So exactly what is a Tabata workout? In its simplest terms, a Tabata workout or regimen is a high intensity interval training segment consisting of 8 cycles of 20 seconds of work (exercise) and 10 seconds of rest with a duration of 4 minutes.

Common ways to utilize the Tabata regimen:

  • Choose one exercise performed for each of the 8 sets. (Duration 4 minutes)
  • Choose two exercises alternating between the two for the 8 sets. (Duration 4 minutes)
  • Choose multiple exercises, moving from one to the other for as many sets as desired utilizing the 20 secs work and 10 secs of rest combination. (Duration typically 16-20 minutes, but any would work).

For my example, I will choose two exercises to alternate: air (bodyweight) squats and push-ups:

  1. Start your Tabata timer.
  2. Do 20 seconds of squats.
  3. Rest for 10 seconds (transition to the push-up position during this time).
  4. Do 20 seconds of push-ups.
  5. Rest for 10 seconds (transition back to the squat position during this time).
  6. Rotate back and forth for 8 total cycles (4 minutes).

GymBoss Timer

Sounds easy, right?

The example above, for most people, would probably not be considered “easy” because of the push-ups, but whatever exercises you choose the Tabata method will give you a quick and effective workout. If you only have a few minutes to squeeze in a workout this is a great way to do it!

Here are some suggested Tabata workout combinations for you to try:

  • Jumping Jacks + Mountain Climbers
  • Flutter Kicks + Plank Jacks
  • Reverse Lunges + Overhead Arm Claps
  • Jump squats + Toe Touch Sit-ups
  • T Push-ups + High Knee Jog

Disclaimer: This is NOT for the faint of heart or brand new person to exercise. You will need to build up to this. If you are interested, I have custom programs in development. Email me at for more information.

Note: I mentioned using a timer. There are many smart phone apps out there, but the two I like best are GymBoss and PocketWOD. And they are both FREE!