Tabata Workout

Tabata Workout

I’m sure you’ve all heard the word Tabata splashed about in magazines, blogs and even on YouTube videos. This protocol was invented by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo and it’s now as commonly used in gyms and home across the world and not just by those looking to lose fat; you’ll find many bodybuilders, Olympic lifters and gym goers alike using this protocol on a daily basis. [level-premium-content]

Tabata protocol as detailed below:

  • 20 hard seconds high intensity
  • 10 seconds complete rest
  • Repeat 7 more times

The effects of Tabata are increased calorie utilization throughout the day and, more importantly, an increased rate of fat burning in the hours after training. Tabata uses both anaerobic and aerobic training systems. This is really hard work and 10 times better than using a crosstrainer for 30+ minutes (slow and steady).

Tabata works well with whole body exercises as they give you a big bang for your 20 seconds buck! Choose exercises where the inevitable form breakdown that occurs during a Tabata won’t cause you injuries. A deadlift, for example, isn’t a great exercise to use due to bad form during the final rounds and grip might also be a factor.

I’ve put together a little Tabata circuit comprising for an all body, lower body dominant and upper body dominant sections giving you a hardcore workout in 24 minutes. If you’re able to do anything after this killer session I want to hear from you!

I’ve selected some well known exercises that are easy on form and you’ll be able to gain maximum reps out of. Perform as many reps as possible for 20 seconds with only 10 seconds rest per set of each of the given exercises. You’ll then repeat this cycle seven times per exercise. Perform each exerciser in turn taking only the allotted 10 seconds in between sets. No extra rests please!

Warm up using any form of cardio, e.g. jogging, skipping or step ups, until you feel ready to move onto some dynamic stretches and then start the main workout.

The workout

Tabata circuits

All body

  • Burpees
  • Squat jumps

Lower body dominant

  • Squat presses
  • Mountain climbers

Upper body dominant

  • press ups
  • Renegade rows

Exercise descriptions

Burpees – Targets whole body

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands by your sides. Bend from the hip, knees and reach your hands to the floor. Once in the tucked position jump back into a plank and avoid dipping the back. Now from the plank position jump back into the tucked position and then proceed to jump straight into the air. Either swing your arms back or raise them above your head from the air jump. Remember tuck, jump, tuck, jump!

Squat jumps – Targets lower body

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lower into a partial squat. Raise your arms to shoulder level. Then proceed to in one action jump into the air while at the same time swing your arms back down towards your sides to provide greater height. Aim to jump as high as you can and always make sure you land with soft knees. Go straight back into the start position and repeat.

Squat presses – Targets legs and shoulders

Stand with your feet hip-width apart holing a pair of dumbbells at shoulder level. Turn your hands so that your palms are facing forwards. Process to squat down and as you rise press your arms over your head. Then return back into squat and repeat the movement.

Mountain climbers – Targets whole lower body and trunk

Start from a sprinters starting position with you palms down flat on the ground and one leg is slightly in front of the other. Make sure that your shoulders are in line with you arms and that you arms are not in front of your shoulders. Proceed to jump and switch legs and keep repeating this movement at a high pace for the duration of the Tabata.

Press ups – Targets chest, triceps, core, and stabilisers

Start in your regular press up position with your hands slightly turned inwards. Walk back on your toes and brace your core. Bend your arms and perform a slow, controlled press up. Return to the starting position and repeat. The press up can be modified by performing them on your knees to make the movement easier during the final rounds.

Renegade rows – Targets upper back, biceps and core

Grasp your dumbbells and place them on the floor. Walk your feet back so that you are in the press up position with your hands resting on the dumbbells. Keep your abs tight and your right arm extended as you pull your left hand into your ribs. Lower your left hand back to the floor and then perform the same movement using your right arm.

Progressions You could start to play with the number of rounds and active time. Maybe adding a extra round each week and building up to 10-12 rounds, then using active time once you’ve reached your target number of rounds, 30secs instead of 20sec and reducing the rounds back down until you can make 10-12 again using 30sec.