It’s Tabata time!

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
For many Airmen, hearing about a workout routine that improves cardiovascular capacity, increases strength and the number of exercise repetitions they are able to do before failure seems too good to be true.

However, what they may not know about is a routine which is living up to the hype surrounding it - the Tabata Protocol.

"Tabatas are short bursts of high intensity exercises, followed by a shorter rest period," said Christal Jackson, 28th Medical Group Health and Wellness Center exercise physiologist. "The entire routine only lasts about four minutes."

The Tabata Protocol, which was named after a Japanese researcher, Izumi Tabata, Ph.D, is a series of eight, 20-second exercises - with a 10-second rest in between each set. The goal is to fit as many repetitions into the 20-second interval as possible.

Mrs. Jackson said one of the major benefits of the Tabata Protocol is the rapid increase of VO2 max capacity - which is the body's ability to use oxygen efficiently. The more oxygen that can be brought in, the higher the VO2 level is and the more work can be done.

"Tabatas can be done with just about any exercise," Mrs. Jackson said.

Airman 1st Class Elimae Gilchrist, 28th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, has incorporated Tabatas into both her personal workout and the classes she teaches.

"I use it mostly as a high-intensity workout and cardio training," she said. "Sometimes, I try to work Tabatas into my ab routine."

Airman Gilchrist has used the Tabata Protocol during the Fit Camp classes she teaches. Fit Camp is primarily designed to help Airmen pass their psychical training test; however, it is open to anyone who wants to attend.

"People in the class usually like the Tabatas because there is more emphasis on the goal to finish the routine," Airman Gilchrist said.

However, as with any form of physical exercise, Mrs. Jackson encourages Airmen to have their fitness level assessed prior to undertaking the workout.

Tabatas have been shown to be beneficial with just about any exercise, Mrs. Jackson said. It offers Airmen a fast-paced, intense way to improve their PT scores.