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Tabata Yoga : History, Benefits & Types

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Most traditional yoga classes may take more than 90 minutes. Some people completely avoid yoga, thinking that they don’t have time for it. Most people don’t know that they can get a quick workout. This is where Tabata Yoga comes into vogue. It is a form of high-intensity yoga that combines asana practice with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), called Tabata.

It may not be the easiest, but the practice of Tabata yoga is one of the most efficient for burning calories. Since it involves the movement of the whole body, the body has a ton of force, which turns into a ton of calorie burn.

Such yoga will make your body to be fit quickly, but you will sweat like crazy. Tabata Yoga has many benefits, and the fact that it is safe and takes less time has attracted many people to try it.

What is Tabata Yoga?

It is a yoga style that brings yoga asana and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) together, called Tabata. Yoga asana combined with Tabata yoga approach improves physical strength and fitness, weight loss, stress reduction and concentration.

History of Tabata Yoga.

Tabata Yoga has its roots in Japan. It’s history goes back to a study conducted by a Japanese scientist named Dr. Izumi Tabata along with other researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. The purpose of this study is to compare the results obtained from two participating groups.(1)

In the first group, there was an hour-long medium-intensity workout for five days per week for a period of 6 weeks.

The second group is engaged in four minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for four days per week for six weeks.

Research established that high-intensity interval training greatly increased aerobic (heart) and anaerobic (muscle) systems. On the other hand, the long-running program involving medium practices failed to achieve the same impressive result, and the results were minimal changes in the anaerobic of participants.(2)

In the 2nd group, the anaerobic system increased by 28%, proving that short-term exercises can actually be effective and powerful. This new knowledge helped to eliminate many stereotypes in the fitness industry.

It is difficult to sustain and such elements of yoga are added to it to make it a little easier for joints and untrained muscles. Since then, several forms of Tabata have been created to target different muscle groups.

Training For Less Time And Getting Better Results.

We have already know that regular yoga is long, which can prevent many people from doing it as it does not promise quick and effective results. So, how is Tabata different from yoga?

Tabata Yoga does not take as long as standard yoga. While it is enough to attract new students alone, it becomes even better to know that this form of yoga is more effective than most regular workouts. Some of the results you can expect are to build your muscles as well as getting rest while doing yoga posture.

Benefits of Tabata Yoga.

1. Increased Lean Body Mass.

Despite the training method, muscle growth in the body remains the same. The pressure of each exercise causes small tears in the tissue, and they need to be cured. In this process, muscle tissue units come close to these small gaps.

It is a continuous process that eventually combines muscle tissue, thus contributing to muscle growth. When practicing tabata, the process is intensified due to more physical exertion and muscle activity.

At the same time, there is a simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain. Tabata yoga leads to better lean mass for fat ratio due to calorie burn unique training style.(3)

2. Low Pressure on Joints.

People who also have the smallest knowledge of HIIT will tell you that it is difficult. Finishing HIIT workout is not a children’s game as it is challenging both physically and psychologically.

It becomes difficult for people who are not used to any kind of exercise, and making a Tabata can put pressure on the joints and cause muscle pain as it is a type of HIIT.

Tabata Yoga, on the other hand, is quite conducive to fitness with the ultimate goal of practicing HIIT workout. This is the correct starting point because when you compare it with other Tabata fusion exercises, Tabata yoga is much more gentle on the joints and back of the body.(4)

3. Better Metabolism.

Tabata Yoga is still intense enough to increase heart rate and accelerate metabolism. Better metabolism is good for the body as it continues even after workout which can contribute to faster fat loss, and leads to a healthy lifestyle. Those seeking better results can see Tabata Yoga Diet Guidelines.(5)

Tabata Yoga for Beginners.

Tabata Yoga is one of the most perfect workouts for beginners to start their fitness journey. Even Tabata yoga has dynamic tricks that can be challenging for beginners.

Those who are trying Tabata Yoga for the first time are advised to start with easy versions of the workout and stay away from versions, such as Tabata exercises with yoga balls.

the length of Tabata workout usually varies from anywhere between 4 minutes and 45 minutes. Usually, the workout is designed to target specific body parts. It is good to go for normal low-impact Tabata workouts and then focus on specific routines such as abs and core strength.(6)

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Tabata yoga is easy as a pie for beginners. Your body will burn calories and will work on targeted calories without hurting your knees, joints and back.

Tabata Yoga Workout.

There are many types of Tabata yoga workouts. Some are designed for a 21-day and 30-day Tabata yoga challenge. It doesn’t matter what type of choice you choose because they are all to tone muscles and take care of the body.

Primarily, the goal is to make as many repetition as you can in a 20-second cycle. The easier it may sound, but exercising intensely and too fast for 20 seconds can be lasts for longer.

So there is a rest period of 10 seconds. Each round should be repeated at least two to four times to get the best results.

Some of the most effective Tabata yoga tricks that do not require a device and can be done anywhere include the following;

1. Crouching Push-Up.

Crouching Push Up
Crouching Push Up Image Source: The Super Sweaty 30-Day Arm Challenge That Will Sculpt Your Strongest Arms Ever
  • Start with a high plank position and then go down in a push-up position.
  • As you push your chest away from the ground, bend your knees so you step on your heel. Your arms should be straight, and your hands should not change their position on the ground.
  • Shift weight before returning to the starting position.
  • Complete 20 seconds as many reps is possible and 10 seconds for rest.

2. Lateral Lunge To Rotate Open.

Lateral Lunge To Rotate Open
Lateral Lunge To Rotate Open Image Source: Lunge Variations
  • Make a lateral lounge on your right leg but do it very slowly. Your hands should be on the ground, while your left leg is spread sideways and the toe is upwards.
  • Raise your left hand straight upwards, moving your chest to the left. Return your hand to the ground.
  • Move your hands to the left and change your foot while shifting weight as you carry your weight to the left side lunge. Move your right hand upwards, moving your chest to the right.
  • Place your hands on the ground and repeat the exercise for alternative sides.

3. Lunge To Forward Hop.

jumping lunges
Lunge To Forward Hop
  • Move one step back into the left leg lunge with your right foot.
  • Jump on the right leg as you bring your left leg from your heel to the glutes.
  • Jump back to the lunge position of the original left foot.

4. Side Plank Toe Tap.

Side Plank Toe Tap
Side Plank Toe Tap Image Source: Side Plank Toe Touch
  • Start with a high side plank position on your right hand, raise your left hand over the head and with biceps while touching your ear.
  • Bring down your left hand as you lift the left leg straight so they tap together just above the torso.
  • Repeat from the beginning for alternative sides.
  • Complete 20 seconds for as many reps is possible and 10 seconds for rest.

It is common to do one type of exercise for the first four rounds and then a separate exercise for the next four rounds. You are then advised to pose for rest yoga in a span of 10 seconds so that your muscles can relax and get ready for the next round.

Read Now: Unique Types of Plank Exercise and Its Benefits

A 30-Day Tabata Yoga Challenge.

It is one of the fitness challenges of 30 days which is very intense. This challenge does not require any equipment in which you will practice HIIT for four weeks.

Each of the four weeks has four high-intensity exercises designed to make you experience a full-body explosion that you have probably never experienced. A normal Tabata workout fashion has four tricks that last for 20 seconds, then you rest for 10 seconds, but in this 30-day Tabata yoga, more rounds are added with each day.

For example, you will have four rounds of four exercises on the first day, six rounds on the second day, nine rounds on the third day, twelve rounds on the fourth day, do as many reps is possible on the fifth day, and then relax or do some less intensive exercise on the sixth and seventh days. Below is a sample of the 30-day Tabata Yoga Challenge program;

Week 1

The first week will have workout exercises such as squat to punch, push-up + hand/night tap, ice skater to forward jump, and boat hold cycle.

1. Squat To Punch.

Squat Punch
Squat To Punch Image Source: How to Do a Sumo Squat Punch 

Keep your feet separated from the shoulder-width, and the toes are outwards. Shift to a squat position and punch your right hand to the left on your torso as you return to standing together. Alternative punches with each squat on reps.

2. Push Up With Hand/Knee Tap.

Push Up With Hand/Knee Tap
Push Up With Hand/Knee Tap

Crunch your right knee to your right elbow while doing push up. Do the same for alternative sideways.

3. Ice Skater To Jump Forward.

Ice Skater To Jump Forward
Ice Skater To Jump Forward

Jump to the right, then jump forward and back, then to the left. To repeat.

Read Now: How To Plan Your Weekly Exercise Routine As a Beginner

4. Boat Hold Bicycle.

Boat Hold Bicycle
Boat Hold Bicycle Image Source: seated bicycle exercise

Sit on the ground, place your hands behind your head and then raise your feet in front of you. Bend your torso so that the opposite elbow touches the opposite knee. Repeat for the alternate sides.

Week 2.

On the week two circuit exercises will be include like rotating sumo squat jumps, plank jack push-ups, forward jumps + 2 to 1 jump back and hollow hold to the knee.

1. Rotating Sumo Squat Jumps.

Sumo Squat
Sumo Squat Jumps

Start by standing with your legs separated from the shoulder-width. Follow this step while squatting moving your body 45 degrees left and then jump back towards the center. Then, rotate your body 45 degrees to the right while squatting. Jump back to the center and repeat as alternate sides.

2. Plank Jack Push-ups.

Plank Jack Tabata Yoga
Plank Jack Push Ups

Take a high plank position and bring your body down to the ground to bring your hands and feet into the shape of a star. Move the hands and feet back to a high position. Repeat the same.

Read Now: Leg Press Exercise- Steps, Advantages and Mistakes

3. Forward Jumps + 2 To 1 Jump Back.

Forward Jumps + 2 To 1 Jump Back
Forward Jumps + 2 To 1 Jump Back Image Source: Forward Jump Shuffle Back

This circuit session begins with your legs standing with your shoulders and width apart. Take an explosive jump forward and then get into a squat position. As soon as you bring your left leg into the squat, make a slight jump on the right leg.

Then jump on the left foot and bring your right leg down to the squat. To repeat.

Keep the knee hollow inward. Lie down on the ground and lie down upwards with your hands straight behind your head and then raise your feet.

Move your right knee up to the torso and rotate your arms to meet your knee. Return your legs and torso down to the ground, and then bring your left knee to your torso as you rotate your arms again to meet your knee.

Week 3.

In the third week, HIIT practices include forward star jump, push-up to bridge open, lateral hop to high knee and hollow hold circle up to rotation.

1. Forward Star Jumps.

Star Jack Tabata Yoga
Forward Star Jumps

As you bend your knees, stand up and bring your feet together. Place your hands between your feet and jump forward as you move your arms up in the shape of a star. Then jump back to the original position and repeat.

2. Push-up to Bridge Open.

Push-up to Bridge Open Tabata Yoga
Push-up to Bridge Open Image Source: A Bodyweight Exercise to Prevent Back Pain and Shoulder Pain

Get into the push-up position and rest your body on the ground. Turning your torso to the right, push back into the push-up position so that your right hand and foot are in the air. Return to a high position and do the same on your left.

3. Lateral Hop To High Knee.

High Knee
Lateral Hop To High Knee

When standing, jump to the left and quickly lift your knees up to the chest so that you can return to the centre. Jump to the right and repeat.

4. Hollow Hold Circle Up To Rotation.

Hollow Hold Circle Up To Rotation Tabata Yoga
Hollow Hold Circle Up To Rotation

Sit on the ground, raise your arms straight behind you and raise your feet. Raise your torso, so that your knees can touch your chest, and swing your hands to meet. Bend your torso to touch your hands to the right of the ground. Bring your hands to the center, then repeat the sides alternately.

Week 4.

For the past week, Squat to Knee Drive and Punch, Push-Up to Reverse Hand/Toe Tap, Lunge Switch to Kick, and again Hollow Hold to Circle Up will be in the final week.

1. Squat To Knee Drive And Punch.

Squat To Knee Drive And Punch Tabata Yoga
Squat To Knee Drive And Punch Image Source: Bodyweight Cardio Exercises for Injury Prevention

Keep your feet separated from the shoulder-width, and your toes are forward. Get down in a squat position and punch your right hand to your torso as you lift your left leg up to the chest. Switch side and repeat the same.

2. Push Up To The Opposite Hand/Toe.

Push Up To The Opposite Hand/Toe
Push Up To The Opposite Hand/Toe Image Source: Pushup w/ Opposite Hand Touch

Get into the push-up position and rest your body on the ground. Hit your left leg on the torso to touch your right hand. Return to the initial position and repeat.

3. Lunge Switch To Kick.

Lunge Switch To Kick Tabata Yoga
Lunge Switch To Kick Image Source: How To Do Kick Through Lunge

Move your left leg back into the reverse lounge. Then quickly switch your legs by kicking your right leg in front. Then start to move your right leg to a reverse lunge position behind you. To repeat.

4. Hold Hollow To Circle Up.

Lie down on the ground with your arms straight behind you. Raise your legs and then raise your torso so that the knees can touch your chest. Rotate your hands to meet between your feet. Rest your back on the ground and repeat.

Tabata Yoga Warnings.

Tabata Yoga Challenges are mostly linked to the high intensity workout. There is always some risk involved when you do high-impact exercises. If you follow basic and simple safety rules, you can continue to enjoy your training, get good results, and have fun at the same time.

Here are some useful tips to keep you safe when you focus on shaping your body.

1. Proper Warm-Up And Cool Down.

Always take some time out to warm up well and cool down before and after the workout. In such a situation, your body will be fully prepared for training and the chances of any injury will be close to zero.

2. Make Sure Your Body Is Ready.

Make an honest self-assessment. Is your body ready for high-impact exercises? If you’ve never did HIIT before, the answer may not be.

So, start with small steps and do low impact exercises before being strong enough to accept the Tabata yoga challenge. You can also discuss your intention to do Tabata yoga program with your doctor for peace of mind.

Read Now: 10 Natural Weight Loss Tips Without Gym or Exercise

3. Keep Full Details.

Do your research and learn everything you need to know about this program and what it provides. You will be more motivated when you know what awaits you and will face them confidently when you face the challenges.

4. Start With Modified Version.

Tabata yoga can also work for beginners when they know where to start. If you are a novice, talk to your instructor and prepare a revised version of the exercises that are best suited for your case. This will help to prepare your body for more intensive exercises.

5. Add a Healthy Diet Plan.

Nutrition is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle. HIIT requires a lot of energy and to ensure you have the right amount, you need to follow a balanced, protein-rich diet and eventually be able to reach your fitness goals.

Bottom Line.

At first glance, Tabata yoga may seem unrealistic, especially as it is a mixture of opposite approaches. However, it has proved effective for weight loss and fitness purposes. It’s great for people who are willing to exercise and who don’t have time to spend hours in the gym. It is extremely challenging for people who are new to working out but as they get used to it, they will start appreciating the results.

Author Profile

Written by Uttam- (M.Com, Fitness Trainer)
Completed Certified Personal Fitness Trainer Course from American  Council on Exercise with 10 years of experience. View author's certificates.

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