The Power of “Tabata Scoring” During Your Workouts

Without a personal trainer, most people do not get to push their training to an effective level. By using a Tabata protocol, your Tabata timer becomes your coach and trainer. That’s why this form of exercise is so effective.

But how do you know if your training is improving or if your workout intensity is consistent?

This is where Tabata “scoring” becomes useful. The Tabata score is simply the lowest number of repetitions during your Tabata workout. For example, if you’re doing Tabata pushups and your reps are as follows:

Round 1 | 20 Seconds | 20 Repetitions
Round 2 | 20 Seconds | 20 Repetitions
Round 3 | 20 Seconds | 18 Repetitions
Round 4 | 20 Seconds | 16 Repetitions
Round 5 | 20 Seconds | 18 Repetitions
Round 6 | 20 Seconds | 15 Repetitions
Round 7 | 20 Seconds | 14 Repetitions
Round 8 | 20 Seconds | 12 Repetitions

Your Tabata score in this case is 12.

What are the benefits of Tabata scoring?

Firstly, It gives you a benchmark score to try and achieve or exceed each time you workout. This ensures each workout is at a consistent intensity.

Second, you will develop a personal best score for each of your main exercises. This lets you know if you’re actually getting stronger or fitter over time.

Finally, by knowing your abilities, you learn to pace yourself so that you do not end up not being able to complete all 8 rounds of the Tabata routine.

Here’s a video showing some experienced athletes pacing their repetitions on a Tabata pushup routine.

A key strategy you will notice is to stop before the 20 seconds is up in the first few rounds once the target repetitions is hit. If you push yourself too much in the first few rounds, you may risk not having enough energy to complete the later rounds or having rounds with very low repetitions towards the end.

Tabata scoring works best with single Tabata routines. For example, they’re great for:

  • Burpees
  • Pushups
  • Chin Ups
  • Squats

So if you’re, not already doing so, start taking down your Tabata scores for a few key routines to benchmark your workouts.

Crossfit “Tabata This”!

“Tabata This” is the name of a classic Crossfit workout-of-the-day (WOD).

The 4 Tabata exercises and sequence of this workout is as follows:

  • Tabata Row
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata Squat
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata Pull-up
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata Push-up
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Tabata Sit-up

So to be clear:

You do 8 sets of 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest for rowing; then you rest one minute; then you do 8 sets of 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for squats; then you rest one minute, then you do 20 seconds on/ 10 seconds off for pull ups, etc.

The whole workout should take 24 minutes (4 minutes per Tabata interval per exercise, 1 minute of rest between exercise).

Now for clarification on the scoring:

The Tabata score is the least number of reps performed in any of the eight intervals. For rowing, the unit that is measured is “calories”. So for example – let’s say in your 8 rounds of pull ups, the lowest number was on your last round where you did 8, then your score for pull ups is 8.

Now let’s see how your scores stack up compared to these guys:

Special Note:

If you don’t have a rower, you can substitute that with sumo-dealift high pulls with 45 pounds for men and 30 pounds for women. Take the bar from mid shin to under your chin.