And what do I do with it?
Tabata exercises are an EXCELLENT interval training tool designed to get your heart rate up and then back down (hence intervals) in a quick amount of time. Intervals work to burn fat faster, and the Tabata method is one of the quickest and most effective–not to mention difficult–ways to reach your fat burning goals.
Tabatas are simple to understand. For 20 seconds you simply complete as many repetitions of the assigned exercise as you can, then you rest for 10 seconds. You repeat this 7 more times for a total of 8 rounds. The whole workout lasts 4 minutes. If you want to keep track of your scores for improvement efforts or competition, count your reps each round; however with Tabatas, only the LAST round counts. Take it from me–4 minutes sounds easy. 20 seconds sounds easy. But if you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can go (with good technique no less), you will feel exhausted by the end. I once did a four minute body weight squat tabata that left my legs sore for three days!
Here are some great Tabata workout ideas for you to try, try again, and make your own. If you have a smart phone, there are several Tabata or interval timer apps that you can download to keep track of your time.
No Equipment Starter Tabatas:
- Tabata squats: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, 8 rounds. Count the last round.
- Tabata push-ups: same directions as above.
- Tabata burpees: same directions as above
- Tabata combo: squats and push-ups. 8 rounds of squats and 8 rounds of push-ups for 8 minutes of work.
- Tabata planks: hold the plank position for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat 7 more times.
- Tabata swings: 20 seconds swings with 10 seconds rest
- Tabata squats: hold bell at chest and squat until elbow hit knees. Repeat and quickly! 8 rounds at 20:10.
- Tabata squat thrusters: squat with bell then thrust it high overhead. 8 rounds at 20:10.
- Tabata sumo dead lift high pull: feet wider than a squat and toes turned out, squat down keeping chest high.Tough bell to ground, stand, pull bell to chest height. Repeat for the 20:10 intervals.
- Tabatas combo: pick any 2-4 of the above and combine for a workout that will last 8-16 minutes
- Combo 1: squats, burpees, push-ups: complete each 4 minute Tabatas round for a 12 minute total cardio interval burn.
- Static Holds Tabatas: hold the squat position for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat for the full 4 minutes. Do the same thing for push-ups and planks. Hold the push-ups in the bottom position.12 minutes total for all 3.
- Combo with Holds: complete 20 seconds of Tabata squats, but instead of resting for 10 seconds, hold in the bottom of the squat position. Repeat 7 times. When finished with squats, move directly into push-ups. Hold the bottom of the push-up during the 10 second “rest” time.
- Ultimate combo: squats, push-ups, burpees, planks: complete a 4-minute round of each for a killer 16 minute HIIT workout.
While these are just some ideas, it’s important to know that Tabatas can be done with any exercise. If you want, jump rope, do tricep dips, use any equipment, or just body weight resistance–the great thing about Tabatas and intervals is that you can do it with anything anywhere at anytime. So be creative, work hard, and have fun!
Other Exercises to use with Tabatas:
- box jumps (20 inches or higher, use a box, bench, step, your couch, etc.)
- Tire flips, pulls, drags
- push press (kettlebell, dumbbells, or barbell)
- barbell squat thrusters
- stair runs
- ____________ (what’s your favorite Tabata exercise?)