The GymIt team loves to see our members busting their butts in the gym—even if they don’t have a lot of time to get in a long session! And for time-crunched days, we’re all about a Tabata workout.

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This interval-style exercise, created by Japanese researcher and doctor Dr. Izumi Tabata, is a high-intensity workout that helps you burn calories, bump up your heart rate and metabolism, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and gives you a great sweat. A “true” Tabata interval lasts just 4 minutes: 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest.

You read that right: a 4-minute workout! But don’t let the short time domain fool you: the quick 2:1 work to rest ratio allows you to keep your intensity super high, meaning you could end up doing more work in less time compared to a long, low-intensity aerobic session.


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You can use Tabata training with almost any type of movement, including running, cycling, jump rope, and basic bodyweight movements. For safety’s sake though, it’s best to choose movements you can perform with good form even if you’re moving quickly and intensely.

You can also stack separate Tabata intervals on top of each other to create still-challenging yet slightly-longer workouts (think 8 minutes, 12 minutes, 16 minutes, etc.).

Ready to give Tabata a go this week? Carve out a little time and give the following Tabata workout a try:

 

“Tabata Times Five”

All you need for this Tabata workout is your body and 20 minutes! Here’s what to do when the clock starts:

Perform one full Tabata interval using push-ups. (Remember: one full Tabata interval means 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, 8 times total)

Perform one full Tabata interval using mountain climbers.

Perform one full Tabata interval using bicycle crunches.

Perform one full Tabata interval using jumping bodyweight squats.

Perform one full Tabata interval using burpees.

Now drink water and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Seriously: can we say “ugh”????

To keep the intensity level up, don’t rest between the different exercises. Push yourself to go quickly, but find a pace that allows you to keep moving for the entire 20 seconds each round. Lastly, keep a stopwatch or your phone handy for easy time tracking!

Got any other favorite movements to hit a Tabata with? Inspire us by sharing some in the comments below!

Sara M

Author Sara M

Sara M. is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and freelance writer living and working near Boston, MA. As a former CrossFit gym owner and current fitness lover, Sara has a lot of personal and professional experience inside and outside the gym. She loves to write about various topics related to health, wellness, nutrition, human behavior, and self-mastery.

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