What’s the difference between HIIT and Tabata?

What’s the difference between HIIT and Tabata?


TOM HOLLAND IS a Connecticut-based exercise physiologist, certified sports nutritionist, and CEO and founder of TeamHolland. Holland explains everything you need to know about HIIT and Tabata.

Men’s Fitness: What’s the difference between HIIT and Tabata?

Tom Holland: When I coach people for Ironman, marathons, running, or any type of aerobic activity, HIIT allows athletes to get more work at a higher intensity than if they did it steady-state. By having those rest intervals, you spend more time in the upper end of aerobic capacity, whereas you wouldn’t be able to do that if you tried to do 10 minutes of really high-intensity exercises. It’s going to have positive physiological adaptations, including improved fat-burning, insulin sensitivity, and skeletal muscle oxidation.

Here are the details about HIIT and Tabata training. The differences are that rest and work periods in Tabata are shorter compared to HIIT, and Tabata pushes the limit on the percentage of your maximum heart rate.

The facts about Tabata

Work:  20 seconds
Rest: 10 seconds
Heart rate: Above 100% (Subjects in the original study trained at 170% of VO2 max)
Total workout time: 4 minutes