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Tabata Time!

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

A “Tabata” timer can be your best friend sometimes. It’s that little voice that says, “no pressure, just move.” Those days that I know I need some type of fitness in my life, but I’m feeling zero motivation, my plan is always to “just start a Tabata clock”.


What the heck is Tabata?


If you’re not familiar with this term, it simply means that you work for 20 seconds at a time and rest for 10 seconds- on repeat for 8 rounds. For instance- If I wanted to do Tabata push-ups, I would do as many as I could in 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat until I had 8 sets of that complete. Pretty simple, right? Except, if you’ve never done a Tabata- I wouldn’t start with push-ups. That one will get pretty spicy, pretty quickly!



Why Tabata is my best friend-


You can pronounce it as “Tabatha” if you want. We once had a client at our gym who pronounced it like this every time… good ol’ Jim! It made me giggle every time he said, “Tabatha, again?!” haha. But like I said, she can be your best friend, so now she has a name!


I love this workout format because you can literally go at any intensity level that you want. You can move steadily (even using it as a warm-up format) or you can go all out each 20 seconds. It’s really whatever you need to make it for that day. Sometimes I choose the movements I want to do, I start out nice and easy, and by the time I’ve gotten through a few minutes I’m mentally and physically warmed up and my body decides to push for more.

You can also use this format to squeeze a lot of work into just a little bit of time. We don’t all have an hour to devote at the gym every day. I get that. This workout can last 4 minutes or up to 20 minutes… it’s all up to you. Below I’ve given you five Tabata workout examples. Mostly, there is no equipment needed, but I did throw in a kettlebell, medicine ball and jump rope option for some. You can just sub another movement if you don’t have those available.


Example 1-

Tabata- squat, burpee, sit-up, jump rope (sub high knees)


There are two ways you can do this. You can do 20 seconds of squats, then rest for 10 seconds and repeat the squats for 8 rounds OR you can do 20 seconds of squat, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of burpees, rest, 20 seconds of sit-ups, rest and then 20 seconds of jump roping.... and rotate through that cycle 8 times. I LOVE OPTIONS! Heck, you don't even have to start with 8 rounds. You can do only 5 cycles if you like.



Example 2-

Tabata Holds- plank, superman, squat hold (alternating)



Example 3-

Tabata- Kettlebell Swing, Russian Twist (w/ med ball or go unweighted), Mountain Climber



Example 4-

Tabata- Run (Run for 20 seconds, walk for 10 seconds- repeating for as many rounds as you like)


Do you see how the options are endless?! There are great Tabata timer apps on your phone you can download easily to help you. Feeling motivated yet? Go plan a date with “Tabatha”- I promise you’ll feel better after your time with her!

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