What if I told you a 16-minute workout could give you better results than 45 minutes on the treadmill? Welcome to Tabata workout routines! Tabata Protocol is a system of short, high-intensity intervals developed by Japanese professor Dr. Izumi Tabata to train Olympic speed skaters.
Get ready for trembling muscles and burning lungs, because you are going to feel this in every part of your body! On the positive side you will see the results fast and get in shape in workouts shorter than 30 minutes. It is hard but it is also very effective.
The Tabata system is easy to remember and consists of 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds rest. You repeat this eight times for a total of four minutes. The 20/10 system has been shown to work both aerobic and anaerobic metabolic pathways harder and more effectively than longer cardio workouts with a slower pace.
You will notice that you’re not fully recovered from the last set when you start on the next, and that is actually the idea. It will probably not feel like it, but that’s a good thing! The 20-second work sets are serious business, that means pushing yourself for as much reps as possible.
Tabata or Circuit Training
Tabata is more of a protocol or system and very flexible regarding the exercise you use. Some examples are burpees, squats, pushups, lunges or situps. I will go into more details when we get to the different routines. If you are following the tabata protocol, one four minute session (8 rounds) are supposed to be done with the same exercise. This will push you to the limit in one or a specific set of muscle groups, which is the goal.
This training system is great for people that are busy, because you choose how many 4 minute sessions you will do at a workout. As you probably will notice you can even consider one session as a real workout! If you have more time and energy, why not do three, four or five sessions in a row? It will still take you less than 30 minutes..
You can of course use the same intervals 20/10 and change the exercise in every round, but then it is not considered «real» Tabata protocol. If you use different exercises it is more of a circuit training with short intervals. It will still give you a great workout, and sometimes it is fun with some variety in the routines.
Tabata Workout Routines – Train Anywhere, Anytime
Some benefits of doing tabata is that you can train anywhere, anytime. There is really no excuses either, because you can do it in minutes.. The routine can be done on a gym with dumbbells and barbells as well, but I am going to focus on exercises that you can perform with your bodyweight only. This means that you can do the training anywhere you would like.
Your possibilities are literally endless with this protocol. To get you started, here is a list containing some exercises that are suitable for the tabata workout routine.
Start standing, then crouch to a low squat position with the hands on the floor on both sides of your feet. Kick your feet back to a pushup position. Perform a full pushup. Push off the ground as you jump to place your feet between your hands again, and return to the squat position. Jump up as high as possible before squatting down again and jumping back into the next pushup. This is one repetition.
Stand straight, with the feet a little wider than shoulder width apartment. Turn the toes slightly out, and place the arms in a comfortable position. Bend at the hips and knees, keeping the back straight. When your thighs reach approximately parallel to the floor, shift your weight backwards as if you were about to sit down. Continue descending until the backs of your thighs are resting against your calves. Press yourself up again. To avoid injuries keep a slight bend in your knees as you straighten up.
Place your palms on the floor and stretch your legs out behind you, toes to the ground. Keep your feet together, and ensure that the hands are below your upper chest and shoulder width apart. Straighten the arms with a slight bend in the elbows. The hips, spine and all the way down to your heels should be in line. Lower down until your chest slightly touches the ground, avoid flaring the elbows to the sides but rather pointing slightly backwards. Press yourself up again to the starting position.
Grab a bar or gymnastic rings of waist height or more. Place your feet out in front of you with your heels down and a straight line from the shoulder to hip to heel. Use your arms and lats to pull your body to the bar while maintaining your straight body position. Hinge at the heel, not the hip. Return to starting position. If you find the exercise to hard use a higher bar or bend at the knees.
Start out by placing your feet on the floor with your forearms on the ground. The body should be straight and unwavering from the shoulders to the toes. Tense every muscle in the body actively, especially your core and abs. The Plank is an isometric exercise, this means that you hold the position all the way through the 20-second work set. If you feel any pain in your back, stop because this means that your back takes the load instead of the abs or core.
The Hip Bridge
Lie on the ground face up with your hands by your sides and your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor. Press your heels into the ground, lifting your hips as high as you can while creating an arch in your back. Return to the start position. Focus on squeezing your gluten as you lift your hips.
Tabata and Cardio
You can of course also combine cardio with the tabata protocol. This can be exercises like rowing, spinning/cycling, running or jumping. There is no difference apart from the exercise, you still use the 20/10 intervals. When you perform the work sets, go hard and intense!
If you decide to run, you could try running up the stairs or running up a hill. Some ways to add jumping to your routine are squat jumps, box jumps, jumping lunges or jumping jacks. There are no limits here, and I am sure you can come up with some ideas for exercises yourself as well.
24 Minutes to Get Fit Fast
Pushups – 8 rounds (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest) for a total of 4 minutes
Squats – 8 rounds (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest) for a total of 4 minutes
Burpees – 8 rounds (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest) for a total of 4 minutes
Hip Bridge – 8 rounds (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest) for a total of 4 minutes
Australian Pullups – 8 rounds (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest) for a total of 4 minutes
The Plank – 8 rounds (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest) for a total of 4 minutes
Remember to give yourself at least 48 hours recovery time after workouts like this because of their intensity. With that said good luck and happy training.
If you got any questions or have other great tabata workout routines, feel free to comment below this post. I also welcome any experiences you have had with tabata training.
All the best,