They say that the family that eats together stays together, but what if eating together has led to the dreaded relationship weight gain? Instead why not try out a new phrase? The couple that workout together stays together (but still eat together too!).
The TABATA training protocol is a form of High Intensity Interval Training that was created by Izumi Tabata in 1996. The idea is to perform 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by a 10 second rest. This is one cycle, and the protocol involves eight cycles for a total of 4 minutes.
TABATA works best when it is performed without weights, using bodyweight exercises. The main benefits of TABATA training are the effects on both the aerobic and anaerobic energy releasing systems . Using TABATA training could help not only with fat loss but could also improve performance in a number of sports, particularly those that require both energy systems (basketball or soccer for example).
High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to double endurance capacity  and produce rapid adaptations in skeletal muscle . Another study found that short bouts of HIIT can increase the amount of oxygen that your muscles can store (known as muscle oxidative capacity) to the same degree as traditional aerobic training . It has also been proven to be an effective fat-burner, particularly in overweight people . Also, one study found that post-exercise energy expenditure was higher with HIIT than with either cardio sessions or weights .
This is without even going into the practical benefits of TABATA training, it is easy to set up (you just need a stopwatch or specific app on your phone), it can be performed in a very short period of time, and requires no equipment such as weights, treadmills, or cable stations. This makes for a perfect 30 minute workout at home.
How to perform TABATA together
Firstly, any TABATA program could be done by couples without making any changes, just perform your workouts together. Simple huh? But why not take this a step further? You can perform exercises that involve each other.
For example one of you can perform a press up whilst the other holds your feet in the air, they can perform squats whilst doing this. The benefits of this are that the person performing the press up has to deal with the increased resistance, while the person performing the squats also has to engage their core to keep the partner’s legs up.
Other ways that you can perform exercises together can involve using your partner as the weight for squats or deadlifts. Performing triceps dips off each other, and if all of that was too difficult you can take turns being each others’ personal trainer.
How to Get Started
Want in on these workouts? Click here to download a free eBook with 10 fool-proof couple workouts. It contains everything you need to know to start doing partner workouts, plus exercises for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels and a really fun warm up exercise performed to the song Roxanne by The Police.
- Tabata, I., Irisawa, K., Kouzaki, M., Nishimura, K., Ogita, F., Miyachi, M. 1997. Metabolic profile of high intensity intermittent exercises. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 29(3): 390-395
- Burgomaster, K., Hughes, S., Heigenhauser, G., Bradwell, S., Gibala, M. 1985. Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 98(6): 1985-90
- Gibala, M., Little, J., van Essen, M., Wilkin, G., Burgomaster, K., Safdar, A., Raha, S., Tarnopolski, M. 2006. Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance. The Journal of Physiology 15;575(Pt 3): 901-11
- Burgomaster, K., Howarth, K., Phillips, S., Rakobowchuk, M., Macdonald, M., McGee, S., Gibala, M. 2008. Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. The Journal of Physiology 586(1): 151-60
- Zhang, H., Tong, T., Qui, W., Wang, J., Nie, J., He, Y. 2015. EFFECT OF HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING PROTOCOL ON ABDOMINAL FAT REDUCTION IN OVERWEIGHT CHINESE WOMEN: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL. Kinesiology 47(1): 57-66
- Gillette, C., Bullough, R., Melby, C. 1994. Postexercise energy expenditure in response to acute aerobic or resistive exercise. International Journal of Sports Nutrition 4(4): 347-60