A 4-minute Tabata exercise routine that can keep you fit

A 4-minute Tabata exercise routine that can keep you fit

tabata exercise

How about a 4-minute Tabata exercise to have that strength you always needed? Exercising is not just about lifting heavy, it’s more about endurance and strength than just building up your muscles.

Strength to muscle ratio is all about muscular strength which should be about 2.5 times your bodyweight. Strength to muscle mass ratio optimizes the symmetry of your body, together with its aesthetics and longevity, allowing you to develop a very beautiful and healthy body.

Most of us go to gyms and stick to either a cardio workout to lose fat or lift heavy weights to get that sculpted body. In reality, you achieve neither as both are important.

Burning fat is the ultimate goal along with having a balanced strength-to-muscle ratio. In simpler terms, if you don’t have the right strength for normal physical activities of life, you are doing it all wrong! A 4-minute Tabata exercise can definitely help you improve strength and have fantastic fitness. A Tabata exercise session is short and yet it uses a specific scientific technique to induce higher muscular strength along with higher fat burn.

A Tabata exercise can help you lose fat, improve strength to muscle ratio, and have a healthy body. So, why not take advantage of this incredible exercise, that can you give you all these benefits in just 4 minutes?

What is Tabata exercise?

tabata exercise

Tabata exercise training is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that features exercises that last four minutes in total. It was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. Although it lasts for 4 minutes only, it is quite possible that those 4 minutes will be the longest four minutes of your life.

Here’s how an ideal structure of a Tabata exercise looks like:

  • Work hard for 20 seconds (Exercise A)
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Work hard for 20 seconds (Exercise B)
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  •  Repeat this all for 4 times

This is one complete Tabata exercise. You can pretty much do any exercise you like, be it squats, burpees, push-ups, or kettlebell.

Research shows that quick 4-minutes sets can make a huge difference in muscular endurance by generating a lot of lactic acid and fitness in a short span of time.

In this blog, we will discuss about 2 Tabata sets and how to perform them.

What is an example of Tabata exercise?

An example of Tabata exercise is the following Tabata workout Set 1.

This consists of the following:

  1. The Push Up
pushups tabata exercise

The Tabata exercise must be performed 3 times per week, for example on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Every Tabata Set consists of 20 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery. This is called a 2 to 1 work-to-rest ratio. It works very well with both a piece of cardiovascular equipment like bicycle, treadmill, or electrical trainer and with body-weight exercises such as push-ups and the air squats.

There is no rule which says that you have to do the same exercise throughout the entire set. I personally do 20 seconds of push-ups (with the chest touching the ground) followed by 10 seconds of recovery, then 20 seconds of air squats followed by 10 seconds of recovery until I reach the 4 minutes of training.

It is slightly more difficult and advanced if you stick to the same exercise for the entire set, but if you are trying to squeeze as much as you can and do a shorter period of time, and you want to hit both the upper body and the lower body, you can follow the routine that I do.

Furthermore, if you want to perform the training as precisely as possible, you can download any app from the App Store or Google Play Store that times your Tabata exercise training in the Tabata format.  

Tabata Set 2:

Two bodyweight exercises included in the Tabata set 2 that complete the weekly training schedule are:

  1. The Kettlebell Swing
  2. The Burpees

This workout can  be performed three days of the week, such as Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, while Tabata Set 1 can be performed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can swap the two exercises if you wish.

Remember to do the same Tabata sets on alternate days.

Perform 20 seconds of kettlebell swing, followed by 10 seconds of recovery, followed by 20 seconds of burpees, followed by 10 seconds of recovery, for a total of 4 minutes.

How to perform the Kettlebell Swing?

kettlebell tabata exercise

Place the kettlebell in front of your body with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees while hinging at the hips, grasp the kettlebell and pull it backwards between your legs to create momentum. Next while pushing your hips forward, straighten your back and send the kettlebell up to the shoulder height. Let it return back between your legs and repeat the motion.

Inhale as you and the kettlebell swing back below the body, and then exhale as you forcefully stand.

How to perform the Beginner Burpees?

Image result for burpee

Bend down, place both hands on the ground in a push-up position, kick the legs up behind you, kick the legs back, and stand.

How to perform Normal Burpee?

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your arms at your sides. While pushing your hips back, bend your knees and lower your body into a squat. Place your hands on the floor in front of you and shift your weight onto your hands. Next, jump your feet back so as to softly land on your feet, into a plank position. Now, jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands. Reach your arms overhead and jump in the air. Land and immediately lower back into a squat for your next rep.

The Big 5: a similar exercise to the Tabata workout

Now, in addition to the Tabata set, you can perform this weekly routine, as it helps you work on your strength to muscle-mass ratio. This routine also helps to increase or maintain lean muscle to build strength, normalize blood pressure and a host of other benefits that you can get from resistance training.

Super Slow Training

This kind of training involves moving at a very slow pace as you go through a set series of exercises. It is possible to achieve a high amount of ‘Time Under Tension’ for a particular muscle group with this training. A ‘Time Under Tension’ training is made of one-single-set exercise. In this, you continue to do the same exercise until the target muscle reaches complete failure which is usually achieved within 60 – 90 seconds. However, there are some people that can continue for up to 3 – 4 minutes. Ensure that your weight is heavy enough to fatigue you completely over the course of the set.

The 5 different exercises of the super slow training:

  1. Chest Press
  2. Pull Up or Pull Down
  3. The Seated Row
  4. Shoulder Press
  5. Leg Press

1) Any Horizontal Push, such as the Bench Press, Push-Up, or the Band Chest Press if you are traveling

2) A super slow Pull-Up, Lat Pull Down, Band Row, or Suspended Pull Up

3) Any horizontal pull, such as bent-over/standing Dumbbell/Barbell Row

4) Any Vertical Push, such as Shoulder Press Machine, Dumbell/Bent overhead press, machine shoulder press, and Band Shoulder Press

5) Or Lower Body Exercise, legs machine, goblet squat, dumbell squat, or a series of super slow squat/lounge.

The secret to a great workout is never the amount of time you spend doing it. It is rather the intensity with which you do it. So, get your body the deadly combination of great shape and muscle strength with these workouts.

If you liked the Tabata exercise we discussed here, then let us know in the comment section. Also, if there is any other routine that you follow to increase your strength to muscle ratio, let us know in the comments section below.

You can also have a look at my article – Cardiovascular Fitness Exercises, for some simple and quick workouts.

Alessandro Cipullo

Wellness Explorer


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