Tabata Training on the Exercise Bike for Beginners

Add Tabata training to your cycling routine for a quick, effective workout.
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Tabata training is a high-intensity, go-all-out, sweat-your-butt-off type of training. If you enjoy working hard and seeing results, add Tabata training to your cycling routine. Dr. Izumi Tabata worked with the national speed-skating team of Japan in the mid-1990s. Tabata gets the credit for developing the high-intensity training program that uses work-rest intervals to reduce workout time and increase fitness levels. Easy to add to your workout, Tabata training elevates your cardiovascular health, aids in weight loss and builds lean muscle tissue.

Heart Rate Calculation

    Step 1

    Determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 25 years of age, your MHR is 195.

    Step 2

    Multiply your MHR by 0.80 to determine the low-end heart rate for your Tabata intervals.

    Step 3

    Spend a few weeks or months training aerobically, or below your 80-percent heart rate range, to prepare your mind and body for the Tabata training. Ride your exercise bike for 20 to 30 minutes at a time and between three and five days a week. Use your aerobic workout for four to eight weeks to build up your legs, heart and lungs for the higher-intensity training.

Tabata Training

    Step 1

    Set up your bike using the manufacturer's recommendations to avoid injury or discomfort. Use a bike that has an adjustable resistance.

    Step 2

    Begin with an eight-minute warm-up. Start slowly and use light resistance. Increase your speed and/or resistance level gradually every minute until you start to break a sweat. You should be at a predetermined 80 percent of your MHR. Locate your pulse on the side of your neck or the thumb underside of your wrist. Count the beats you feel in 10 seconds and multiply the result by six. Increase your intensity if you are not near the 80-percent rate.

    Step 3

    Quickly increase your intensity by elevating your resistance or speeding up your pace. Aim to take your heart rate to your MHR. Remain at this intensity for 20 seconds.

    Step 4

    Quickly decrease your intensity to your warm-up level. Remain at this pace for 10 seconds.

    Step 5

    Repeat steps 3 and 4 eight times for a total of four minutes and one Tabata intensity cycle.

    Step 6

    Pedal at a reduced intensity level to lower your heart rate to your pre-workout levels. Cool down for five to eight minutes.


    • Use two or three Tabata cycles as your fitness level improves. Change the way you increase the intensity. For example, increase your speed for your first cycle, increase the resistance for your second and stand up for your third.


    • Speak with your doctor before you begin any training program that elevates your heart rate to near maximum levels. If you feel uncomfortable, lower the intensity level and cool down.

    Things You'll Need

    • Exercise bike

    • Timer

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