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Fitness

What Is A Full Body Tabata Workout And How To Do It At Home?

by Power Life Team | October 01, 2020

There are so many wonderful workouts to choose from these days, but there’s one, in particular, that’s gaining traction. This is because its high intensity training targets your whole body and you can do it (without weights) in your own home. It’s called the Full Body Tabata Workout. 

speed skaters | My Power LifeDr. Izumi Tabata designed the Tabata Workout. Dr. Tabata is a former National Institutes of Health researcher who now teaches at Japan’s prestigious Ritsumeikan University. It all began when Dr. Tabata was asked to analyze Japan’s Olympic speed skating team’s training practices. 

His studies found that high intensity interval training significantly improved the athletes’ heart and lungs’ ability to get oxygen to their muscles. Additionally, their cardiovascular endurance improved.1

As far as strength training goes, the Tabata Workout challenges each muscle group by implementing a string of short, rigorous, total body exercises. If you’re looking for an effective high intensity training program out there, you may want to see if a full body Tabata Workout is for you. It’s a total body blast.

What Exactly Is Tabata?

Tabatas are sets of intense training within the workout that are each executed for a total of four minutes. Within a single Tabata, you perform each exercise for 20 seconds of intense activity, then you allow the body to rest for 10 seconds. You repeat the cycle of work then rest, work then rest for a total of eight rounds before moving to the next Tabata.

This maximum effort workout has been said to improve your ability to perform the aerobic exercise (light activity sustained over a stretch of time) as well as your anaerobic capability (intense bursts for shorter bits of time). 2

While you can absolutely modify your workout to fit within the Tabata method, it’s best for practiced athletes who enjoy full body high-intensity training. The exercises can be complex. 

tabata circuit | My Power LifeHow Often Can I Do This Workout?


When the Tabata protocol was created, athletes performed the workout four times a week. Those practicing the full-body workout were some of Japan’s top athletes. It might be smart to connect with a personal trainer to address your workout goals and level.

Luckily, you can mix and match various exercises using the Tabata technique. If you choose to target different muscle groups each day, you can do Tabata daily. But it might be best if you stick to Tabata four days a week and go for longer form cardio on your in-between days.

Whether you’re performing reverse lunges, high knees, overhead presses, side jumps, side planks, or jump squats, you want to carry out each exercise at your maximal level. Some trainers say that if you’re not hitting the proper form and giving 100 percent effort, it’s not really Tabata.

A legitimate warm-up of around five to seven minutes is essential before you get into the thick of your Tabata Workout. And don’t forget that cooling down is important, too. 

Do your best to check in with yourself about intensity levels. If you need to add extra time for resting between rounds, please do so. Safety first. Also, feel free to modify your workout to steer clear of discomfort.

Full Body Tabata Strength Workout

Now, Tabata training can be quite challenging, but you’ll find if you select the right toning exercises and strength exercises, you’ll enjoy the feeling of the blasts. To help you get started with your first full-body Tabata strength workout, Tony Horton has selected a few great exercises.

Of course, always chat with your doctor before attempting this workout program. And if you have any injuries or other conditions, be mindful of modifications.

Finally, make sure you’ve got an easy-to-use stopwatch (your smartphone should be pretty reliable). Allow yourself breaks of at least 30 seconds in between Tabatas. Are you ready to get your heart rate going? Let’s jump in.

Your First Tabata: Reverse Lunges (Don’t Forget To Switch Legs)

Your first exercise is all about strengthening your lower body. From the moment you hit your starting position, you’ll want to engage your core. Making sure you activate your core will help you with your balance.reverse lunge | My Power Life

How To Do Reverse Lunges:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands behind your head as if you were about to do a crunch.
  2. Next, take a step back with your right foot. 
  3. Lower your body just until your right knee is about to touch the floor. You’ll know you have the proper form when your front knee (in this case your left knee) is above your left ankle.
  4. Return to your starting position. To do this, you’ll want to drive through the heel of your left foot. Simultaneously, push off the floor with your right foot.

Always remember: If you need to modify this exercise, you can place your hands on your hips. You can also put one hand on the back of a chair to help you balance. If you could use a little extra push, hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your arms extended by your sides. 

You don’t want to allow your front knee to extend beyond your toes. Do eight rounds. Perform your lunge for 20 seconds. Then rest for 10 seconds. Switch legs between strength reps.

Your Second Tabata: Jump Squat (Keep Your Feet Hip Width Apart)

jump squats | My Power LifeYour second exercise focuses a bit more on strengthening your glutes. These squats should help you improve your explosive power, improving both your lower and upper body strength. 

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. You want to keep your toes parallel and try to maintain the hip-width distance even when you’re up in the air. 
  2. Next, activate both your glutes and your core. Slightly fold at the waist, sending your hips back and allowing yourself to sink into a squat.
  3. At the bottom of your squat, use everything you’ve got – Tabata style – to jump up!
  4. Land on your toes, but sink into your next squat immediately. This should feel like one fluid move. 

Repeat for eight rounds. Perform your jump squats for 20 seconds. Then rest for 10 seconds.

If you need to modify your exercise, you can keep your feet on the ground. But try to bound upward with all you’ve got.

Your Third Tabata: Side Jumps (Activate Your Core Throughout The Whole Move)

high intensity training | My Power LifeFor this final Tabata, you’ll need to harness real energy from your core and your legs. The key to an effective side jump is to keep your chest upright. And you want to make sure you land lightly to protect your feet.

How To Do Side Jumps:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lightly bend at the knees and drive your hips backward.
  2. With all your might, push off the floor, jumping to your right.
  3. Land lightly into a slightly bent-knee position. This will help your joints absorb the impact. Repeat the jump to the left. Keep this up as if it’s all one smooth move.

Repeat 20 seconds of left-to-right-to-left jumping for eight rounds. Don’t forget to give yourself a pause for 10 seconds between sets.

In the end, you’ll want to make sure you take the time to cool down. Five minutes of light cardio and a bit of stretching should do the trick. 

The above are just a few examples of Tabata exercises. If you add burpees, broad jumps, planks in the push up position, or kettlebell overhead presses, your workout should last around 30 minutes. 

Full Body Tabata Workout

Tabata works well when you blend explosive exercises with resistance training exercises. You will absolutely feel that you’ve worked your muscles. Everything from your left elbow to your right big toe will feel energized (along with every muscle in between).

If cardiovascular conditioning is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with a full-body Tabata Workout. You’ll not only get your heart pumping but also activate your core and glutes. But again, make sure to always get your doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise routine.  

Learn More:

What Is Vigorous Exercise And What Are Its Health Benefits?

Circuit Training Vs HIIT Training: What Are The Differences?

Healthy Habits Of Fit People: Tips For Your Daily Routine


Sources:
1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9139179/
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8897392/