We live in a fast-paced world where working out can be even quicker. People are getting in killer workouts in just 10-15 minute increments. The reigning king of this type of working out are workouts done at a high intensity for a set interval of time or more familiarly called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). If you are a workout junkie then you have most likely done a type of HIIT exercise at one point or another. You have probably even done another familiar version of a HIIT workout called Tabata. Whether you are drinking the HIIT Kool-aid or the Tabata Kool-aid or are interested in taking a sip, do you have wonder which one might be the optimal choice?
Tabata and HIIT are very similar. In fact, Tabata is a type of HIIT exercise, but HIIT isn’t always Tabata. Their biggest differences are that it comes down to their ratios of work to rest. HIIT workouts are a bit looser in the fact that you can make up your own intervals, there is not a set ratio. It is a system of organizing how you want to push your cardiorespiratory training while allowing periods of active recovery. HIIT training calls for challenging work durations such as sprints for short time frames lasting from 30 seconds to two minutes followed by a set interval of recovery too.
Tabata, however, has more structure in the fact that it is always the same duration of time when it comes to the active and recovery periods. Tabata calls for a challenging cardiovascular duration of 20 seconds, then immediately following a 10 second recovery period. As soon as your 10 seconds is up, you go right back into another 20 seconds of all out. You complete this cycle eight times, which puts the duration at 4 minutes before there is a change in your workout exercise.
So, all in all, you could do a circuit of 30 seconds on and 15 seconds of rest six times and that be called a HIIT workout. You can also do a workout that is 20 seconds on and 15 seconds off eight times and that can also be called HIIT but more actually it would be called a Tabata workout.
When it comes down to figuring out which one is best for you, you need to take a moment and think about your goals. Tabata workouts tend to be made up of simpler exercises because there isn’t a whole lot of time to be active. Air squats work out well for a Tabata but something like Burpee box jumps don’t because you would only get a couple in during each interval. If you are looking to work on the basics and sweat some while increasing your heart rate then Tabata is a great choice. If you are looking to add in more complex exercises, then performing them in a HIIT style would be better.
If you are a runner and want to increase your speed, then a HIIT workout would be better for you. For example, you could set your intervals to 90 seconds of sprints with 30 seconds of rest for 10 cycles. If you are looking to increase your endurance, then picking Tabata would be a great way to challenge yourself to see how many repetitions you can get in without slowing down your pace each cycle. If you are looking to really burn out and fatigue a certain body part, then Tabata would be a great approach for that as well. So when it comes down to it, think about your goals because in the grand scheme of things both ways of working out are very beneficial.