Tabata: Do You Have 4 Minutes for a High-Intensity Workout? 

Coach Shanda, NASM, CPT, BCS, PES, FNS

Shanda Yakich is a wife and mother of two young boys. She fell in love with health and fitness after her own transformation 20 years ago when she revamped her sedentary lifestyle to lose 30 pounds and cut her body fat in half. She knows the struggle of balancing family, career, and heath. She is triple certified in fitness, nutrition, and behavior change. Shanda is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified trainer and a certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.
tabata workout

What Is Tabata Training and How Does It Work?

Tabata Training works. It really works.

Do you find yourself short on time and skipping your workouts?

As a LadyBossLadyBoss® weight loss coach, “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time,” are the most common excuses I hear. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that you do have time!

I want to introduce you to a quick and effective high-intensity interval workout called Tabata. 

Tabata training is a high-intensity interval workout that you can do anywhere and in a short amount of time. Tabata workouts get you results by offering the maximum benefit in the least amount of time. 

This style of Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. They conducted a study with athletes using this interval-based training by observing the athletes performing 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for four minutes.

Tabata put two groups of people on a six-week exercise program. Group 1 did one hour of moderate-intensity exercise five times per week. Group 2 did the high-intensity Tabata training four times per week.  

Each Tabata workout lasted four minutes and 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between each set. Group 1 added up to 1800 minutes of exercise versus Group 2 with 120 minutes of exercise over the six week period. 

Results: Group 2, the Tabata group improved both their aerobic* and anaerobic* fitness levels. The anaerobic fitness level increased by all most 30%.

*Aerobic exercise, or cardiovascular conditioning, help keep your heart and lungs healthy and can be done over an extended period of time. Think walking, swimming, or cycling. Anaerobic exercise, however, is done in short bursts. Think running a sprint or lifting weights.

Benefits Of Adding Tabata training to your fitness routine:

  • One of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism and help you shed more body fat in a short amount of time 
  • Increase VO2 max (maximal aerobic capacity) and anaerobic capacity or stamina
  • Increase in fitness levels
  • Increase in lean muscle mass
  • Increase in strength gains
  • No equipment necessary 
  • Can be performed anywhere

How To Do Tabata Exercises

Tabata workouts are effective, quick, and can easily fit into your daily routine. 

Each Tabata round takes only 4 minutes to complete and can be done virtually anywhere by just using your body weight. 

Perform each Tabata exercise with maximum effort for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between, repeated 8 times.

Your goal is to complete four Tabata rounds to create an awesome 16-minute high-intensity interval workout. 

Simply pick 3-4 Tabata workouts per week that target all of your major muscle groups.

Each Tabata exercise needs to be performed at your maximum effort level.  Tabata training keeps your heart rate at the maximum level and will definitely make you sweat! That being said, Tabata training is not recommended for the novice exerciser.

Tabata workout #1  

jogging in place

Jog in place

  • Just like it sounds! 
  • Jog and be light on your feet.
  • Remember to breathe!

plank shoulder taps

Plank shoulder taps

  • From a plank position, lift your right hand off the floor touching your left shoulder, then switch sides.
  • Tip: Keep your back flat and don’t let your body rock from side to side. Keep it as still as you can.



  • Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart.
  • Keep your back flat. Engage your core.
  • Bend both knees and sit back at hips down into a squat.
  • Keep your bodyweight in heels.

knee push ups

Wide push-ups on knees

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Keep a straight line from the neck, upper back, hips to knees.

Tabata workout #2

wide stance squats

Wide stance squat 

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder distance, pointing your toes out slightly.
  • Keep your back flat. Engage your core.
  • Bend both knees and sit back at hips down into a squat.
  • Keep your body weight in heels.

v ups


  • Lay on your back.
  • Lift your left leg to right arm straight up together, lower down and switch sides.

alternating lunges

Alternating lunges 

  • Start with your feet together.
  • Take a huge step forward, bending both knees.
  • Make sure your forward knee does not go past your toe.
  • Keep your body weight in your forward heel.
  • Lunge back and switch sides.

jump rope

Jump rope

  • Stand with your feet close together and jump up and down.
  • Be light on your toes!
  • Move your hands in small circles as if you were holding a jump rope.

Tabata workout #3

sumo pulse squats

Sumo pulse squats

  • Stand with your legs wide, toes turned out.
  • Keep your back flat. Engage your core.
  • Bend both knees and sit back at hips down into a squat.
  • Keep your body weight in heels.
  • Make small pulsing motions keeping your glutes tight.

forearm plank

Forearm plank

  • Place your elbows directly under your shoulders.
  • Keep upper back straight.
  • Engage your core.
  • Tighten your glutes.
  • Focus on your breathing.

skate jumps

Skate jumps

  • Start on one end of your mat.
  • Jump as wide as you can to the other side of your mat landing on one foot and balance.
  • Repeat and jump to the other side of your mat.
  • Tip: GO for distance, height, and power. Keep your core engaged and soft bends in your knees.

plank jacks

Plank jacks

  • Begin in a plank position, with your hands placed under your shoulders, your body positioned in one straight line, and your feet together.
  • Engage your core.
  • Like the motion of a jumping jack, jump your feet out wide and then back together.
  • Be light on your feet.

Tabata workout #4

spiderman push ups

Spiderman pushup 

  • Begin in a plank position with hands wide and feet narrow.
  • As you bend your elbows into a pushup, draw your knee to your elbow on the same side.
  • Do a hard exhale as you push up to plank position and engage your core.
  • Repeat on the other side.

reverse crunches

Reverse crunches 

  • Lay on your back with your arms by your sides.
  • Curl your knees in toward your chest, lifting your tailbone off the floor.
  • Do a big exhale as you lift up. Engage your core and lower down slowly.

high knees

High knees

  • Run in place driving knees as high as you can.
  • Running light on your feet!

spiderman plank runs

Spiderman plank runs

  • Begin in a plank position with hands under your shoulders and your feet together.
  • Engage your core and keep your back flat.
  • Bring your knee toward your elbow on the same side. Bring that foot back and repeat on the other side.
  • Move fast!

Tabata workout #5

jump squats

Jump squats

  • Squat down, touching elbows to knees and jump up driving arms towards the ceiling.
  • Land softly, bending at in the knees and keep your body weight in your heels.
  • Repeat. 

up down planks

Up-Down planks 

  • From a plank position with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Lower down to your right forearm, then to your left forearm, then back up to your right hand then up on your left hand (make sure you place your hands underneath your shoulders when pushing back up)
  • Keep your back flat, core engaged and try your best not to rock side to side.



  • Squat down.
  • Hop back into the plank position, then hop back to a squat.
  • Jump up. Land softly and repeat.

toe touches

Toe touches 

  • Lay on your back with legs straight up.
  • Engage your core and lift your upper body, reaching your hands to your toes.
  • Tip: Press your lower back into the floor.

Ready to get started? 

Tabata training is an awesome intense and quick workout that can be used to increase your fitness levels, gain strength, and shred that dreaded body fat.  

Using high-intensity interval training workouts like Tabata is effective, quick, and fun! 

Bonus Tip: Want more Tabata workout options? Sign up for the LadyBoss® Free 7 Day Experience to access the full library of  AfterBurn at Home workouts in the  LadyBoss® Pocket Trainer.



Related Posts

Workout warm-up

Workout Warm-Ups

I’ll never forget my early athletic days when I absolutely dreaded the warm-up portion of practice. After surviving an incredibly long and exhausting day at

Read More »