November 29, 2017

Train with Tabata

Developed by Dr. Izumi as a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocol, Tabata places acute but short-lived stress on the body over set intervals. The intensity and intervals matter because the body begins to increase it’s basal metabolic rate (BMR)  in order to support these demands.

A higher BMR means your body will consume more calories while at rest. AND, if your diet is one that utilizes fats for energy efficiently, then fat in your body will just slide off as it is consumed to support your higher BMR (versus simply consuming more sugars or simple carbs). For more info on a highly efficient, fat burning nutritional plan, check out this link by Bulletproof.

Now back to Tabata. A typical Tabata style workout involves 20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 seconds of rest. You will repeat this sequence 8 times, the equivalent of 4 minutes..

The high intensity 20 second portion should equal 90-95% of your maximum effort. That’s a lot! So be sure to consult with a  physician before beginning any new workout routine. I’m not a doctor nor pretending to be one online.

This type of high intensity is what takes to impact your BMR. Plus you’ll enjoy the post-workout high that follows. To benefit from Tabata, you must make sure your workout is focused on intensity not duration.

An example workout is as follows:

  • :20 Burpee OH w/ PKB (:10 rest) x 8
  • Rest 1:00
  • :20 Sumo Squat High Pull w/ PKB (:10 rest) x 8
  • Rest 1:00
  • :20 Snatch w/ PKB (:10 rest) x 8

Tip: Keep track of the amount of reps you complete every  :20. And try to maintain that pace OR increase it with each round.


The SuperSet

What makes a superset super? Basically, a superset is when you do two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. And the two exercises can work opposite muscle groups or the same muscle group. You get the idea. FUN!

Grab your PKB and try the superset workout below. For more workouts like these, check out my cardio video training series.

  • 10 Overhead  Presses + 10 Push ups (rest and repeat)


  • 10 Overhead Presses + 10 Bent Rows (rest and repeat)

This same method can be used with weightlifting and standard bodybuilding movements too. Try to superset barbell bench press with barbell bent rows or bicep curls with tricep cable push downs. The possibilities are endless so get creative!

Tip: Do not rest between the two movements.


Grab a Partner!

Working out with a partner will naturally increase your desire to dig deeper and push harder. Grab a partner and create a workout. Below are a few examples to get you started.  

Try a Tabata style workout and compare your reps at the end of each round. Or, find exercises you can do together like buddy sit-ups or PKB tosses:

  • PKB toss  => squat together and throw the PKB to each other after each squat (try for 100 tosses) Here’s a quick video to demonstrate.
  • Plank hold + PKB swing =>  one partner will hold a plank for 1:00 and one partner will do one-arm or double-arm swings with the PKB for 1:00 (do this for 5 round)
  • PKB high-pull + Push ups => one partner will do PKB high-pulls (see photo above) until the other partner completes 20 push ups (do this for 7 rounds)

For more examples of workouts to try along with detailed instructions check out these blog posts:



Audrey is an ISSA, USAKL and Crossfit Level 1 certified fitness trainer specializing in kettlebells.  She's developed group and personalized training programs for children and adults in weightlifting technique, kettlebell lifting & kettlebell sport. She's all about helping people not only reach their physical training goals but mental and emotional as well. Body-wellness is a key ingredient towards a healthier and happier you.

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