Tabata for MMA Fighters

In today’s fitness world, an exhausting and long-lasting workout session might not be the most efficient use of time.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is considered better than spending several hours on cyclical aerobic exercise or treadmill because you have a completely new training perspective.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of HIIT over boring and long-lasting workout sessions. Moreover, we will discuss what is Tabata for MMA fighters?


What Is HIIT? 

It is a high-intensity workout in which you enter the anaerobic energy supplying state. It means you are coming in such a state where your working muscles won’t get enough oxygen from the cardiovascular system. 

It is called an anaerobic type of energy supply. Due to this reason, these HIIT workouts are short-lasting. They are done at a maximum of 80 to 100%, and they can still be very taxing for your body. On the other hand, these workouts are the ultimate training tool for building strength and endurance. Some of the major benefits of HIIT are:

  • Improved Endurance
  • Time-saving workout
  • Increase in VO2 max
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Increased fat burning than aerobic training. 

What is Tabata?

Tabata is a part of the HIIT family, and Izumi Tabata is the father of the Tabata. He, along with his partner, conducted a study in 1996 to measure different training methods and their effects on anaerobic capacities and VO2 max numbers. 28% gains in anaerobic capacities were observed from the initial state. Moreover, they concluded that HIIT workouts improve both anaerobic and aerobic capacities. 

They constructed 20 seconds long working intervals at the intensity of 170% of VO2 max. After 20 seconds of the workout, there will be a rest of 10 seconds. In Tabata, 8 intervals of workout and rest have to be done. After doing all this, your one Tabata round is complete. It has lots of proven scientific benefits. 

Moreover, it affects your health and conditioning level. The most important thing about this method is its simplicity. For starting Tabata, you don’t need to have any equipment. You can start if you have a stopwatch. 

Tabata MMA Workout

Tabata is an aggressive training approach and exhausts your body fuel to the last drop. If you are a beginner to MMA, you are not recommended to start with this method. Some other high-intensity interval training principles can be implemented in beginner’s training. On the other hand, if you are an advanced MMA practitioner, you are welcome to start training Tabata. For getting used to timer and intervals, you can start with easy bodyweight exercises. Your starting point routine must look like:

  • Plank
  • Lunge
  • Squat
  • Push up

You can alternate your exercises in 20/10 intervals. It means you will perform the workout for 20 seconds and then take a rest of 10 seconds. You will have to complete 8 exercises for completing one round. You can start with 3 training rounds, and you can take a rest of 2 to 3 minutes between each round.

Some practitioners are more advanced and they find this routine much easy, so that they can follow some intermediate Tabata workout suggestions, such as:

  • 2 hand Kettlebell swing
  • 2 hand Kettlebell overhead press
  • 2 hand Kettlebell rowing
  • 2 hand Kettlebell farmers walk

You will have to perform only three rounds of these activities, and you will feel your muscles burning. Remember, these activities or exercises are for advanced practitioners. 

There are some Tabata exercises for elite practitioners as well, such as 

  • High kick – Low kick
  • Focusers boxing
  • Throwing simulations with elastic bands
  • Dummy throw

Elite practitioners must plan their endurance workouts depending on their specific match tactics. Some practitioners will only require 3 to 5 rounds, and some will need 5 or more Tabata rounds to get an endurance kick. Don’t forget to keep good rest time between your MMA Tabata circuits. 

Why Tabata Protocol Is Important for MMA Fighters

Tabata protocol is crucial for the conditioning and performance of MMA fighters and trainers. When planning training sessions for fighters, it is important to look for their routine. How much MMA fighters move and how their competition moves? Moreover, look for the timings of the game. When we look from a conditioning standpoint, fighters need to perform short bursts of intense actions. These short bursts of intense workout need some rest. Fighters use a combination of lower intensity and high-intensity workouts for overall endurance and conditioning. Moreover, they need lower intensity training for strength. 

The best method and workout for MMA fighters for conditioning and performance is Tabata. It is used for fat oxidation. It follows a 2:1 ratio means 20 second’s of exercise and 10 second’s rest. Tabata is an excellent workout for fight conditioning and fat loss. Moreover, fighters can use compound movements like push presses and squats for cardio conditioning. 

By training Tabata, you can hit all muscle fiber types. “All out sprint and jog” are short bursts and condition the nervous system of fighters. More importantly, you can modify Tabata, but traditionally it has 8 rounds of ‘20 second sprints and 10-second jog.’ It means it is 4 minutes workout. As mentioned earlier, fighters can modify it according to their level and needs. They can perform multiple 4 minutes round. 

Moreover, expert or elite practitioners can perform different exercises. Tabata can be used in infinite ways for programming fighters. So, follow the different ways of Tabata training and enjoy various benefits. 


People are curious about Tabata and want to know how it can help fighters improve performance and conditioning? It is a short burst workout, but it is a high-intensity workout. It is used for the oxidation of fats. It offers lots of scientific and health benefits. Moreover, it has different levels, and each practitioner can choose according to his needs and level. However, if you are a beginner to MMA, stay away from Tabata because it won’t be easy for you. 

Sky Hoon. About
Martial Art Fan
He started his love on martial arts by watching MMA and Angela Lee. He then started this blog to learn more about the different martial arts.
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