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Workout I Did: Low-Impact Tabata in the Backyard

I love my gym. But sometimes, you get busy, can’t make the WOD and have to get creative. Which is exactly what Ryan and I did on a random Saturday afternoon. I was still nursing the stress fracture in my foot at the time (update: I can now run a mile without pain or swelling — hooray!), so we put together our own little low-impact Tabata workout to do in the backyard. (Told ya I’d share it!) We threw a few mats down (remember these?) on the concrete, sprayed ourselves with sunscreen and got to sweating! And, remember, “low-impact” doesn’t always mean “easy.” As I’ve said before, there is no shame in modifying a workout — and many times you may just find that you get an ever better workout when you do things a little differently. This one is not for the faint of heart! Feel the burn!

Low-Impact Tabata Workout

Follow the Tabata Protocol, and do each move 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, eight times for a total of four minutes per move. Try to keep your reps the same throughout the four minutes as best as you can. Recover for a couple minutes before moving to the next exercise. Doing eight moves, plus rest time, gives you a total workout time of about 40 minutes. Woot!

  1. Air squats
  2. Shoulder presses (I did these with 15-pound dumbbells, but do a weight that’s heavy, but not impossible.)
  3. Push-ups
  4. V-ups
  5. Plank rows (I did this with 8-pound dumbells.)
  6. Tricep dips
  7. Pfeiffer Scissors
  8. Alternating snatches (Same weight as your shoulder presses.)

And a few photos from our workout…First, I love the Tabata Free app. It has a pre-set timer that beeps so that your Tabata workout is about you actually working out, not checking your watch.


Me, counting my reps during squats. Yes, I have to use my hands.


The view from my V-ups. Not too shabby — part of the reason why I love working out outdoors.


I swear; 20 seconds has never felt like it lasted so long — and 10 seconds has never felt so quick. Who feels me on that?! Apparently Ryan. ‘Cause this kind of says it all.


Heck, even the dog looks pooped. (Note, Ryan still laying there post-workout.)


Okay, who else loves (0r loves to hate) Tabata workouts? What are a few of your favorite low-impact moves to do? Also, unrelated plug: I’ll be speaking at HealthMinder Day at BlogHer ’13 about health vs. weight! Come see me and get a 20 percent discount off the price of registration. Click here and use promo code HMD13 to save. See ya’ll there!—Jenn

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  1. Sounds like a great workout for anybody! p.s. very cute dog 🙂

  2. Cady says:

    I did a Tabata format class at the gym this morning…it was crazy hard but a great workout!

  3. Katherine says:

    Could you explain to me the scissor exercise and snatches? Looks like a great workout

    1. Jenn says:

      You bet, Katherine!

      Here are the scissors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTrVciAphOA, and the snatches: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDRiPLPzUVg.

      Have fun. 😉

      —FBG Jenn

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