Oh. My. Goodness. I tried a new way of working out this week and I am in love. It’s called tabata. Traditional tabata is form of high intensity interval training where you complete a 4 minute round of exercise in which you alternate between 20 seconds of high intensity and 10 seconds of rest.
I first tried the tabata while doing cardio; I already love interval cardio because it makes the time fly and it is really effective for weight loss. But tabata takes the cake, it was a great workout and I actually enjoyed challenging myself. However, when I say high intensity I really mean the hardest possible effort you can put forth. As with any form of exercise, in tabata you will get out what you put in. Because it’s built on shorter workouts, if you half-ass it you probably aren’t going to get a good workout at all. But if you put your all into it, then you can enjoy shorter, more challenging workouts and save time. Also, if you do 4 or 5 rounds of tabata and you are going at the same intensity and effort on round 5 that you were on round 1, you aren’t doing it right!! You should be completely worn out by the end of a tabata workout. Because it works your heart so much, I wouldn’t recommend doing tabata 2 days in a row; give your heart and body a bit of a rest by doing tabata every other day and then doing a lighter workout or some steady-state cardio in between.
Once I decided that I liked tabata, I thought “can this be applied to strength training?” After spending a little time on google I found out that yes, tabata can be applied to any type of exercise. So Wednesday I set out to complete a 5 round strength training tabata workout; it was so tough I only made it 4 rounds!! But in those short 16 minutes I felt like I truly got a hardcore, total body workout. I was shaky and spent afterwards and so sore Thursday. A 16 minute workout with the potential for big results?? Yes please!!
Do this exercise traditional tabata style: do a move as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest and prepare for the next move for 10 seconds. The entire set will take 4 minutes. Do as many rounds as you can while still maintaining good form. I promise you won’t even have time to think about how hard the workout is!!
Total Body Tabata Workout
- Squats with shoulder press
- Plank with knee cross
- Reverse lunges with bicep curls
- V-up crunches
- 1 legged squat with row (right side)
- Canoe with heavy weight (stand with knees slightly bend, row a heavy weight like a canoe paddle)
- 1 legged squat with row (left side)
- Reverse crunches
***A good interval timer is key for proper tabata. You can buy a Gymboss Interval Training Timer online for about $20, but I found a free app on the Iphone that worked perfectly.