Tabata Part 2: Ultimate Exercises in only 4 Minutes

Yesterday we went over the Tabata Protocol, an exercise method that only lasts four minutes but can do more for your aerobic (and anaerobic capacity) than 60 minutes of cardio.  Don’t think it’s just limited to running and biking however; you can do other exercises that will work your full body and leave you crying on the floor like a baby when you’re done, and I mean that in the best way possible.  Here are some other exercises that will work burn major calories and kick your ass, while also improving your endurance, strength, and ability to operate at maximum capacity for longer periods of time.

  • Squat Thrusters – If you have a set of dumbbells, hold them up at your shoulders, do a squat, and then when you stand up thrust your shoulders up and do a shoulder press.  Your goal is to do as many reps as possible (with good form) in the 20 seconds.  Keep the weights right next to you so you keep your rest period to exactly 10 seconds.  Stand by a clock or keep a stop watch handy.  Here’s a handy video to show good form on Squat Thrusters:

    Dumbbell Thrusters
  • Jump Rope – After you read last week’s article on jumping rope, maybe you want to mix it in here with some Tabata.  Next time you’re watching Arrested Development reruns, see what you can get done during the 4 minute commercial break.
  • Push Ups - Don’t go for a specific number, just try and do as many push ups as possible in the 20 seconds for each interval.  Remember to work on good form, and write down the number of reps you do in each set.
  • Burpees – Funny name for an ass-kicking exercise.  Stand up, then squat down, kick your legs out, do a push up, bring your legs back in, and explode up into a jump.  Here’s a video showing the exercise in action:

    Burpees
  • Pull Ups – This will test your back, biceps and forearms to the limit.  Pull ups are my favorite exercise.

These are just a few examples.  Concentrate on exercises that work your whole body, that you can do safely but at maximum effort.  The great thing about Tabata is you can always improve.  If you did 10 burpees per segment last week, this week go for 11.  The better you get, the more reps you’ll be able to do in each 20-second set.  Always get stronger and faster.

Want to see some crazy Tabata in action? Check out this CrossFit workout in Oahu, where people did 8 rounds of Squats, Push-ups, Sit-ups, and Pull ups.  Technically it’s only 16 minutes of exercise, but look at these guys by the end of it.  That’s how I want to feel when I’m done exercising.  What did you accomplish in the last 16 minutes?


Oahu Tabata Exercise

What can you accomplish in 4 minutes?

-Steve

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  • Joe

    Looks ridiculous… what’s with the swinging pullups though? That’ll work your abs a bit I guess, but that much momentum kind of takes the work out of the bottom end of the pullup.

  • Joe

    Looks ridiculous… what’s with the swinging pullups though? That’ll work your abs a bit I guess, but that much momentum kind of takes the work out of the bottom end of the pullup.

  • Paul

    What horrible form throughout that video! Thats what happens when you are trying to go as fast as you can.

  • Paul

    What horrible form throughout that video! Thats what happens when you are trying to go as fast as you can.

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve

    Hey Paul and Joe thanks for the comments. Agreed, sacrificing form for speed is a terrible idea. Crossfit promotes pull ups with the swinging legs and body and stuff. I don’t like that. Personally, I’d rather isolate my back, biceps and forearms by not swinging at all.

    Sacrificing form and going crazy fast is a great way to get yourself injured.

    -Steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com Steve

    Hey Paul and Joe thanks for the comments. Agreed, sacrificing form for speed is a terrible idea. Crossfit promotes pull ups with the swinging legs and body and stuff. I don’t like that. Personally, I’d rather isolate my back, biceps and forearms by not swinging at all.

    Sacrificing form and going crazy fast is a great way to get yourself injured.

    -Steve

  • Mário Tabata

    Gostei muito do treinamento gostaria de saber mais informações. Moro no Brasil e aqui não tem nada parecido ainda

  • Mário Tabata

    Gostei muito do treinamento gostaria de saber mais informações. Moro no Brasil e aqui não tem nada parecido ainda

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve

    Um, ?que?

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com Steve

    Um, ?que?

  • Mike

    They are call kipping pullups as opposed to strict pullups (also done in crossfit). Go to http://www.crossfit.com and look at the demo of all the exercises.

    I used to be a firm believer in isolation exercises/weightlifting until I tried crossfit and Tabata exercises. My overall strength and endurance have gone up exponentially and I have come to realize that isolation exercises are a waste of time for what I am trying to accomplish. Isolation workouts do have their place; it really depends on what you are after.

    I know several people who do crossfit and Tabata at various skill levels and have never know any of them to have injured themselves from going fast. What really will get you is the competitive nature that crossfit breeds. You tend to overdo it because you are trying to beat or at least keep up with the person next to you.

    If you go and research the origin of Tabata you will find it is independent of “crossfit” but fits nicely into the crossfit idea.

  • Mike

    They are call kipping pullups as opposed to strict pullups (also done in crossfit). Go to http://www.crossfit.com and look at the demo of all the exercises.

    I used to be a firm believer in isolation exercises/weightlifting until I tried crossfit and Tabata exercises. My overall strength and endurance have gone up exponentially and I have come to realize that isolation exercises are a waste of time for what I am trying to accomplish. Isolation workouts do have their place; it really depends on what you are after.

    I know several people who do crossfit and Tabata at various skill levels and have never know any of them to have injured themselves from going fast. What really will get you is the competitive nature that crossfit breeds. You tend to overdo it because you are trying to beat or at least keep up with the person next to you.

    If you go and research the origin of Tabata you will find it is independent of “crossfit” but fits nicely into the crossfit idea.

  • bas

    People the meaning of Tabata (what they did on the vid) is also using a lot of energy and the way to do that is to use big muscle groups and as many as possible muscles.

    sorry for my bad enlgish

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  • http://profiles.google.com/crazythespo Jessica Seibert

    How often should you do Tabata? I have heard that some people only do it once a month or so. Would it be healthy to work it into your weekly workout? Or maybe even do it more than once a week? I haven’t tried it yet so this may be a crazy question, but I’m just curious :-)

  • Dave Findlay

    Wow. The guy leaning over the bucket at 3:55 just says it all. Still, if you can finish a workout like that, you deserve some serious respect.

  • Bill

    The biggest challenge with Tabata workouts is managing your timing while maintaining your intensity.  You should try the “Tabata Timer” to keep your super intense workout on track.   It is simple to use and has visual as well as auditory cues so that you can watch or listen for your activity and rest periods.  If you are listening to music on your device, the sound cues will overlay your music.  It really helps keep you focused on your workout without worrying about your timing.  There is a version for the iPhone in the iTunes store as well as a version for the Android in both the Amazon and Google stores.  Search for the “Tabata Timer” and make sure you get the original 4 star Tabata Timer created by KATR Software (https://www.katr.com).

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.cuevas Kathleen Cuevas

    I know it’s kinda late but I’d like to translate. He said ”I like this training very much and would like more information. I live in Brazil and we don’t have anything like it here.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.cuevas Kathleen Cuevas

    Mais tabata informacoes. http://crossfitbrasil.com/