What is Tabata Kids

Tabata Kids is a resource available to educators that promotes physical movement in schools.

This program utilizes energizing and inspiring music while featuring short-burst movement-based exercises that enhance blood flow throughout the entire body including the brain. The types of movements incorporated in Tabata Kids have been proven to enhance the cognitive and physical capacity of students.

These movement breaks are inspired by the High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) methods of the Tabata protocol. This interval protocol is comprised of 20 seconds of vigorous movement followed by 10 seconds of rest for four minutes.

Based on three years worth of educator feedback, the powerful Tabata Kids music combined with age-appropriate exercises for students have validated this resource as wildly engaging and effective in elementary and middle schools throughout the world.  

Kids are meant to move! Recent studies show that asking children

to do otherwise may actually be detrimental to their physical and

cognitive development.

Tabata Kids embraces the natural impulse in children to be active.

By engaging them in “brain breaks” consisting of specifically

designed physical movements, set to Tabata Kids interval music,

students experience a higher level of concentration and learning

ability while simultaneously improving cardio health.

Tabata Kids movements are comprised of cardiorespiratory

elevators combined with cross-lateralization brain stimulators.

Cross lateralization, also know as crossing the midline,

encourages the brain’s left and right hemispheres to work

collaterally. An example of this would be touching the left elbow

to the right knee.

Tabata Kids utilizes the tabata protocol, a four minute high-


intensity interval training method made famous by the Japanese

Olympic Speed Skating Team. This protocol has been proven to

increase aerobic and anaerobic capacities at an astonishing rate,

utilizing 20 second long intervals of intense physical activity

followed by 10 seconds of rest. We have found this to be an

optimal time ratio for student “brain breaks.”

The backbone of Tabata Kids is the music we have specifically

created for our program, which our students LOVE. Consisting of

various intensities and musical genres, each song guides the

listener through Tabata Kids movements, creating a

CONTROLLED, MOTIVATING, & FUN environment. We have

created two minute and four minute versions of each Tabata Kids


Tabata Kids can be adapted within any teaching space, especially

the classroom, to positively enhance the health, wellness, and

cognitive capacity of our students.

In the words of First Lady Michelle Obama, LET’S MOVE!


We are excited to help you implement this powerful

program in your school!



Tabata Kids – The Backstory

As a physical education teacher, I began introducing the tabata

interval workouts in my elementary classes three years ago.

During this time I was performing research regarding the brain,

cognitive capacity, and its connection with moderate to vigorous

physical activity. The proverbial light went on for me when reading

John Rattey’s book “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of

Exercise and the Brain.”

Since learning of numerous studies proving the academic benefits

of aerobic exercise for students of all ages and demographics, I

have come to understand the potential of Tabata Kids as not only

a physical fitness tool, but as a vehicle for enhanced cognitive

performance. Michele Tine of Dartmouth College recently

published a study measuring students’ selected visual attention in

the Frontiers in Psychology research journal. This study described

how small amounts of exercise increased attention and reading

comprehension in all student participants. In addition, there

proved an especially strong effect on low-income students to the

point where their scores improved so drastically following short

bursts of exercise that the gap between these pupils and their

high-income classmates was effectively erased.

Studies such as this one opened my eyes to the fact that the short

burst high intensity tabata exercises I was teaching my students

in P.E. classes, when implemented in the classroom, could have

profound effects on their cognitive capacity. After researching a

myriad of evidence-based “brain break” studies in 2011, I decided

to pilot my idea informally among my colleagues within our school

district. My wife, who has over a decade of classroom teaching

experience bought into the idea and helped me create an

effective method for Tabata Kids to be implemented in the

academic environment.

This initiative truly hit full stride when my brother Jay, a musician

by trade, floated the idea to make music specific for the tabata

interval protocol. The impact that his music had on these brain

breaks was indescribable! Due to the powerful tabata music, my

students’ motivation levels to move vigorously skyrocketed! In

addition, they loved the coaching that was embedded in the

songs, which explains when to start and stop moving. Shortly

after sharing these tunes with colleagues, I received emails such

as, “The TABATA KIDS program has been a prayer answered

for my behaviorally challenged group of first graders!” This

music was so well received by students, teachers, and fitness

enthusiasts that Jay went on to create a number of tabata songs

featuring a myriad of genres.

As word spread about the efficacy of Tabata Kids in both the P.E.

and academic settings, I was invited to present this initiative at

several venues including the National Physical Education “2014

SHAPE America Conference” in St. Louis. The feedback from this

event articulated that Tabata Kids was one of the highest rated

presentations among the hundreds featured at the five day


Tabata Kids has now been in a two-year pilot phase in our rural

Vermont setting. The feedback has been incredibly positive from

P.E. and classroom teachers alike.


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