Tabata cycling is a high-intensity interval training that allows you to cycle spontaneously with strength and power within a span of four minutes. There’s plenty to learn about the exercise bike Tabata workouts so read further and find out how you can maximise your fitness plan.

woman explaining cycling tabata workout

What is Tabata Training in Cycling?

Tabata training is a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves repeated 20-second intervals of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. A typical Tabata cycling workout consists of 3 sets of 8 intervals, for a total of 4 minutes of work.

The intensity of the intervals should be at or above your lactate threshold, which is the point at which your body begins to produce lactic acid faster than it can be removed.

Tabata training has been shown to be an effective way to improve cycling performance, particularly in terms of anaerobic capacity and VO2 max. It can also help to burn fat and build muscle.

However, Tabata training is a demanding workout, so it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your intervals over time.

physically fit women

The Tabata Cycling Workout

Tabata cycling is a great way to burn calories and improve your overall fitness. The goal of Tabata cycling is to improve your anaerobic capacity and VO2 max.

This can be done by performing short, high-intensity intervals of cycling followed by short periods of rest. You will need to complete 8 intervals of 20-second high-intensity intervals with 10-second breaks.

How to Perform Tabata Cycling Workout

  1. Warm up for 5-10 minutes at a moderate pace.
  2. Do 3 sets of 8 intervals of 20 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
  3. The intensity of your efforts should be such that you can only maintain them for 20 seconds.
  4. You should be breathing heavily and your heart rate should be elevated during the 20-second intervals.
  5. Rest for 10 seconds between intervals.
  6. After 3 sets, cool down for 5-10 minutes at a moderate pace.


Pacing is important in Tabata cycling workouts because it allows you to give your all during each interval without burning out too quickly.

If you go too hard too soon, you won’t be able to sustain the intensity throughout the workout. On the other hand, if you don’t go hard enough, you won’t get the full benefits of the workout.

The key to pacing in Tabata cycling workouts is to find a level of intensity that you can sustain for the entire 4 minutes of the workout. This may take some trial and error, but once you find your sweet spot, you’ll be able to get the most out of your workouts.

Workout Length

A traditional Tabata cycling workout is 4 minutes long and consists of 8 rounds of 20 seconds of maximum-intensity cycling followed by 10 seconds of rest.

This means that you are working out at your absolute hardest for 20 seconds, then taking a 10-second break, and repeating this cycle 8 times. After the 8 rounds, you should take a 2-minute cool-down.


The following is an example of a Tabata cycling workout:

Warm-up: 5 minutes at a moderate pace (60-70 RPM)

Tabata intervals:

  • Interval 1: 20 seconds at maximum effort (80-90 RPM)
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Interval 2: 20 seconds at maximum effort (80-90 RPM)
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Interval 3: 20 seconds at maximum effort (80-90 RPM)
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Interval 4: 20 seconds at maximum effort (80-90 RPM)
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Interval 5: 20 seconds at maximum effort (80-90 RPM)
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Cool down: 5 minutes at a moderate pace (60-70 RPM)
woman and HIIT cycling

How Often Should You Do Tabata Cycling?

How often you should do Tabata cycling depends on your fitness level and fitness goals. If you are new to HIIT, you should start by doing Tabata cycling once a week. As you get fitter, you can increase the frequency to 2-3 times per week.

It is important to note that Tabata cycling is a demanding workout. If you are not used to high-intensity exercise, you should start by doing a shorter workout and gradually increase the duration over time.

woman burns calories

Six Benefits of Tabata Cycling

1. Burns Calories Even After Workout

Tabata cycling helps you burn calories even after your workout. This is due to the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect.

EPOC is the amount of extra oxygen your body needs to use to recover from exercise. After a Tabata cycling workout, your EPOC can be elevated for up to 24 hours, which means you will continue to burn calories even after you stop cycling.

2. Boosts Metabolism

Tabata cycling works by forcing your body to work harder than it’s used to. This triggers your anaerobic energy system, which uses stored energy to fuel your muscles.

When your anaerobic energy system is depleted, your body has to switch to your aerobic energy system, which uses oxygen to fuel your muscles. This switchover process takes a few minutes, during which time your metabolism is elevated.

3. It is Time-Saving

The short and intense workout in Tabata cycling can be done in as little as 4 minutes, making it a time-efficient way to get a great workout.

4. Increases Lean Mass

Tabata cycling increases lean mass by increasing the intensity of your workouts. Tabata workouts involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of rest.

This type of training helps to build muscle by breaking down muscle fibres and then allowing them to repair and rebuild themselves stronger.

5. Increases Aerobic and Anaerobic Fitness Levels

Tabata cycling helps to improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels by challenging your body to produce energy in both ways. The intense cycling during the 20-second intervals helps to improve your aerobic fitness, while the short rest periods between intervals help to improve your anaerobic fitness.

In 2017, Imanudin and Sultoni conducted an experiment at the Indonesia University of Education with eighteen students.

The researchers compared the VO2max of the students before and after Tabata training and found that it increased by an average of 2.8 mL/(kg·min). They concluded that Tabata training significantly helps increase aerobic capacity.

6. Improve Flexibility

This type of strength training can help to improve flexibility by increasing the range of motion and breaking down muscle tissue. As the muscle tissue repairs itself, it becomes stronger and more flexible.

In addition, the increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles that occurs during Tabata cycling can also help to improve flexibility.

cycling on spin bike to lose weight

Can You Lose Weight with Tabata Cycling?

You can lose weight with Tabata cycling.

Australian researcher Stephen H. Boutcher from the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales completed a study in 2010.

He found that people who did Tabata cycling for 20 minutes three times a week for eight weeks lost more weight and body fat than those who did moderate-intensity cycling for the same amount of time. The Tabata group also had a greater increase in their VO2 max, which is a measure of aerobic fitness.

Among the best exercise bikes in Australia today, the spin bike is the best option for Tabata cycling. This is because it is designed for high-intensity workouts, comfortable to use, and has a variety of resistance levels.

woman keeping her spin bike

What Kind of Indoor Exercise Bike is Good for Tabata Cycling?

Spin bikes are good for Tabata cycling workouts.

This is because this type of indoor exercise bike is designed for high-intensity workouts. It has a heavy flywheel that provides resistance which you can adjust, so you can push yourself harder during the 20-second intervals.