Total energy costs of 3 all-out Tabata routines: calisthenic, plyometric and resistance exercises


  • Christopher Scott University of Southern Maine
  • Cassandra Beliveau University of Southern Maine
  • Kevin Desmond University of Southern Maine
  • Evan Rollins University of Southern Maine


We examined the total energy costs – aerobic and anaerobic, exercise and recovery – of 3 all-out Tabata routines: calisthenics (burpee and lunge), plyometric (jump step and incline push-up) and resistance exercises (squat and dumbbell press). Eleven men and four women (22.1 ± 1.9 years, 175.5 ± 5.9 cm, 71.6 ± 9.7 kg) volunteered. Subjects performed as many repetitions as possible within each 20 second exercise routine followed by 10 second recovery periods, with each routine being completed four times (e.g., burpee-recovery then lunge-recovery; repeated 4X) for a total of four minutes. The lowest overall cost was found with the resistance exercises 174.3 ± 32.2 kJ (41.7 ± 7.7 kcal) (p < 0.005) as compared to the calisthenic 287.8 ± 64.3 kJ (68.8 ± 15.4 kcal) and plyometric 241.4 ± 49.3 kJ (57.7 ± 11.8 kcal) routines; the calisthenic and plyometric routines did not differ statistically. A rating of perceived exertion (RPE) indicated the highest scores for the calisthenic (16.0 ± 1.3) and resistance (15.2 ± 1.7) routines with statistical significance only found between calisthenic and plyometric (13.8 ± 1.5) routines (p = 0.01). We conclude that the energy costs of Tabata-type exercise are highly individualized among routines - no single energy cost estimate effectively describes a given Tabata-type exercise routine. Moreover, we are unaware of any 4 minute Tabata routine to date meeting or exceeding 100 kcal (~400 kJ).


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Author Biography

Christopher Scott, University of Southern Maine

Exercise, Health and Sport Sciences


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Original Research