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Are Tabata and HIIT Same?

Exercise is important for each individual. It provides numerous mental and physical benefits. A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day is required for everyone to maintain health and wellness(1)

With the lack of time, most of the people opt for high-intensity exercises, which, in a small interval of time help in burning maximum calories.

Tabata and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) are both high-intensity training and help in burning a high number of calories. They differ in style and the way they are performed.

These interval training are known to increase epinephrine and norepinephrine that are known to enhance lipolysis (fat breakdown) during activity.

Both Tabata and HIIT are similar in a couple of ways:

  • Both the exercise use maximum efforts over a short period of time and involve brief rests
  • Both burn fat, improve endurance and speed weight loss

Are Tabata and HIIT Same?

Tabata and HIIT differ in the way they are performed. The major difference lies in the length and intensity of the intervals.

Tabata Training

Tabata is a style of high-intensity training discovered by a Japanese professor in 1996. It was originally created to train the Olympic speed skaters.

Tabata involves the same high-intensity exercises for 4 minutes. There are eight rounds of 20 seconds workout with 10 seconds rest. Even just 2 rounds i.e. 8 minutes of Tabata are enough to burn fat and get the endorphins going. More rounds are added to level up the fitness.

For example, 2 round of Tabata involving key bodyweight exercises i.e. the squats and push-ups can be done in the following way.

  • Squat Tabata: Start with squats and do 8 rounds with 20 seconds of workout and 10 seconds of rest. After the eight rounds complete rest for one minute.
  • Push-up Tabata: Start doing push-ups for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds till 8 intervals.

This way an 8 minutes Tabata is completed. You can add more reps or rounds depending on your capacity.


Just like Tabata, HIIT also provides an excellent workout in a short interval of time. It involves a variety of workouts that includes a short burst of powerful movements, with regular short resting periods.

The basic idea is to push you to a limit for a short period of time rather than spending half an hour doing moderate exercise.

In HIIT you do a particular set of exercises such as 20 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees, and 20 Russian twists, as quickly as possible. Then after a short rest repeat them. Do the three rounds of the sequence and record the time. Next time you start this work out try and break the previous record.

  • The exercise can be changed until you find a style that suits you the best.
  • These exercises are not only great for weight loss but also good for cardiovascular health.

Tabata or HIIT, Which Is A Better Option For Fitness?

Tabata and HIIT, both are great options for fat burning and muscle building. The hormonal and cardio impact of both exercises is thought to be playing a role in burning calories and fat loss. Both the workouts can allow the body to keep burning calories even after the workout is done. This is known as the afterburn effect.

It is best to switch exercises or even you can alternate between Tabata and HIIT for more effective results.

You can give a try to both the exercise forms, Tabata and HIIT, and look on to which suits your needs and abilities the best. You can pair them up with a healthy diet and see how it works wonders for the body.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 3, 2020

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