20-Minute Total-Body Tabata Workout

If You've Got 20 Minutes, You've Got Time to Tabata

If you think you don't have time for a butt-kicking workout this holiday season, think again. Tabata, a form of high-intensity interval training, can burn up to 13 1/2 calories per minute, meaning just a short workout will leave you sweaty, full of energy, and ready to take on your packed day. Try this under-20-minute Tabata workout from Sports Club/LA trainer Judy Truong; she guarantees it'll leave you feeling "like you've been at the gym all day."

After a few minutes of warmup, start with Tabata One, and do each exercise for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds before you move on to the next move. Rest up to 30 seconds between each eight-move Tabata series, but make sure you keep rest breaks short to keep your heart rate up.

Get a printable image-free version of this workout here.

Tabata One: Lower Body

1. Squat

  • Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance.
  • Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend.
  • Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.
  • Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

2. High Knees

  • Stand on or off your mat with feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift up one knee high until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Lower down and repeat with other leg. Do this in quick succession, like you are jogging, for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

3. Static Lunges (Right Lead)

  • Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don't keep looking down). Always engage your core.
  • Step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn't touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

4. High Knees
Repeat high knees for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

5. Static Lunges (Left Lead)
This time, step forward with your left leg. Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

6. Skier Jumps

  • Stand on the left side of your mat with feet together. In a fluid, fast motion, step wide to your right, slightly squatting and bending your upper body at the waist. Balance on your right foot and keep your left foot behind you. Swing your left arm in front of you to help keep your balance.
  • In a fast motion, wide step to your left, balancing on your left foot with your right foot behind you and your right arm in front of you.
  • Repeat these side-to-side jumps for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

7. Sumo Squats

  • Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest to help you stay balanced, and bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep weight back in your heels.
  • Now rise back up, straightening the legs completely, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

8. Skier Jumps
Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for up to 30 seconds before moving on to Tabata Two.

Tabata Two: Upper Body

1. Push-Ups

  • Begin on all fours on your mat, then push up into plank position. Make sure your shoulders are aligned over your wrists and your fingers and palms are spread wide, with pressure focused in your fingertips. Pull your belly button in, keeping your spine straight so your body is in a straight line.
  • Make sure to connect your breath with your movements. As you lower, bend your elbows outward to the sides and slowly inhale, then exhale as you straighten back up.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds on all fours.

2. Plank Rotation Twist

  • Straighten back up into plank position with shoulders over wrists, belly button pulled in, and feet hip-width apart.
  • Twist your upper body to the right, releasing your right arm and bringing it up above you so that you are facing the right. Remember to keep the toes of both feet planted on your mat.
  • Lower back down to plank position, then twist to your left side, holding your left arm up.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, making sure you stay in plank position for a beat before switching sides. Rest on all fours for 10 seconds.

3. Side Plank Hip Dips (Right Side)

  • Lie on our side, facing the right. Place your right forearm in front of you and make a fist.
  • Stack your left foot on top of your right, and rise up until your entire body is off the mat, bearing your weight in your right forearm. You can choose to place your left hand at your hip, or for a more challenging move, raise your left arm to the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower your right hip slightly until it hovers just above your mat, making sure not to let it touch your mat. Bring your hip back up to starting position.
  • Repeat this pulsing move for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

4. Plank Rotation Twist
Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

5. Side Plank Hip Dips (Left Side)
Lie on your left side, and do this move for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

6. Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a traditional push-up starting position — shoulders over hands and weight on just your toes.
  • Bring your right foot forward, bending the knee and putting weight on the ball of your foot.
  • Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward while moving the right leg back. It should feel a little like running in place in a plank position.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, making sure that your head stays in line with your body and that you keep your abs engaged. Rest for 20 seconds.

7. Superman

  • Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Keeping your arms and legs straight (but not locked) and torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form an elongated "U" shape with your body — back arched and arms and legs lifted several inches off the floor.
  • Hold for two to five seconds, and lower back down to the floor.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

8. Mountain Climbers
Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for up to 30 seconds before continuing to Tabata Three.

Tabata Three: Ab and Core

1. Crunches

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head or ears and lower your chin down slightly.
  • Engage your abs and pull them in as you curl up so that your head, neck, and shoulder blades lift off the floor.
  • Hold for a moment here, and then lower slowly back down, making sure to keep your abs engaged as you lower.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

2. Plank

  • Start resting on all fours.
  • With your palms flat, raise up off your knees onto your toes. Keep your hands directly below your shoulders.
  • Contract your abs to keep yourself up and prevent your bottom from sticking up. Remember to keep your belly button pulled in.
  • With your head and spine in line, keep your back flat — don't let it curve. Picture your body as a long, straight board.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

3. Bicycle Crunches

  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground (pull your navel in to also target your deep abs).
  • Put your hands behind your head, then bring your knees in toward your chest, and lift your shoulder blades off the ground, but be sure not to pull on your neck.
  • Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
  • Now switch sides, and do the same motion on the other side to complete one rep.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, switching sides in a fluid motion like you are pedaling on a bicycle. Rest for 10 seconds.

4. Planks With Knee Tucks

  • Start in plank position, then lift your right foot and bend your knee so that it is close to your arms. Straighten out your right leg back to plank position.
  • Switch, this time tucking your left knee.
  • Continue for 20 seconds (this will feel like a slower mountain climber), then rest for 10 seconds.

5. Reverse Abs

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your arms straight by your sides.
  • Bracing with your arms, lift your lower body up until your lower back is off your mat and your knees are above your head, if possible.
  • Lower down slightly, making sure that your lower back and bum don't touch the floor.
  • Repeat this pulsing move for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

6. Planks With Crisscross

  • Start in plank position, then lift your right foot and bend your knee so that it is close to your arms. Slightly twist to the left so that your right knee crosses your body diagonally. Straighten out your right leg back to plank position.
  • Repeat with the left leg, this time twisting slightly to the right.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

7. Leg Lifts

  • Begin by lying face-up on your mat. Lift your legs up so that they are at a 90-degree angle from the floor.
  • Now lower your legs down to a 45-degree angle (or more). The lower you go, the harder this exercise will be.
  • Lift both legs so they are back to starting position. This is one rep.
  • Repeat leg lifts for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

8. Up-Down Planks

  • Come into plank position with your arms and legs straight.
  • Beginning with the right side first, lower your elbow to the floor where your hand was. Then lower your left elbow to the floor where your left hand was (now you are in elbow plank, with your forearms parallel).
  • Then come back into the starting plank position onto your right hand, and then back onto your left. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat this up-down motion for 20 seconds, then rest for up to 30 seconds before moving on to your last Tabata round!

Tabata Four: Your Choice

Choose any one of the above series, and repeat for your last Tabata round. Judy recommends the lower-body series if you sit or stand all day at work. "It's so important to develop the lower musculature in your body," she says. "It helps with walking and being more functional."

Latest