How To Do A Tabata Interval Workout


Tabata workout


If you’re looking for a fast and productive workout to do that fits round a busy and full lifestyle, then HIIT in the form of Tabata could be just the thing for you. Whenever I do a circuit class I will base the session around a tabata protocol. And importantly get the best bang for your buck as a Masters Athlete or just someone looking to get fitter.

Get fitter in just 4 (yes, four) minutes? This workout maximises the benefits of interval training in a very short amount of time, and you can do it with almost anything—cardio machines, body weight moves, you name it. But for it to work, you need to push yourself to the limit and work hard!

Tabata involves 20 seconds of hard effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. Every four-minute bout is one complete Tabata. The workout was originally developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata to train Olympic speed skaters, but it can seriously benefit your non-Olympian workout routine, too.

Why is it so efficient:

Well, as I have discussed before High-intensity interval training  is an excellent way of getting fort and in general is especially effective at burning fat because it requires your body to work harder to return to a resting state (a phenomenon called EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), this basically means you continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished.

Tabata was tested in a 2013 study: They had 15 participants do a workout with body weight jump squats and asked them to work as hard as they possibly could for the 20-second work sections. They found that you torch about 14 calories per minute [of Tabata] and that your metabolic rate [the EPOC effect] is doubled for over 30 minutes after exercise.

Of course, everyone’s body is different, so it’s worth taking note that those aren’t exact figures for everyone. But one thing’s for sure—Tabata is a great way to get a killer workout in a short amount of time.

How to mix into your routine:

To get started, start by downloading Tabata timing app or set your watch up if you have a nice fancy Garmin, these apps keep track of your time by giving you an alert when 20 seconds of work are up—and alerting you again when your 10 seconds of rest are over.

Of course you’re not limited to just 8 rounds, you can adjust as much as you like or even call the 8 rounds as one set and take a break and repeat as required or your fitness dictates

A very simple Session could be these 4 exercises repeated twice for one set

  • Jumping jacks (20 sec)Rest (10 secs)
  • Burpees (20 secs)Rest (10 secs)
  • Ice skaters (20 secs)Rest (10 secs)
  • Jump squats (20 secs)Rest (10 secs)


You can use whatever moves you like, kettlebell swings, jump roping, push-ups, bodyweight squats, and TRX rows. You could also do Tabata with a cardio machine that doesn’t require changing speeds, like a rowing machine, an elliptical, or a stationary bike. 

Twenty seconds of work might be tough, but its completed so quickly so your workout will be done before you know it!

Just remember to then start your recovery process with Protein  and some Foam Rolling   and just your general recovery Strategy