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What Is a Tabata Ride?

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One of the best aspects of cycling is the exercise. It’s engaging, gets you out in the great outdoors, and gets you fit quickly, if you put the effort in. However, it isn’t quite so great when the rain starts to pour, or gusts of wind make a riding outside simply unenjoyable. In times like this, wouldn’t it be great to have a bike you could ride indoors?

Enter the Peloton. This is a type of indoor bike, perfect for use on days when you’d really prefer not to go outside. Rather than take a day or two off because of the weather, you’ll be able to keep up your habit of cycling, come rain or shine. That said, if you want to make the most of your indoor cycling, you might want to consider the Tabata ride.

This exercise technique is a high-intensity challenge, one sure to push you to your limits and greatly improve your abilities as a cyclist. But it’s a tough one, and it pays to know the ins and outs of this sort of strenuous exercise to make sure you get the most out of it. This guide to Tabata rides will teach you just that.

What is a Tabata ride?

Tabata is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata in 1996. True to its name, a Tabata workout involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by much less strenuous cooldown periods. The rider will alternate between harsh intervals and recovery periods in a 2:1 ratio, meaning the intense periods are double the length of recovery periods. The initial Tabata format devised at first involved eight rotations of on-off exercise – one 20-second burst of high-intensity exercise, then a 10-second break, repeated eight times. All in all, a traditional Tabata ride would only take four minutes to complete, though it sure won’t feel like it the first time.

One of the key benefits of a Tabata ride is that it can help you to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Because a Tabata workout is so intense, your body will continue to burn calories even after you finish exercising. This effect is known as the afterburn effect, and it can help you to continue burning calories for up to 24 hours after your workout.

Naturally, you don’t have to use the traditional Tabata ride format. The typical duration of HIIT exercises is anywhere between 15-45 minutes, so feel free to switch up the original format to something more suitable for you. Just take care not to overdo it; a Tabata workout is strenuous by nature, and aims to push your limits. Going too hard can cut your workout short, causing you damage and forcing you to take some time off to recover.

Tabata rides: A Challenging Workout

As with any new exercise, you might be wondering exactly how tough a Tabata ride should be. The answer to this question is simple – very. The original Tabata ride was intended to make the rider feel near-absolute fatigue by the seventh rep, with the idea of failing to reach the eighth being a distinct possibility. If you want to use a Tabata ride as a means to exercise and become a strong cyclist, sticking with a harsh format will be the best bet for you. However, you can always tone things down a bit if that’s more your speed.

Also Read: Building a Peloton Workout Plan

Many Tabata ride classes go far beyond the 4-minute mark, often pushing past 30 minutes in duration. While this might sound hellish compared to the traditional 4 minutes, these classes are far less strenuous. Most will have warmup and cooldown periods factored into this time, and you’ll typically have more than just eight reps, with each rep being less intensive than in the original format. If you’d like to build up to the original high-intensity exercise of a Tabata ride, or would simply prefer to have a lighter workout session, this could be a good idea for you.

Tabata Ride Class

Should you do any other workout along with a Tabata ride?

Generally, having various different exercises in your workout routine is a pretty good idea. You’ll exercise more areas of your body, and reap a greater array of health benefits from doing so. However, when using a Tabata ride as a key part of your exercise routine, less is often more.

The traditional 4-minute Tabata ride has been proven to be extremely beneficial in a number of ways. Despite its short duration, one that is significantly shorter than the vast majority of other HIIT workouts, the Tabata ride rivals them in terms of benefits to your fitness. For example, exercising using a Tabata ride for as little as 6-12 weeks can increase your VO2 max by 15%. In other words, this is the amount of oxygen your blood can retain while exercising, improving your aerobic exercise ability. The higher your VO2 max, the easier you’ll find cycling.

This isn’t to say that you won’t get anything out of a less intensive Tabata ride. Fitting one into your workout routine, even if it’s a fairly short and sweet format, will still improve your aerobic ability over time. As with anything, you’ll need to think about what you want to get out of it, then customize your Tabata ride to suit you.

Also Read: Brick Workouts: Are They Right For You?

Fitness benefits of doing a Tabata workout

In addition to increasing your VO2 max, incorporating a Tabata ride into your exercise routine has a host of benefits. If you’re willing to push yourself, you stand to gain the following benefits:

  • Burn calories fast
  • Burn off fat quickly by improving fat oxidation
  • Improve your cycling strength and speed
  • Improve your cycling sprint, pedaling faster for longer
  • Improve your ability to do other aerobic exercises
  • Improve your metabolism

As you can see, there are quite a few benefits to making a Tabata ride a part of your workout routine. What’s more, you get all these benefits and more in as little as 4 minutes. Not bad, if you can stand the pressure.

What is the Difference Between HIIT Ride and Tabata Ride?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata are two popular workout styles that have gained immense popularity in recent years. Both of these workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest, and they are designed to help people burn fat, increase endurance, and improve overall fitness levels.

While these workouts may seem similar, there are some key differences between them that make them unique.

HIIT rides typically involve longer intervals of high-intensity effort, usually lasting between 30 seconds to 2 minutes, followed by periods of active recovery. Tabata rides, on the other hand, are characterized by shorter, more intense intervals, typically lasting only 20 seconds, with even shorter periods of rest.

Another key difference is the structure of the workouts. HIIT rides often follow a pyramid or ladder structure, where the intervals gradually increase in duration before decreasing again. Tabata rides, on the other hand, follow a strict 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off structure for each interval.

Finally, the intensity of the two workouts can also differ. HIIT rides can be adjusted to suit a range of fitness levels, with riders able to adjust the resistance and duration of the intervals to suit their needs. Tabata rides, on the other hand, are often considered more challenging due to the high-intensity intervals and short rest periods, making them better suited for experienced riders.

HIIT Rides:

  • Longer intervals of high-intensity effort
  • Pyramid or ladder structure
  • Adjustable to suit a range of fitness levels

Tabata Rides:

  • Shorter, more intense intervals
  • Strict 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off structure
  • More challenging and better suited for experienced riders

Wrapping up

A Tabata ride is an unforgiving cycling exercise that can be performed indoors, one that will push your body to its limits if done properly. In return, you can expect to see massive improvements in your general fitness and your proficiency as a cyclist. If you feel up for a challenge, why not test your mettle against a Tabata ride next time you’re in the saddle?

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