Best Tabata Workouts for Beginners (The Definitive Guide)

Known as a high-intensity interval training workout, Tabata features short yet physically demanding exercises that last for four minutes. Even if you’re new to this, you can still try out Tabata workouts for beginners so you can reach your goals. 

Over the years, there’s been an endless range of training programs you’ve heard about that are intended to help you crush your fitness goals.

If you’re seeking a new training program to incorporate into your daily routine, you may want to go for Tabata training. 

Whether it’s losing weight, increasing your flexibility, or strengthening your body, you can always rely on Tabata workouts. Just remember to be consistent with your exercise plans. 

Tabata workouts are an incredibly effective exercise to burn fat and improve your fitness levels. A Tabata exercise will help you make the most of a training session within a very short duration. 

Typically, even Tabata workouts for beginners will go like this: maximum effort for 20 seconds, then a rest period for 10 seconds. Do this for eight rounds so you get a highly intense four-minute workout.

Now Tabata exercises may be short in duration, but it’s not that easy. If you’re new to exercise, starting with a high-intensity training plan may be overwhelming. 

That’s why I’ve come up with this guide that will explain why it’s an awesome workout for all. Plus, I show you some short but vigorous exercises you can do at home so you can officially begin with your Tabata training. 

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The Tabata Program

Every exercise in the Tabata program only uses up four minutes of your time. However, these four precious minutes may just be some of the sweatiest moments you’d have to put up with. Here’s how a Tabata workout for beginners and all other fitness enthusiasts typically go:

  • Working out hard, going all out for 20 seconds
  • Taking a rest for 10 seconds
  • Finishing 8 rounds of this pattern

Basically, for 20 seconds, you’re pushing your body as hard as you can. Then, you take a break for just 10 seconds. This will be your first set. Make sure to finish eight sets of each exercise so you complete your Tabata workout. 

Female doing a hip flexor stretch

Pretty much you can do any exercise you prefer. There are so many options, push-ups, squats, burpees, and other exercises that will keep your various muscle groups in shape.

Features of Tabata Workouts

Intense, All-Out Workout

As I’ve mentioned, the Tabata exercise formula includes 20 seconds of maximum effort, then 10 seconds of rest. Again, even if this sounds short and easy, don’t slack off because it will require your hardest efforts. 

Don’t be discouraged, though. This routine is intended to include as many repetitions as you can into multiple sets of 20-second exercises. 

By the time the fifth or sixth set comes around, lactic acid may have already built up in your muscles. This will make even a simple exercise more challenging than you could ever imagine. 

In terms of structure, Tabata exercises are essentially demanding. Even in beginner based sessions, you won’t get to experience a complete recovery between your sets. Your heart rate may reach its maximum (or near it), so you’ll be short of breath by the end of the four-minute exercise. 

Get Sweaty with Any Exercise

Tabata workouts are an incredible foundation for engaging in long-term HIIT programs. You don’t have to adhere to very specific exercises. You can really try out any exercise. What’s important is you follow the 20-second work, 10-second rest interval and complete the eight sets. 

Another awesome thing about these Tabata workouts is that you’re always finding something new and interesting. It’s great if you’re keeping your exercises as fresh as you can. 

Switch things up and ramp them up any way you can. As a result, you can increase your motivation to work out and continually challenge your limits. If it’s your first time doing HIIT, a complete 8-round Tabata workout should be enough. 

Don’t forget to do dynamic warmup exercises before starting. This way, you’ll feel less sore after your workout and reduce the risk of injury. 

Build Your Workout with No Equipment

You can complete your Tabata workout with only one exercise or you can switch between two exercises.

Besides your timer, you won’t really need any other equipment as you’re using your bodyweight movements only. When you decide that you’re ready to incorporate weights to your workout, you can choose from many options.  

Ripped male bodybuilder doing dumbbell bicep curls.

Benefits of Tabata

Now you’ve gotten hold of how Tabata workouts are performed, let’s look into its wide range of amazing benefits for your fitness and health- making it one of the most effective forms of exercise out there.

1.      Tabata workouts burn fat.

Raising your heart rate and metabolism, Tabata workouts will help you burn fat faster. As your heart rate increases, this results in a boost in metabolism. As you’re working out at a high-intensity level, your body needs to work hard so you can keep up.

Your metabolism remains at a high level not only as you work out but also after you’ve completed your exercise. As a result, your body continues burning fat as you go on with your day.

With other types of easy to moderate cardio workouts, you’ll have to pass some time until the body enters the fat-burning zone. Just at that moment that you stop the exercise, your body also puts a stop to calorie-burning.

On the other hand, Tabata training immediately places your body in the fat-burning zone even at just the first round. It also keeps burning calories even hours after. 

Studies have already found how Tabata workouts are significantly more effective in burning calories compared to traditional cardio exercises within four minutes. 

2.     Tabata workouts help keep your muscles healthy.

As you go through rigorous workouts, you don’t only burn calories and lose weight. There’s also an increased risk of damaging and losing muscles as well. To keep your muscles healthy, you need to engage in exercises suitable for you. 

Bodybuilder doing dumbbell lateral raises

The high-intensity training you perform when doing this style of training is perfect for gaining lean muscle and protecting your muscle tissue. These intense workouts can build muscle because this exercise calls for the body to utilize more muscle tissue to be able to perform well. 

3.     Tabata workouts are incredibly convenient, even for busy schedules.

As adults, we just have too many commitments we can’t say no to. From family duties to deadlines at work, time is indeed precious. But not having the time (or resources) for exercise is a terrible excuse. With Tabata workouts, you only need at least four minutes of this HIIT to crush your daily workout goals. 

Remember, you don’t have to hang out at the gym for an extended period just so you can lose weight. You can always do Tabata workouts at home with no equipment at all AND still reap its amazing benefits. If you have your own home equipment, then you can always incorporate them into your exercise. 

While Tabata workouts are short, you won’t need to perform these exercises daily, thanks to their high intensity. If you’re short on time but appreciate a highly effective workout, Tabata exercises are perfect for you.

4. Tabata workouts can increase both cardiovascular and muscular systems.

With as little as four minutes, Tabata has been found to help increase your endurance and improve your performance for your cardiovascular and muscular systems. You CAN enjoy fitness gains that will take you one step ahead compared to the traditional one-hour aerobic workout.

Whether you’re casually exercising or have been a competitive athlete for years now, Tabata workouts are a great and efficient method for achieving amazing results. Expect a significant boost in energy and stamina, thanks to being able to sustain highly intense exercises even for a short period.

Looking at these brilliant benefits, it’s no wonder Tabata training has gained popularity over the years.

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Tabata for Beginners: Essential Tips

Making the most of Tabata workouts is an exceptionally good way of bringing benefits to your body. These include its capacity to burn fat, boost cardiovascular performance, and strengthen muscles, to name a few. In short, Tabata training can give you total body strength.

Female doing the plank exercise on a beach

For this reason, here are a few essential tips on how to engage in the workouts particularly if you’re just starting out.

Go for the right exercises suitable for your fitness level.

Take note, you’re going all out with these exercises. Because you’re giving it your maximum effort, these exercises should be well-suited for your fitness level.

For example, jumping lunges may seem relatively easy for your first round. However, when done at maximum intensity, it will either totally exhaust you or make you feel very uncomfortable especially when your form isn’t quite there yet.

Your Tabata exercises should never be too physically demanding for your current fitness level. It will put your body in a high level of fatigue and increase injury-related risks.

For effective Tabata workouts for beginners, you can try push-ups, squats, lunges, and mountain climbers at first.

Be aware of your breathing.

As you’re performing a high-intensity workout, you should be able to focus on how you’re breathing. Look for an opportunity during your 10-second rest to do proper breathing. Take a deep breath through your nose and then exhale through your mouth. This will pump oxygen within your muscles to help facilitate fat-burning and muscle repair. 

I assure you, taking deep breaths will keep you immersed in and committed towards your workout. 

Have you found your rhythm in breathing? Use it all throughout these exercises. Don’t forget to breathe deeply through your nose and let your breath out through your mouth. 

Properly warm down.

Following any workout, it’s crucial that you prepare your body to cool down. It’s should be an easy exercise so your body gradually shifts to a resting state. By properly winding your body down, you allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal.

It’s also less likely for you to feel sore if you stretch properly as part of the warm-down process. An example of warming down is to do static stretches for 10 to 15 seconds after every workout. 

Best Tabata Workouts for Beginners

One of the most straightforward Tabata exercises for beginners I can recommend you is the air squat-jump squat exercise.

Tabata Air Squat / Jump Squat

Air squats are a common exercise in many workout routines and CrossFit programs.

To perform an air squat, you can follow these steps:

  • Feet should be pointed straight ahead and kept at shoulder width apart.
  • As you squat, move your hips down and back again. The hips should go down lower than your knees.
  • Make sure you keep your heels flat on the ground and maintain a good posture while doing the air squat.

Next, you can interchange the air squats with jump squats.

  • Similar to the air squats, you stand with your feet apart, shoulder-width.
  • Begin by doing a typical squat but this time, you jump up hard. And I mean explosively hard.
  • As you land, keep your body lowered into the squat position to finish one rep. You should land completely with your feet on the ground.

Tabata Mountain Climbers

Another Tabata workout for beginners that I recommend is mountain climbers. Don’t forget to follow the 20-second max effort, 10-second rest interval. With mountain climbers, you can certainly boost the strength of your upper body, including your chest, arms, and shoulders. Your core will thank you, too!

When doing mountain climbers, you should:

  • Stay in a push-up position on the floor. Alternately drive your knees in towards your chest, like you’re running.
  • Keep your hips down while bringing your knees as high as you can.
  • Do this for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds.

Tabata Russian Twists

As a core exercise, you can do the Russian twist that targets the torso’s muscles. Here’s how you can do this exercise as part of a Tabata workout:

  • Keep seated on your sit bones, bend your knees, and lift your feet from the ground.
  • At 45 degrees from the floor, straighten your spine and make a V shape using your torso and thighs.
  • Straighten your arms in front of you, link your fingers together. You can also add weight, such as a medicine ball or weight plate.
  • Using your abs, twist to your right, back to the center, and then to your left.
  • Repeat this exercise, twisting from side to side, for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

This video shows how you can create a Tabata workout comprised of both Russian twists and mountain climbers.

Best Tabata Exercises

If you’re pushing through your physical limits, now you can take workouts that will boost your body to its maximum levels. The following fuss-free workouts can be performed by anyone, whether you’re a trainer, an athlete, or someone who casually exercises a couple of times a week.

25-Minute Tabata Workout

This explosive Tabata workout begins with cardio exercises for warmup. This will be followed by exercises for your arms, legs, and core. The workout includes jumping jacks, speed skaters, push jacks, and side knees for cardio.

For the legs, some of the exercises include squats, lunges, and lunge jumps. For the arms, there’s the additional weights with the dumbbells being used for bicep curls and regular press, among others.

Tabata for Lower Body Workout

For 12 minutes, you can use this highly intense workout to target your buttocks and legs. As it’s a quick bodyweight workout, you won’t need any additional equipment so you can do this practically anywhere.

Switch between two exercises, like low surrenders and squat jumps, for a duration of four minutes. Don’t forget the 20-second max effort, 10-second rest interval for eight repetitions.

Tabata Workout to Tone Everything

This Tabata workout will leave you feeling fulfilled. Even its warmup exercises are a winner already. Check out the switching of exercises, from superwoman to plank and from squat to plyo lunge, to name a few. If you think you’re capable of prolonged strength, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, this workout will work best for you.

My Final Thoughts

Now these are just some of the basic yet most important tips on Tabata workouts that I can share with you. I’m very pleased with how Tabata training goes because they’re such short yet efficient workouts.

It’s really a simple structure with 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, all within four minutes. So what do you really do with these sweet four minutes? You push yourself over and over again.

Not only are you burning calories during and after working out but you’re also building strength and gaining lean muscle in the process.

Time and again it’s been proven that you don’t have to spend so many hours in the gym to keep your body in good shape. On the other hand, Tabata workouts will push your body in quick yet efficient bursts. It will keep you moving all throughout the four minutes.

You can come up with different durations so it fits right into your schedule. You can complete all of these Tabata exercises at home, in your workspace, or just about anywhere you feel comfortable in.

If you’re looking forward to make the most of physical exercise, then you should have a go at Tabata. If you think you’re not yet in shape or have just begun your fitness journey, take extra caution and don’t exert excessive pressure on your body. If you do feel that your fitness level is enough for a Tabata workout soon, then you should definitely go for it.

Make sure to begin your training with warm-up exercises plus proper cooldown after you’re done. Amidst busy schedules and many commitments, a Tabata workout may just be what you need to change your life for the better.

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Best Tabata Workouts for beginners

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