Tabata Workouts & Training Plans

So you’ve heard of high intensity interval training, and you’ve probably even given some variations a try. But now it’s time to kick it up a notch and learn about tabata workouts and how much of a fitness boost they can give you, especially if you don’t have much time on your hands. You can do a tabata workout in only four minutes, which means that there is officially no reason you shouldn’t be working out on a regular basis. There is absolutely no one that can honestly say that they don’t have four minutes free in their day to invest in their health.


What Is Tabata Training?

Tabata training is a high intensity interval workout that follows a specific model of twenty seconds worth of exercise followed by ten seconds of rest that is repeated eight times. That equates to only four minutes worth of exercise, although if you are an overachiever you’re welcome to rest a bit longer after the initial four minutes and then begin another set.

This type of workout is difficult by design. By the time you reach the fourth minute exercises that you once thought were simple feel excruciatingly difficult. With the 20/10 design your body never has a full chance of recovery which means that at the end of four minutes you will likely be out of breath with an increased heart rate skyrocketing through your target zone and inching closer to your maximum heart rate.

Why Try Tabata Workouts?


If you could see the same results whether you spent two hours in the gym working on isolated lifting routines and specialized cardio training or four minutes in your own home pushing yourself to your own physical limits, which one would you choose? For many the answer is simple. Less work for the same results please. Tabata workouts give you that option.

Still some people don’t feel like they’re working out hard enough unless they’re logging the hours and collecting vats of pooled sweat. Then there are those who are working towards more focused fitness goals like building muscle mass in specific and isolated areas. For these groups traditional in gym workouts may still be necessary and warranted, but adding in a four minute tabata workout routine is a quick and effective way to increase aerobic and anaerobic health.

Key Moves For Tabata Workouts


tabata workouts

To complete the perfect burpee start with your feet hip-width apart and squat down. Put your hands in front of you on the ground. Make sure that they are placed just outside of your feet. Jump both of your feet backwards and together so that you are in a high plank position. Do a push-up then jump your feet back to their starting position. Jump into the air with your arms raised above your head pushing with your legs to achieve as much height as you can.

During your tabata workout you would repeat these actions for as many reps as you could for twenty seconds and then take a ten second break. You would then repeat that cycle for 8 reps (or 4 minutes total).

Jump Squat

tabata workouts

The nature of a standard jump squat is simple, but the execution of multiple rounds of this exercise is what gives it the intensity to make this list. To perform a jump squat begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and parallel to each other. Sink into your squat and then push through your legs and explode your body upwards. Make sure that you put enough power behind your jump to get both of your feet off of the ground. Land lightly.

In a tabata workout you will repeat as many of these actions in twenty seconds as possible and then take your ten second break. Repeat that cycle for 8 reps totally four minutes.

Lunge Jump

tabata workouts

This exercise works your entire body to get the maximum results in a shorter period of time. As with most tabata workouts you want to work as many muscle groups at once as possible. To complete a lunge jump stand straight with your feet together then step one foot forward. Sink your body straight down until your front knee is bent directly over your front ankle. Use your legs to push yourself back up with enough force for your feet to leave the ground. Land softly.

To incorporate this workout into your tabata training you should repeat as many of these lunge jumps as you can in twenty seconds and follow that up with a ten second break. Repeat that cycle for four reps (about two minutes) then switch to the other leg and finish strong with four reps (two more minutes) on that side.

Lateral Lunge to Knee Drive

tabata workouts

To complete this exercise begin with your feet hip-width apart and make sure that your core is engaged. Take a wide step out with your right foot then bend the right leg and lower yourself into a lateral lunge (keep your left leg straight). Shift your weight to your left foot and push your body upwards with your right foot bringing your right knee up to your chest while jumping off of the ground with your left leg. Land lightly.

Repeat these motions as many times as you can for twenty seconds and then take a ten second break. Continue this cycle for eight reps total (about four minutes).  

Mountain Climber

tabata workouts

Completing a series of mountain climbers is a great way to increase your heart rate and strengthen your muscles as they work multiple muscle groups at once. That makes them perfect for tabata training. To do a mountain climber first you need to start in a high plank position. Bring your right knee to your chest and extend your right leg back into your starting position. Repeat these motions with your left leg. This completes one set of mountain climbers.

Do as many mountain climbers as you possibly can for twenty seconds and then take a ten second break. Do this for eight reps totaling four minutes to complete a tabata workout.

Push Up Row

tabata workouts

To complete a push-up row start in a high plank position and bend your elbows, slowly lowering yourself down towards the ground. When you are about three to four inches away from the ground push yourself back up into the high plank position by pressing your hands into the ground and straightening your arms. At the top of the plank row your right hand up so that your elbow is bent and your upper arm is parallel to your body. Lower back down into a push up and bring yourself back to the plank position once more and row your left arm up. This is one set of push up rows.

For a full body strengthening tabata workout you’ll want to complete as many of these sets as possible in a twenty second time period followed by a ten second break. Repeat that cycle for four minutes which should be eight total reps and you will have completed a cycle of tabata training.

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