Boost Your Tabata Workouts With These Top Exercises

Tabata Exercises

Short sprints are a must for high intentsity Tabata training

Wondering which exercises you should turn to if you are planning a Tabata workout?

Tabata training is one of the most intense types of cardio training that can be done as it lasts just four minutes.

This circuit style approach has you doing twenty seconds of exercise alternating with ten seconds rest until eight rounds of exercises have been completed in total.

What are the best exercises for a Tabata workout program? How can you go about doing Tabata training to see optimal results?

Some exercises will definitely deliver more ‘bang for your buck’ so to speak, so let’s take some time to go over which will provide you with the greatest overall benefits.


The first must-do exercise to consider is the burpee. Burpees are great because they’re going to work the hamstrings, quads, core, and upper body all at once.

With all of those muscle groups getting involved, you’ll burn a great number of calories with each rep you complete.

Burpees are perfect for overall cardiovascular conditioning and you’ll even get a good degree of strength progression when doing them.

Overhead Barbell Squats

The next exercise to consider is overhead barbell squats.

This is simply done by holding a barbell directly over your head with your elbows extended and then squatting down as you complete the movement.

Because you’re holding the weight overhead while doing this exercise, that is going to bring the core into play to a greater degree, upping the intensity.

While you could just do regular squats and still see good progress, this variation is even more intense.

Start with a light weight for this however because you will be feeling the fatigue set in by interval three or four.

Overhead Barbell Squats

Try overhead barbell squats for greater intensity in your Tabata workout

If you begin too heavy, you won’t be able to get through all 8 intervals.

Uphill Sprints

Uphill sprints are another great way to perform Tabata training.

For this one, you’ll likely want to perform it on an incline treadmill since you’ll need to be ‘on’ longer than you are ‘off’.

If you can, get two treadmills going side by side. Set one for a high speed and high incline and another for flat walking at a moderate pace.

Now alternate between the two, completing the 8 intervals.

Do 20 seconds on the incline treadmill and then 10 seconds on the flat walking treadmill.

This can easily be done if the gym is relatively empty and you can use both machines.

Kettlebell Swings

Finally, you have kettlebell swings.  Kettlebell swings are great because here again, they’re going to work multiple muscle groups at once, giving you an greater overall calorie burn.

You’ll hit the lower body very well while doing kettlebell swings while also helping to work the shoulders, back, as well as the core.

Just as with overhead squats, use a lighter weight when first starting until you know for certain you can complete all eight intervals at that particular weight level.

Once you know this, then you can start increasing the weight accordingly.

So give one of these exercises a try next time you decide to perform Tabata training.

It’s one of the best types of cardio you can do and with these exercises in place consistently, you’ll see strong improvement in your fitness.