Tabata is an amazing form of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). There are many variations and different takes on it but certain principles remain the same. Traditional tabata is 20 seconds of busting your ass followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated for 8 rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Why should you do tabata? Well because it’s awesome! It’s awesome for a number of different reasons. Firstly the conditioning effects of tabata are amazing. Tabata can help you lose fat faster because of the ratio of work to rest periods. When you’re done a tabata workout you should be left out of breath. You enter into something called the EPOC effect. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This effect can last anywhere from a few hours to 72 hours post workout depending on various factors. EPOC leads to increased metabolism which will in turn help you burn fat long after your workout is done.

Would you rather burn more calories during your hour long boring workout on the treadmill only to have your metabolism go back to normal within an hour or so, or would you rather do something for 4 minutes that can elevate your metabolism for up to 72 hours? Yeah, that’s what I thought

The second reason you should do tabata? Simple, it’s 4 frickin minutes! If you don’t have 4 minutes in your day to workout then something is seriously lacking balance in your life.

Tabata can be done a number of different ways including with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or just with yourself and some body weight exercises. The different possibilities for combinations are endless but one thing should be taken into considerations when planning a tabata workout: you should pick exercises that really elevate your heart rate and get you moving. Things like burpees, speed squats and jumping lunges. You want to avoid things like overhead presses, curls and other movements of that nature because those shouldn’t be done for speed and really aren’t going to give you the conditioning benefits tabata is designed for.

Real tabata should only be done once a day max due to the demands it places on your body. Anyone that says that they do a 30 minute tabata workout is full of it or isn’t doing tabata the way it was meant to be done.

Below are some ideas for tabata training that you can do at home. and below that you’ll find some music I’ve made up to do your tabata along with so you don’t have to constantly be looking at a stop watch (which can made you dizzy if you’re doing something like burpees).

Body weight Exercises:

  • Speed Squats
  • Wide Outs
  • Split Squat (lunge) jumps
  • Squat Jumps
  • Burpees
  • 1/2 Burpee
  • 3 part 1/2 burpee
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Diagonal Knees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Knees
  • 3 park Plank
  • Speed Skaters
  • Lateral Shuffle

Dumbbell Exercises

  • Swings
  • Squat & Press
  • DB Burpees
  • Russian Twist
  • Offset Split Squat
  • Goblet Squat

How you choose to organize the tabata is up to you. You could repeat one exercise for the entire 8 rounds, you could alternate back and forth between 2, you could pick 4 exercises and repeat them all once, or you could do 8 totally different exercises. No matter what way you choose it should look like this:

20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest
20 sec exercise
10 sec rest

Just remember to go all out for those 20 seconds. It’s only 4 minutes long and you want to push yourself to the max! When you’re done you should be spent.

Click here for a link to some tabata music.

Tabata Ideas

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