Tabata Sprint Workout Protocol: Your Ultimate Guide

Tabata Sprint Workout Protocol: Your Ultimate Guide


If you are looking for how to gain faster fitness results, then behold, I present to you the ultimate code: the Tabata Sprint Workout.

It would take you just 4 minutes.

It is a gold mine you should add to your workout schedule – a clean cheat!

Why? What is this about? This article will answer all your questions.

Tabata training has been in the fitness industry for quite a long time. While it is a good physical activity, not many are aware of what wonder it works.

Many people do fitness activities every day, without even having a bearing.

What works? What does not work? What works fast? How? Not many people care to answer these questions. We just bombard ourselves with anything.

If you can take time to answer simple questions, you will put yourself on the right path. Don’t do it the way others do it.

Today, I have right in front of you what works fast.

How sure am I? You’ll see..

These are our main points of discussion

What is Tabata?
A brief History of Tabata Training
Sprints Workout Plan
Benefits of Tabata Sprints
Mistakes Beginners make

Want more? You’ll have more…

What is Tabata Training?

Tabata training is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) characterised by eight rounds of intense physical activity that lasts for 20 seconds, and a state of rest lasting for 10 seconds.

Breaking it down, what I mean is, you have 8 targets to make; One target would take you 30 seconds. And in the 30 seconds interval, you have to fire up for 20 seconds and cool down for 10 seconds.

That’s easy to understand, right? Sure.

That’s what Tabata is about.

Ohhhh. From my definition, you may be asking, “what the heck is hiit?” So let’s pause a while and take it one at a time, for you to understand.

You’d be grateful after reading this.


Hiit kettlebell

HIIT is the acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training.

As the name implies, It involves workouts with alternating extreme or intense periods and moderate periods in intervals. Most of the time, these exercises are cardio.

Have you gone to the gym and found someone doing a workout, switching from intense to soft to intense, and repeating the cycle?

It may be a funny sight to see, but what you saw there, my friend, is HIIT. Why would someone even do that, subjecting themselves to aggressive conditions?

Such trainings take a short period of time so you won’t wear out. Many persons perform their session between 5 to 30 minutes. You don’t have to do HIIT everyday.

You can apply HIIT to almost any exercises. This includes, but is not limited to, push-ups, using the treadmill, Burpee, jumping rope, Medicine Ball, and so on.

Med ball hiit

I wrote a post about the Treadmill HIIT Workout. You can check it out.

When doing HIIT, although it requires a lot of physical strength, you would usually gain more than you expect at the end. It burns fats and calories faster than normal intensity trainings.

The advantage of intense physical activities is that, you see much quicker results in a short period, compared to normal ones.

They are anaerobic. Activities done with a lot of effort are anaerobic. They usually bring better dividend.

If you want to lose weight, burn fats and calories, gain fitness way faster, HIITs are highly recommended.

Now you can see some benefits you derive when you do Tabata, since it is a form of HIIT.

To do a Tabata workout, you have to follow the formula: 20 seconds of high-intensity work, and 10 seconds of rest, going for 8 rounds.

Again, we are talking about 4 minutes in total.


One round takes 30 seconds
Therefore 8 rounds will take 8×30=240seconds.

4 minutes! Is 4 minutes even enough for a workout? Maybe it is. The study that led to the existence of Tabata proved that the 4-minute workout is effective.

It does not hinder you from moving on, if you feel like it. In fact, you have my approval 🙂 to go beyond 240 seconds (the standard) – insofar it’s safe for you.

The goal here is to invest your all into all twenty seconds of hard work. The quantity of energy you put in, is equal to the result you will see.

As a newbie, it may be challenging to do the stuff, but you will always adapt.

You can incorporate the Tabata protocol into your favourite workouts. It may be squats, jumping rope, or even sprints.

To get the full value, professionals do a combination of advanced and painful exercises – exercises like kettlebell swings, burpees, lunges, Medicine Ball.

The History of Tabata

In the early 1990s, Dr. Izumi Tabata, a researcher at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kagoshima Perfecture, Japan, conducted a test which led to what is called “Tabata” today.

The aim of the test was to see the effect of short, intense interval training on athletes, compared to continuous, moderate-intensity ones.

Aerobic and anaerobic parameters were the yardstick for measuring the growth of the participants.

And the result of his study totally changed everything.

The study lasted for six weeks.
He divided the participants into two groups.

The first group consisted of people who did the moderate-intensity exercises.

They worked five days per week, till the six weeks elapsed. And the nature of their workout was, riding a stationary bike for one hour, each day.

The second group consisted of people who did high-intensity exercises. They worked four days per week, till the end of six weeks.

Then nature of their task was the Tabata protocol: eight sets of 30 seconds of exercise at maximum effort and short periods of rest.

The period of maximum effort required 20 seconds, while the period of rest required 10 seconds.

Without much ado, at the end of the experiment, the group of people who did the stationary bike workout at moderate-intensity, had grown their aerobic fitness by 9.5%, with little growth in anaerobic fitness.

Guess what – the other group which did the 4 minutes interval training increased their aerobic fitness by 14%, and their anaerobic fitness by 28%!

Considering the huge difference in time, Group 2 achieved far more in a shorter period.

It is important to not only have an improved aerobic capacity, but an improved anaerobic capacity.

The aerobic advantage helps your cardiovascular shape, while the anaerobic puts your muscles in shape for endurance.

Dr. Izumi concluded that the 4-minute interval training has a great potential to increase how long and hard you can perform, than regular exercises.

This experiment became popular, and it is now adopted all over the world.
An interesting story indeed.

What is the Tabata Sprint Workout?

Tabata sprint workout protocol

Tabata Sprint Workout/ Training is a 8-round fitness exercise involving sprints lasting for 20 seconds and periods of rest lasting for 10 seconds.

This is what I mean. Run for 20 seconds stretch, rest for 10 seconds, repeat for 7 more times – total of 8.

The 10 seconds rest period is for you to recover and prepare for the next round, till you get to the last round.

It is certainly breath-taking.

It literally takes you four minutes to do the Tabata Sprint Workout – four minutes to see huge results.

Sprinting is a good exercise to do at home. You don’t have to go to the gym. Also, you don’t need any equipment.

How to do a Tabata Sprint Training

Although it is pretty easy to imagine yourself doing Tabata is, it may be almost impractical to follow the plan.

You may have thought of ways through which you can practise it, but they did not sound sensible in the ears.

It would make sense if there was a track to practise the workout.

But now that there is no track or a spacious field to practise, would you just sprint around the neighbourhood (as if you were being pursued), and stop in intervals, while everyone is watching?


I won’t do that either.

Besides, the street is always busy.

Running at max speed is not safe and won’t make sense here.

I would rather draw a good workout plan and think of ways to achieve this.

So now, I am going to give you ideas on how to go about your Tabata Sprint.

How to do Tabata Sprints

If there is a track or field for you to sprint, go for it. It does not really matter if you are running in straight lines or in circles.

Make sure you don’t hinder others.

But if you are the shy of sprinting outdoors, then here are some recommendations.

For some of these, you don’t have to run around. Yet what you are doing is purely sprints.

  • On-the-spot Sprint

This is a good thing to do if there is no space for you to run around. Also, you don’t need any equipments to fire up.

All you need is just a simple timer. Your phone’s timer app can do the work neatly.

As if this is not enough, you can perform it anywhere – even if it is just a small space available.

On the spot

Basically, what it entails is, running on a spot for twenty seconds and then resting, till eight rounds is completed.
If you do not want to run around, then this is a good choice.

The disadvantage is that, all parts of your body may not be involved, because you are on a spot.

What is important during this is that, you should try to lift your legs as high and fast as you can.

If you ask me, I’ll say it does not work as much as the full sprint, but it is worth it.

  • Wall-to-Wall Sprint

You can do this in a large, empty room. If you are an indoor person, then this is a good one for you.

The requirement is for you to have a spacious room that allows for maximum running.

Wall to wall run

You are to run from one wall end to the opposite wall as fast as you can, till the timer rings at 20 seconds, take a rest for 10 seconds, then take off again. Continue till you are done.

While doing this, always make sure you touch the walls with your two hands before turning and running in the opposite direction.

This one is more effective than running on a spot.

  • Treadmill Tabata Sprint

This is one of my personal favourites.
A Treadmill is a very powerful equipment for Tabata sprint training.

You may need to visit the gym to do this, but if you have one at home, then go for it. It’s actually a big investment.

Set the speed of the mill to your max speed (or something close) and shoot for 20 seconds. Remember to always take 10 seconds interval of rest.

Treadmill Tabata

With a treadmill, you don’t have to go outdoors to do workouts.

You can even take things up by adding incline to challenge yourself.

Be careful not to lose control.

When using the treadmill, do not hold the handle while running, till you are done.

Again, more of this has been covered in my Treadmill HIIT. Check it out.

It is important to stress that, before you start any of these protocols, always ensure you do at least 5-10 minutes warm-ups. This is very important.

The aim of this is to get your heart and muscles prepared for the heated exercise coming up.

If you don’t warm up, you run the risk of making life difficult, or getting injured.

You don’t want that, right?

Stretch. Walk. Jog. Keep your heart at a faster rate. Rest a little. Then burst out.

Benefits of Tabata Sprint Workout

It would make no sense if we talked about this useful resource without making reference to the benefits derivable every time we do it.

Really, there are benefits. What are they?

Weight Loss

Hiit exercises have proved to be good for losing weight. The nature of these exercises is the reason for this.

Doing Tabata Sprint Workout can hasten the rate at which you lose weight.

While it won’t, by itself, reduce your weight, it is effective.

As you keep to your daily schedule, in a few weeks, it will suddenly dawn on you, how much weight you have lost.

Losing weight is largely dependent on the food you eat and not on your workouts. The food you consume determine 70-90% of your weight.

So if you want to see real changes in weight, while doing the sprint protocol, put more attention on what you eat.

Improved Athletic Capacity

This was the basis of Dr Izumi Tabata’s test and result. He actually tested to see the result on athletes.

The difference between those who did it and those who didn’t was clear. Tabata increased their overall performance.

Since then, athletes have been incorporating the training in their routines.

The best of athletes are most likely the persons who engage in lots of high-intensity workouts.

Endurance, an ability athletes must constantly develop, is improved everytime you practise.

Time Saver

What else would you ask for if it is not a short but very effective workout?

While others are exercising for tens of minutes, you can literally get something equal in 4 minutes.

It is good news. No matter how busy you are, you can now squeeze out 4 minutes of 24 hours, to work on yourself.

And it is not compulsory to go to the gym or possess a machine to gain something.

Mistakes Beginners Make

Not warming up

I have told you this earlier, you have to warm up before you start an HIIT. It is a prerequisite.

So everytime you intend you do fitness activities, have it in mind to do at least 5 minutes warm-ups.

First start with something light, then gradually increase your pace, then lower it again. After that, you are free to blast off.

Not drinking enough water
Water is an essential fuel for the body. The body is made up of a higher percentage of water.

Everytime you want to do Tabata Sprint Workout, drink enough water. It will prevent your cells from being dehydrated.

Here is why…

As you exercise, your body loses large quantities of water. The skin excretes water by producing sweat. For this reason, you have to fill up the space.

Not only do you have to drink water before training, but after training.
Also, water is good for refreshing yourself.

Running too fast

Running too fast

It is recommended that new comers start at a slow pace. You do not have to fire up from scratch.

After gaining stability, you can gradually increase your speed.

Always be mindful of your speed, so you won’t get out of control.


Is there any difference between HIIT and Tabata?

NO. Tabata is a form of HIIT, and nothing more.

Remember HIIT is done in intervals under extreme conditions – it’s the same with Tabata. You can do any exercise using the Tabata protocol.

Is Tabata enough to lose weight?

No. Tabata is not enough to lose weight, but it is an effective workout, especially when done over a long period of time.
Weight loss depends on many factors, and workouts is a part of it.

Is 4 minutes Tabata enough?

Maybe. Considering a lot of factors, it depends.

If you think 4 minutes is taking you nowhere, feel free to go farther. There’s 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or even 30 minutes.

Dr Izumi only prescribed 4 minutes. That doesn’t mean you can’t exceed it if you want to.

In fact, doing more will bring you better and quicker answers.

What equipments are needed?

You don’t need anything, except you want want to use a treadmill. You can even do sprints on a spot, in your room.

Should I do Tabata Sprints everyday?

If you believe you can cope with doing it everyday, give it a shot.

But I suggest that you give it a space of 24 hours.

If it is impossible to catch up everyday, then make sure you do it at least 2-3 times per week.


The Tabata Sprint Workout is an interesting one for you to start immediately. You can gain much in just 4 minutes, compared to other forms to hiit. Start now!

Emma Ayo

Emma is the CEO of SimplyBioHealth. His passionate interest in living a healthy and fit lifestyle and improving living standard, drove him to creating this blog. Here, he shares only the fitness tips that work.