The love hate relationship we have with HIIT and Tabata are equally as strong.
We love the results they give us but curse after each beep of the timer to cue the next interval.
However both types of training may not be for everyone. HIIT training stands for high intense interval training. This type of training includes very intense periods of work followed by short periods of rest.
A HIIT session encompasses whatever duration of time needed to achieve your fitness goals. This could range from 1 minute on, 20 seconds rest then repeated 10x for 3 sets, or, 45 seconds on paired with 15 seconds rest for 5 sets, are just 2 examples of what a HIIT workout would look like. The HIIT training workout you create will depend on your individualized needs and goals. The duration of work vs. rest will be tailored to the goal of the workout. The exercises will typically include cardio or body type exercises to use major muscle groups but depending on the goal and duration of the workout any exercise could be included in this type of training as long as you continue to move for the entire round while increasing your heart rate.
HIIT training is not for someone with a heart condition or on mediation because it will cause your heart rate to rise quickly in a shorter amount of time. Raising your heart rate upwards to 85% of your heart rate reserve to see the benefits of HIIT training on a cellular level and improve your body composition is key. Tabata is a specific type of HIIT training designed to see if athletes would benefit from these 20/10 sessions repeated eight times equaling a total of 4 minutes. Dr. Izumi Tabata, Japanese physician, researcher & creator of the Tabata method found that individuals that practiced this Tabata method over a six week period improved both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
Tabata is a specific type of HIIT where HITT is a more general term for various types of interval training. Ultimately HIIT is used as a cardio based workout that will include muscle building and an increase in metabolism for up to 24 hours after your session. HIIT is good for someone that is looking for an alternative to cardio and boosts their overall fitness level. A beginner or advanced can engage in this type of training when taken at their own pace. Tabata is more specific and is intended to improve an athlete's anaerobic and aerobic fitness levels. The overall structure of this method is more intense.
In conclusion, Tabata is a specific interval structure where HIIT can include multiple structures.
Creating the correct session to match your needs and goals is the key to finding what works best for you.