Happy Fitness Friday (well, now it’s Saturday but we’ll roll with it…)! I’m trying to focus the first few posts on workouts that you can do at home or at the gym with bodyweight or minimal equipment before I start getting into more complex workouts that use a variety of equipment. Today I have a 20-minute tabata workout for you.
What is tabata?
Tabata-style workouts are a form of high intensity interval training where you work a certain movement or exercise at max effort for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest for a period of four minutes.
What are the benefits of tabata training?
When you work short bursts of all-out effort you are training in an anaerobic pathway. This means that the energy used to perform the exercise is done without oxygen. These types of activities are usually under 90 seconds in duration and require high power output. Examples are short sprints, push ups, pull ups, squats, etc. In contrast, aerobic training is done with oxygen and consists of activities like steady state cardio on the elliptical or treadmill, walking the dog, swimming, etc. It’s important to incorporate a mixture of both anaerobic and aerobic training in your workout mix but today we’ll talk about the benefits of anaerobic training.
Studies have shown that anaerobic conditioning is the pathway to making big gains in strength, power and speed. Anaerobic training is basically a fast track to upping your aerobic fitness. Want to be able to run longer? Looking to set a new 5K PR? Want to improve your endurance for performing unbroken sets of squats and pushups in the weight room? Incorporate this style of training into your workout mix.
This style of training will also help you burn fat more efficiently and kick your metabolism into high gear. I like to explain to my clients that it’s like placing shock pads on your workout to jolt you to a new level.
Who can tabata?
I recommend that you establish a base fitness level before routinely adding in anaerobic work. Baseline fitness required for starting to train anaerobically would be the ability to do things like run a mile while maintaining a conversation and being able to perform movements like 25 consecutive bodyweight squats or sit ups without too much struggle. It’s not that you can’t do tabata-style workouts at a lower fitness level but you’ll spend most of your working time taking breaks and won’t be able to sustain the max effort for the full work period. Of course, check with your physician before starting to train at high intensity levels, especially if you have a history of cardiovascular issues.
How to tabata?
Remember, the tabata cycle is 20 seconds work, 10 seconds recovery for four minutes of the same exercise. Since the work and rest intervals are so short it can be tricky to tabata on your own without someone telling you when to work and when to rest. There is an app called Tabata Pro that you can purchase for $2.99 that will help you keep track of your time and your cycles.
20-Minute Tabata Workout
I have put together a 20-minute tabata workout for you that only uses your own bodyweight so that you can easily do this at home, at the gym or while traveling. You don’t need a lot of space so it can be done in your living room or in a hotel room. I also filmed a short video that demonstrates proper technique for all of the exercises included in the workout.
Let me know if you have any questions about tabata or about the workout. As always, I would love to hear your feedback on the workout if you try it.
Have a great weekend and go get sweaty!