What is Tabata?
Tabata was devised in 1996 by a Japanese coach Izumi Tabata. It is a form of fitness training that involves high intensity interval training workouts. The interval training workouts last for 4 minutes and are broken up as 20 seconds of hard work following by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times.
The original study proved that bursts of high intensity interval training with short rests showed a much increased rate of improvement in athletes’ aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) energy systems.
Athletes using tabata training were found to have increased speed and endurance during races.
Kids tabata training is very effective for the following reasons:
- it is completed in 4 minutes
- it can be done multiple times when adequate rest is allowed
- it does not require large amounts of equipment or space
The most traditional way of doing a kids tabata training session is to have the children run. The 4 minutes is broken into 20 seconds of maximum running effort followed by 10 seconds of walking repeated 8 times.
The key to kids tabata training is to ensure that the 20 seconds of work is done as a maximum effort. Sub maximal effort will not see the full benefits of this training technique.
Sports coaches need to remember that high intensity interval training workouts aren’t always appropriate for beginners. When introducing the tabata training method sports coaches may wish to allow the athletes to work at a reduced effort during the 20 second period.
Kids tabata training, like high intensity interval training workouts need to be carefully planned into the weekly training program. Depending on the sport or activity, 3 to 4 sessions per week could be planned once sports coaches are satisfied athletes have a sufficient fitness level to benefit fully from tabata. Sport coaches should always ensure junior athletes have participated in a vigorous warm up before a kids tabata session is attempted.
Coaches should feel confident enough to tweak tabata sessions to suit groups of athletes of differing abilities, as not all club athletes will have the same level of endurance.