The Fabulous 4 (Minutes)
The short-intense-workout that delivers
Many great things have come from Japan, but one invention outshines them all—Tabata training. ...
Illustration by Jeremy Duncan
Many great things have come from Japan. The Lexus GS, sushi and ninjas are some of my favorites. But one invention outshines them all—Tabata training.
You probably haven't heard of Tabata training, a short, intense workout that yields inexplicable gains. The method may seem unusual, and like something meant only for extremists or mystical Japanese runners with scraggly three-foot beards that live in the high mountains and scurry up ancient trails without their feet touching the ground.
Don't worry; it's not that complicated, and, remember, it wasn't that long ago that only rebels ate sushi.
What Is It?
Way back in the dark ages (1996), Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan, was searching for a better training protocol for the Japanese speed-skating team.