Tabata – HIIT Workout

Tabata (pronounced tuh-bot-uh) holds a warm place in my heart because my friends introduced me to it while we were in Thailand, the six of us filling up our hostel’s outdoor space and sweating profusely in Southeast Asia’s infamous heat. We also combined a few rounds of tabata with a beach run in Costa Rica and were sore for days. 

It’s now one of my favorite ways to squeeze in a (difficult) workout just about anywhere. With the weather changing and indoor workouts becoming more of my go-to, I wanted to share all about my favorite full-body workout and why you should try it out. But first – what the hell is it? : ) 

Tabata is defined as a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, discovered by scientists in Japan that tested longer, more moderate workouts against shorter, more intense workouts. Guess which one had more impact on the aerobic and anaerobic systems? HIIT!

Tabata, in particular, works like this:

○ Exercise for 20 seconds
○ Rest for 10 seconds
○ Complete 8 rounds, for a total of 4 minutes
○ Rest for 1 minute, then move on to next set


1. Quick yet effective workouts, great for people in a time crunch
2. Equipment-free with the option to add hand weights, med balls, etc.
3. Can be done anywhere with a little open space
4. Helps with your “mental” game since you are holding yourself accountable
5. All workouts can be easily swapped or modified to your preference

Some people do one exercise per 4-minute set, but I prefer to include two exercises in each set. For example, in Tabata 1, below, I would do:

○ 20 sec of mountain climber push-ups
○ 10 sec rest
○ 20 sec of side step hops
○ 10 sec rest
○ Continue until 4 min is complete
○ Rest for 1 minute, move on to next set

Have you ever tried tabata? If so, are you unable to walk for many days after like I am? For all my deathly workouts in one place, follow my “Sweat” Pinterest board here.

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