Caroline’s “Too HOT to Trot” Tabata Workout.

Caroline’s “TOO HOT to TROT” Tabata Workout

Want to learn how to work smarter, not harder when it comes to accomplishing your fitness goals? Become a fan of high intensity interval training (H.I.T.T.).  Short burst, high intensity workouts provide quality training in minimal time for maximum results. One of the most popular high intensity interval training protocols is a method called Tabata. These 4 minute circuits are guaranteed to get you in great shape and leave you breathless. You may be thinking, “Four minutes…. thats IT?!”. But don’t write it off till you try it out. Trust me on this one,  less is MORE when you train smart. Are you ready to sweat? Here’s the scoop on Tabata training and a quick workout you can take with you anywhere for fast results. It’s a fun one…. and I hope it leaves you breathless 😉

What are Tabata Intervals?

Tabata’s is a form of High Intensity Interval Training. In the mid-90’s, Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo started experimenting with various exercise protocols to study their energy production systems in athletes. One protocol, now known as Tabata, produced major athletic performance improvements – increases in VO2Max, anaerobic threshold, fat loss and overall aerobic conditioning were all observed in repeated studies. Further research has shown the 4 minute Tabata protocol to be more effective than 60 minutes of endurance activity at improving anaerobic and aerobic capacity.

What are the benefits of Tabata training?

  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Increased anaerobic capacity
  • Increased resting metabolic rate (RMR)
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Said to improve insulin levels which could help with type 2 diabetes

How do I do it? 

Tabata intervals are set time periods of work and rest: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Tabatas can be performed anywhere and on any exercise. From swimming to spinning, lunges or burpees, Tabata training is convenient and doesn’t require a gym or fancy equipment. To perform the workout warm up properly for a minimum of 3-5 minutes. Then complete Tabata intervals (20/10 x 8: 4 minutes). You can add another exercise tabata circuit for a longer workout or simply stick to one 4 minute drill for a short, quality sweat.  Once you’re done, cool down, stretch, and enjoy the endorphin rush!

Things to Consider before you Tabata:

Tabata is considered an advanced form of training and should be treated as such. The goal is to challenge your body at a maximum effort – you should feel breathless and wiped at the end of each 4 minute circuit. It should be TOUGH! As with any type of high-intensity training, it’s best not to do interval workouts on consecutive days. Aim to alternate days and only perform interval training 2-3 times a week max to stay injury free and reap the most benefit.

First time interval training?

Don’t be intimidated, just ease your way into it. When trying out a workout for the first time its always a good idea to start out with less intervals or decrease the intensity. Try adding in 2 sets of tabatas at the beginning or end of your next cardio workout and build on from there, depending on how you feel. Then when you are comfortable add in more interval rounds and amp up the intensity. If you pace yourself and listen to your body you’ll improve your fitness gradually and injury free!

Caroline’s “Too Hot To Trot” Tabata Workout!

There are a LOT of ways you can personalize this workout to meet your needs. After the warm-up, choose to do one tabata for a short workout or mix and match with the other exercises included below for a longer sweat sesh. Customize the routine to fit your schedule and fitness level. Have fun, move well, and enjoy TABATA!

Warm Up (10-12 minutes)

An extended warm-up is always a good idea when getting ready for a Tabata workout. The warm-up not only helps prevent injuries, it allows you to push at a higher intensity when the time comes for 20 seconds ON.

  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 25 mountain climbers. Plank position, crossing opposite knee to elbow
  • 20 walking lunges
  • One minute of high knees
  • Repeat entire warm-up twice before beginning tabatas.

Exercise 1: Lower Body/Cardio. Side to Side Squat

Level 1. Perform side-to-side squats. Step left foot out to left, slightly wider than hip width and squat. Stand up from squat and bring left foot back next to right. Repeat the squat on the right. Continue on alternating for 20 seconds.

Level 2. Add hop between squats as you switch legs.

Level 3. Touch floor during squat, and add hop between squats as you switch legs

Exercise 2: Upper Body. PUSH UP.

Level 1. Do push-ups on knees.

Level 2. Do push-ups on toes. Between each push-up, perform a “jack” by jumping feet out and in.

Level 3: Do continuous push-ups on toes.

There are many different levels of the push-up. Click here for all the details on each one and to make sure you are performing yours with good form!

Exercise 3: Lower Body / Cardio. Alternating Lunges

Level 1. Alternating Lunge left and right for 20 seconds

Level 2. Perform one set of alternating lunges left and right. Then perform one plyometric lunge. Repeat.

Level 3. Plyometric jump lunges. Lunge down and explode body up in the air to switch sides.

Exercise 4: Core. Cross Fit Situps

Level 1. With soles of the feet together and knees apart, perform a crunch

Level 2. Same leg position perform a full sit-up

Level 3. Same leg position, perform the full sit-up for speed and QUALITY.

For a sample video of what this looks like, click HERE. 

Exercise 5: Total Body Burpee

Level 1. Hands to the floor. Step legs out to plank and back up to stand

Level 2. Hands to floor. Hop legs out to plank. Perform one push-up. Step or hop back in.

Level 3. Chest to the floor, body on the ground, hands by side of the chest. Quickly hop the legs between the feet and hop. Repeat.

Watch this video to see the burpee done WELL and for helpful form tips.

Once you have completed your workout, be sure to take 5-10 minutes to cool your body down, stretch, and hydrate. After all those burpees, this video might be a good choice:

The above workout can and should be modified to meet your specific needs. As always, HONOR your body and injuries. While I am a certified fitness professional, its always a good idea to check with your doctor before making any fitness and nutrition changes.

Copyright Caroline Jordan Fitness

Are tabata intervals part of your fitness routine? What is your favorite exercise to use for eight rounds of 20 seconds ON? Leave a comment below with your #1 favorite move to use  for Tabata training. I love sharing new ideas for workouts with you, together we can get STRONGER!

Have a great week and let me know how I can support YOU in all your fitness and life goals. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Till next time… keep shining 🙂


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