
How does Tabata Work?
The structure of Tabata workouts differs quite a lot from normal HIIT workouts.
Push yourself as hard as you possibly can for 20 seconds, then take a break for 10 seconds. That counts as one set. You’ll have to complete eight sets of each exercise. You can take a one minute rest after you have completed all eight sets.
Some great examples of a Tabata workout are as follows:
- Squats (bodyweight only) for four minutes
- Push-ups (modified or regular) for four minutes
- Mountain climbers for four minutes
- High knees for four minutes
Most Tabata exercises focus on working out large muscle groups and doesn’t really involve isolation exercises.
HIIT and Tabata workouts are perfect if:
- You have a hectic schedule and can only squeeze in quick (but highly effective) workouts.
- You want to change up your routine (hitting a plateau).
- You want to improve your speed and endurance.