WPS Health Insurance Blog

Tabata training delivers high intensity and saves you time

Posted by Missy Bruegl

Apr 25, 2013 9:00:00 AM

Women doing push upsStrapped for time due to a busy, hectic schedule but you still want to get the full benefits of a long workout? Did you ever think about trying High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? Don’t worry; it’s not as intimidating as it sounds! Just because it is high intensity doesn’t mean it has to be high-impact exercise. HIIT training is a great way to incorporate cardiovascular and strength training into a quick, high-intensity workout. 

One form of HIIT training I like to do on my own and in some of my group fitness classes is Tabata, a style of workout named after its founder, Izumi Tabata. Tabata intervals are broken down into a “work” phase and a “rest” phase. The work phase is 20 seconds of exercise, which is followed by 10 seconds of rest; repeat that for a total of eight cycles, or about four minutes.

If you intend to do more than one Tabata cycle, be sure to rest one minute in between. Below is a sample strength-training workout I did recently with my group exercise participants.

You will need a medicine ball, moderate and light weights, and a mat.


Tabata 1:

  • Squat with a biceps curl
  • Deadlift with bent-over row
  • One minute rest

Tabata 2:

  • Reverse lunge with lateral shoulder raises
  • Push-ups
  • One minute rest

Tabata 3:

  • Sumo squat hops
  • Overhead triceps extension
  • One minute rest

Tabata 4:

  • Static bridge with medicine ball pullover
  • Mountain climbers
  • One minute rest

Tabata 5:

  • Plank pose
  • Bicycle crunches
  • One minute rest

Cool down

There are many ways to keep track of the intervals such as a timer, smartphone app, or even your music can have cues to signal when to work and when to rest. I have all three and prefer the use of my GYMBOSS® timer and music I purchased from iTunes called “Total Body Tabata Volume 1.”

Have you tried Tabata training? If so, what have you tried? Share your story in the comments section below! You can also learn more about getting and staying active in our Health Center.

Topics: Wellness