Total energy costs of 3 Tabata-type calisthenic squatting routines: Isometric, Isotonic and Jump


  • Christopher Scott University of Southern Maine
  • Eryn Nelson University of Southern Maine
  • Sarah Martin University of Southern Maine
  • Brian Ligotti University of Southern Maine


Introduction: We examined the total energy costs – aerobic and anaerobic, exercise and recovery – of three Tabata-style squat routines: isotonic, isometric and plyometric (jump). Our intent was to determine which format elicited the greatest overall cost.

Materials and Methods: Four male and three female subjects volunteered (23.7 ± 2.6 years, 170.1 ± 10.3 cm, 68.2 ± 14.6 kg). Isotonic and jump squats were completed in 20 second bouts at a cadence of 2 seconds per squat (10 repetitions each) followed by 10 seconds of recovery; isometric squats were held for the entirety of each 20 second exercise period followed by 10 seconds of recovery – exercise and recovery bouts were repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.

Results and Discussion: Jump squats had the greatest overall energy cost at 160.7 ± 56 kJ (38.4 ± 13.4 kcal) followed by isotonic squats at 112.4 ± 24 kJ (26.9 ± 5.7 kcal) ; there was no statistical difference between the two. Isometric squats at 62.4 ± 6 kJ (14.9 ± 1.4 kcal) were significantly lower than both isotonic and jump squats (p < 0.05). From an exercise program design standpoint isometric exercises do not appear to represent an appropriate format when attempting to maximize energy costs.

Author Biography

Christopher Scott, University of Southern Maine

Exercise, Health and Sport Sciences


Boutcher, S.H. High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. (2011). J Obesity (article ID 868305).

De Feo, P. Is high-intensity exercise better than moderate-intensity exercise for weight loss? Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. (2013). 23:1037-1042.

Emberts, T., Porcari, J., Doberstein, S., Steffen, J. and Foster, C. (2013). Exercise intensity and energy expenditure of a Tabata workout. J Sports Sci Med. 12: 612-613.

Elder, C.P., Mahoney, E.T., Black, C.D., Slade, J.M. and Dudley, G.A. (2006). Oxygen cost of dynamic or isometric exercise relative to recruited muscle mass. Dyn Med. 5: 9.

Heinrich, K.M., Patel, P.M., O’Neal, J.L. and Heinrich, B.S. (2014). High-intensity compared to moderate-intensity training for exercise initiation, enjoyment, adherence, and intentions: an intervention study. BMC Public Health. 14:789.

Hunter, G. R., Weinsier, R.I., Bamman, M.M. and Larson, D.E. (1998). A role for high intensity exercise on energy balance and weight control. Int J Obesity. 22:489-493.

Kushmerick, M.J. (1983). Energetic of muscle contraction. In, Handbook of Physiology, Section 10: Skeletal Muscle (American Physiological Society). Suppl 27: 189-236.

Marcora, S. (2009). Perception of effort during exercise is independent of afferent feedback from skeletal muscles, heart and lungs. J Appl Physiol. 106: 2060-2062.

McArdle, W.D. and Foglia, G.F. (1969). Energy cost and cardiorespiratory stress of isometric and weight training exercises. J Sports Med Phys Fit. 9: 23-30, 1969.

Newham, D.J., Jones, D.A., Turner, D.L. and McIntyre, D. (1995). The metabolic cost of different types of contractile activity of the human adductor pollicis muscle. J Physiol. 488: 815-819.

Olson, M. (2013). Tabata interval exercise: energy expenditure and post-exercise responses. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 45: S420.

Russ, D.W., Elliott, M.A., Vandenborne, K., Walter, G.A. and Binder-Macleod, S.A. (2002). Metabolic costs of isometric force generation and maintenance of human skeletal muscle. Amer J Physiol. 282: E448-473.

Scott, C.B. (2011). Quantifying the immediate recovery energy expenditure of resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 25: 1159-1163.

Tabata, I., Irisawa, K., Kouzaki, M., Nishimura, K., Ogita, F. and Miyachi, M. (1997). Metabolic profile of high intensity intermittent exercises. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 29: 390-395.






European Journal of Human Movement