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The Best Tabata Workout for Beginners

Chances are you've heard of Tabata training—the workout that can help build strength and increase stamina in just four minutes. It's based on the research of Dr. Izumi Tabata, who conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of intermittent anaerobic exercise, now known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). He compared people who performed 60 minutes of steady-state exercise versus people who performed four minutes of HIIT (following a protocol of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, for 8 rounds). At the end of the six-week study, those in the HIIT group saw a 28 percent increase in anaerobic capacity and a 14 percent increase in VO2 max, while the steady-state exercisers saw a smaller increase in VO2 max and no improvement in anaerobic capacity.

Convinced? This is the perfect Tabata workout for beginners because it starts off simple, but you can make each one more difficult in order to keep up with all your #gains.

How it works: Blast through these exercises for a quickie four-minute workout, or repeat it again for an eight-minute session of high-intensity work. (If you want to add some butt, hamstrings, and thighs into the mix, combine the workout with this 10-minute lower-body workout.) Watch the video above, and then get ready to move!

Lateral Squat

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides. Step left leg out and lower into a squat, swinging arms forward to clasp in front of chin.
B. Push off left leg to return to start, then repeat on the opposite side.  

Continue alternating for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Modified Push-Up

A. Start in a high plank position, then lower knees to floor and kick heels up over knees.
B. Keeping core tight, bend at the elbows to lower chest as close to the ground as possible.
C. Press away from the floor to return to starting position.

Repeat for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Squat Jack

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides. Squat down to tap fingertips to the outsides of shins or ankles to start.
B. Jump, landing with feet apart and swinging arms overhead in a jumping jack.
C. Jump, landing with feet together and squatting to return to starting position.

Repeat for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Squat Thrust

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
B. Bend knees and hinge at the hips to place hands on the floor in front of feet. 
C. Jump feet back to a high plank position, then immediately jump them back in. Stand and jump, reaching hands overhead.

Repeat for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

To make it more challenging, try these progressions (as demonstrated in the second round of the video):

Lateral Jump Squat

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
B. Swing arms backward and bend at the knees then jump laterally to the right, lowering into a squat.
C. Immediately jump laterally to the left, lowering into a squat. 

Continue alternating for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Full Push-Up

A. Start in high plank position. 
B. Lower chest down to ground, sending elbows back at a 45-degree angle. 
C. Press chest away from the ground to return to starting position.

Repeat for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Star Jacks

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides. Squat down to tap fingertips to the outsides of shins or ankles to start.
B. Jump into the air, lifting arms overhead and spreading legs to form an "X" position.
C. Land with feet together and arms by sides, immediately lowering into a narrow squat to return to starting position.

Repeat for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Burpee

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart. 
B. Bend at the knees and hips to place hands on the floor in front of feet. 
C. Jump feet back into a high plank position and do a push-up.
C. Jump feet up to hands, then stand and jump, reaching arms overhead.

Repeat for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds.

Don't forget to subscribe to Mike's YouTube channel for free weekly workouts. Find more of Mike on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and his website. And if you need some awesome music to energize your workouts, check out his workout music podcast available on iTunes.

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