Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto, tabata, tabata. That’s how the saying goes, right? Tabata, pronounced ta-bah-ta, is all the rage in the fitness world…for the right reasons. Tabata involves 20 seconds of work immediately followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of 4 minutes. There’s only one caveat: you have to push yourself. To. The. Max.
In order to reap the benefits from tabata, you must perform at a high level of intensity (i.e. breathing heavy, sweating, red-face, whatever your hard workout looks like). You can use any exercise of your choice, even starting with a basic squat if you’re new to this method.
Earlier last month I had the opportunity to take a Friday night tabata class at Bayshore Fit. The class, aptly named “T.G.I.F” (Tabata Get Intense Friday), is located in the Shed, their hybrid-training facility with many “fun” workout tools (think tires, battleropes, kettle bells and TRX straps). Every “TGIF” class is different but the concept is the same: six circuit stations, a large timer on the wall and 20 seconds on/10 seconds off at every station before moving on. If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, stop by Bayshore Fit for a healthier happy-hour on Friday, at least before going out for drinks :)
The trainers at Bayshore Fit created the workout below for My Healthyish Life readers with the goal of showing that you can get a great, sweaty workout in a short amount of time. As for equipment, you only need dumbbells and a step, but you can eliminate the dumbbells if needed.
Instead of counting for 20 seconds (because we all know that counting speeds vary), I recommend downloading an interval timer app or just using the stopwatch on your phone. Of course, the intensity will vary due to fitness levels, and consult with your doctor before performing strenuous activity.
P.S. Don’t make fun of my “serious” face.
Tabata 1- Inch Worm Push-Ups: Stand with your feet at hip width. Hinge forward at the waist and touch the floor with your palms. Walk your hands forward slowly, alternating your left and your right. Keep going until you are in a push-up position. Now, keep your hands in place and slowly take short steps with your feet, moving only a few inches at a time. Continue walking until your feet are by your hands, keeping your legs straight as you do so. Repeat. (Description source)
Tabata 2- Squat Jumps: Start with your arms by your side, feet shoulder width apart, head up, and back straight. Keeping your back straight and chest up, squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Now, pressing mainly with the balls of your feet, jump straight up in the air as high as possible, using the thighs like springs. When you touch the floor again, immediately squat down and jump again. Repeat. (Description source)
Tabata 3- Toe Taps: Stand behind a step, platform or plate weight (as shown) and touch the right toe on top. Jump up, switching the feet in the air to touch the left toe on top. Continue, going as fast as you can. (Description source)
Tabata 4- Step-Up + Shoulder Press: Holding dumbbells, place one foot on a box, step or stair. Bend your elbows to bring the weights to shoulder height. Step up, and, at the same time, press the weights overhead. Carefully step down and lower weights. Repeat, switching sides every time. Note: if you don’t have access to dumbbells, simply perform step-ups. (Description source)
Tabata 5- Plank Row: Place your hands on a pair of dumbbells and set your body in a push-up position. Make sure that your arms are completely straight with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your palms facing each other. Keeping your abs tight and elbows close to your body, row one dumbbell off of the floor, pulling your elbow as high as you can while you squeeze your shoulder-blade back. Return the dumbbell to the floor. Repeat, switching sides. Modification: Lower knees to floor. Note: if you don’t have access to dumbbells, perform a basic push-up. (Description source)
Tabata 6- Bicycles/Boat Hold: *For the first 20 seconds of work, perform bicycles. Rest for 10 seconds. Then, for the next 20 seconds of work, perform a boat hold. Alternate exercises every round.*
Bicycles- Lie on your back with your legs bent and hands behind your head. Lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor and simultaneously move your right elbow and left knee toward each other while straightening your right leg (don’t let it touch the ground). Draw your right knee back up and immediately move your left elbow and right knee toward each other while straightening your left leg. Repeat, alternating sides. (source)
Boat hold: Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet resting lightly on the ground as you balance on your sit bones. With your core engaged, lengthen through your torso and recline slightly, avoiding any rounding of your back. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, then extend your legs, creating a V-shape with your torso and legs. Breathe comfortably throughout the move. (source)