The Tabata Protocol: The Workout You’re Not Doing, But Should

A Tabata Workout to Try


For true-blue Tabata, try the sample workout below from DietsInReview.com. This one utilizes active rest, where you are still engaging muscles or holding weights during the rest periods, but others let you just stand and catch your breath. The exercises can be changed, but the trick is to find ones that will allow you to work at maximum intensity while still allowing you to complete the full 20-second interval. Other Tabata routines include mountain climbers, alternating lunges, pull ups, burpees, jump roping and jump or box squats. The goal is to push for maximum repetitions.

Set 1: Squats. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds held in squat position. Repeat for 4 minutes.

Set 2: Push-ups. 20 seconds, hold 10 seconds in plank. Repeat for 4 minutes.

Set 3: Medicine ball slams. 20 seconds, hold ball overhead for 10 seconds. Repeat for 4 minutes.

Set 4: Crunches. Crunch for 20 seconds, hold in curled up crunch 10 seconds. Repeat for 4 minutes.

Set 5: Kettlebell swings. 20 seconds. Hold in an upright row for 10 seconds. Repeat for 4 minutes.

Set 6: Lay on the floor and die.

Have you ever tried the Tabata Protocol or a Tabata-inspired workout? Will you? Tell us about it! —Kelly Turner

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  1. Tabata is good stuff, all high intensity interval training is.

  2. Fatso says:

    Oh yeah. One of my Spinfit instructors (Sammi, every third Wednesday night) sometimes incorporates a track like this into our routine. It’s a KILLER track. She divides the room in half, and it’s 8 seconds for either side of the room, as fast as we personally can go, with a 30 second slow-down pedalling break in the middle of the track.

    It’s the only track I’ve ever known where EVERYBODY’S gasping for breath afterwards. But it’s also the only one where my legs REALLY feel like jelly, too.

  3. Samantha Wallace says:

    I am going to try this workout tomorrow morning! I may even convince my hubby to give it a shot (insert evil laugh here).

  4. D Baca says:

    My brother knows his stuff!

    I do a variation of Tabata with just breathing exercises! I breath very hard for 20 seconds and then commence normal breathing for 10 seconds. I don’t know if this is beneficial or even healthy, but boy is it INTENSE!

  5. I love Tabata! And the looks I get from getting a butt-kicking from 4 minutes on the elliptical are priceless! These sprints have revealed my abs like nothing else ever has.

  6. Kellie Stalker says:

    I LOVE TABATA. My instructor does this and its amazing.

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