The Fast & Furious Tabata Workout

By Skimum Paula

I think Tabata is Japanese for “suffer,” but that may be unfair. Developed by a Japanese scientist by the same name, the theory behind a Tabata workout is that an intense, 4-minute workout can improve aerobic and anaerobic performance better than endless sets of lifts and miles of cardio. For busy (and unless carpooling is an Olympic sport, non-jock) Skimums, this sounds perfect!

According to (of course), the basic components of a Tabata workout include–

  • 20 seconds of intense training
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • 8 rounds total

Done in 4 Minutes!

I can suffer through just about anything for 4 minutes. Heck, I was in labor for 21 hours. Four minutes? Easy! Here is one Tabata workout Skimum and Personal Trainer, Melissa Newell, threw at me—

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Alternating backward lunges
  3. Jumping jacks
  4. Alternating backward lunges
  5. Burpees
  6. Side skaters
  7. Burpees
  8. Side Skaters

Well, I wouldn’t call it easy (re-read the first sentence). It’s really hard, but it’s over so quickly, it’s kind of a rush!

Because these are calisthenics-style exercises, you can do them in your home in your bare feet and Paul Frank pajamas after the monkeys have finally gone to bed. Very little space is required. Squats, burpees, jumping jacks – there are dozens of different exercises incorporated into a Tabata workout, but they generally are done in place. So, stand in front of the television, crank up an episode of Scandal and Tabata away. You’ll be done before the first commercial. You’ll feel like such a Gladiator! (Scandal humor)

Finally, other than a timer like the one on your phone, no special equipment is needed. You can grab a few hand weights (or a couple cans of diced tomatoes) to step things up, but many exercises rely on body weight as the resistance.

There are all kinds of Tabata recipes, but contact a personal trainer for a workout that meets your fitness goals and (of course) check with your physician before starting any exercise program.


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