Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training that was created by scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. It calls on an athlete to train 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds off for eight rounds. Doing one exercise, say, mountain climbers, would be tough enough. Although you might not think so at the start of round one, by the time you’re slogging through round eight you’ll know what we mean. Now, if you string a handful of exercises — pushups, mountain climbers, and burpees, for example — you’re going to seriously work the entire body and boost cardio and muscular endurance in a very short period of time.
So that means Tabata is just a fat-loss method, right? Nope. There is a way to include Tabata training into your routine that will promote size gains as well as fat loss. Using the method as a finisher, or the last exercise in your routine, using lighter weight can actually spark hypertrophy (muscle growth) by increasing time under tension and pushing muscle fibers to max fatigue.
In this case, it’d be something like adding a close- or wide-grip bench press on a chest day (8 rounds of 20 seconds for as many reps as possible, resting 10 seconds, and so on). On a leg day, it might be a sumo squat, leg press, or box jump.