Tabata workout: four-week exercise plan to burn fat and boost energy fast

You'll see results quickly with this Tabata workout, made up of just four-minute circuits

Woman doing a Tabata workout, a form of HIIT
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking for a form of exercise that can quickly burn fat and boost energy, then a Tabata workout is for you.

Long days chained to our desks and increased levels of anxiety linked to uncertainty can leave energy in short supply, but exercise can help replenish those much-needed reserves. It helps increase energy levels by boosting blood and oxygen flow around your body, releasing those feel-good endorphins and improving sleep quality and focus. 

And nothing dials up those happy hormones like a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session - of which Tabata is one form - according to a study at the University of Turku in Finland. 

‘The release of endorphins trigger a happy feeling in your body and mind, giving you the opportunity to re-energise,’ says Anytime Fitness UK Master Trainer Dominik Rzadowski.

Short on time? No problem. Dominik has created a Tabata-style plan to help you trim, tone and turn up your energy supply in just 15 minutes. This fast and furious at-home plan will help you burn fat, increase endurance and leave you feeling more energised in minutes. 

What is a Tabata workout?

Tabata training is a type of HIIT workout featuring routines that last just four minutes. In our Tabata workout plan outlined below, four-minute circuits are performed three times over, with a break between each.

Working out in this way will “increase aerobic and anaerobic capacity (exercise with and without oxygen) and improve your stamina,’ Dominic says.

What’s more, he thinks the four-minute sections make the workout seem more manageable. ‘I’ve tried to mix up the moves, too, to maximise fat-burning potential, and inject variety into the routine to keep everyone motivated.’ 

As an added bonus, our Tabata workout might just help keep your appetite in check, too. On average, exercisers eat 11% less over 24 hours after doing high-intensity cardio for 15 minutes. This is because your body circulates more blood to prevent overheating, and therefore diverts it away from your gut, putting a pause on your appetite. 

Our four-week Tabata workout plan

Our four-week plan includes three workouts a week. Ensure you complete the warm-up before each session, and where possible complete some stretches afterwards to avoid Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

Get started by mastering some of the key moves outlined below, and then following our week-by-week exercise plan.

Tabata workout: key moves explained

Floor hop-over

Use a towel or a box as your ‘hop over’ marker. Keeping feet together, bend your knees and jump over your marker to the other side. Land with bent knees. 

Tabata Workout Floor Hop-Over

(Image credit: Future)

Side bridge

Lie on your side and support your body with your forearm and your feet. Li your hips up to create a straight line all the way down your body, then lower back down. 

Tabata Workout Side Bridge

(Image credit: Future)

Front bridge rock

Perform a plank position with weight resting on forearms and balls of feet. Slowly rock your body forward over your forearms, so your chin is past your fists, and then rock back. 

Tabata Workout Front Bridge Rock

(Image credit: Future)

Ice skater

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hop on to your right foot, while bringing your left leg behind your right leg. At the same time swing your left arm out in front and right arm behind. Switch sides, hopping to the left and repeat the move. 

Tabata Workout Ice Skater

(Image credit: Future)

Dive-bomb push-up

Get on all fours with your feet hip-width apart and hands shoulder-width apart. Push hips up as high as possible, so you resemble an inverted V. Keep back at with arms and legs straight (but knees unlocked). As you lower hips, keep legs straight, but allow your arms to bend as you push forward, so your cheek grazes the floor. Push through hands to full arm extension. 

Tabata Workout Dive Bomb Push Up

(Image credit: Future)

Tabata Workout: week 1

Warm-up

Jog on the spot for 30 seconds, Squat to reach (simply squat down, rise back up and reach your hands up), 20 reps, 60-second rest. Perform circuit twice.

Tabata workout

For each move listed do 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest, and repeat for the specified number. Perform each four-minute circuit three times, with a 30-second rest after each complete circuit.

Workout 1

Jumping jacks x 2 (eg, 20 seconds of jumping jacks, 10-second rest, 20 seconds of jumping jacks, 10-second rest, then move on to the next move)

Mountain climbers x 2

Burpees x 2

Squat jumps x 2 

Workout 2

Squat jumps x 2

Push-ups x 2

Lateral jumps (feet together jump from side to side) x 2

Mountain climbers x 2 

Workout 3

Ice skaters x 2

Push-ups x 2

High knees x 2

Squat jumps x 2

Tabata Workout: week 2

Warm-up

Repeat warm-up from last week. 

Tabata workout

Apply same Tabata-style training (as above) to the below moves and perform same number of circuits.

Workout 1

Jumping jacks x 2

Plank jacks (perform a plank, then jump feet wide and back together) x 2

Squat jumps x 2

Mountain climbers x 2 

Workout 2

Lateral jumps x 2,

Side burpees (like a normal burpee but press-up part performed to the side) x 2

Squat jumps x 2

Flutter kicks (lie on your back, legs straight out and rapidly kick feet up and down in scissor motion) x 2 

Workout 3

Lateral jumps x 2

Quick feet push-ups (jog on the spot for 5 seconds, drop down into a press-up then stand up and repeat) x 2

Reverse lunges x 2

Side burpees x 2 

Tabata Workout: week 3

Warm-up

Repeat warm-up from previous weeks. 

Tabata workout

For your main workouts, take the 10-rep challenge – start with 10 reps of each exercise, then x 9, x 8... all the way down to x1 

Workout 1

Hand walks (place hands on floor in front of you, walk hands out into plank and walk them back)

Squat jumps

Lying leg raises (lie on back with legs extend, then lift legs up together to 90° and slowly lower back down)

Burpees

Workout 2

Squat jumps

Dive-bomb push-ups

Warrior lunges (perform regular lunge, but reach arms up above head)

V sit-ups (Lie on floor, create a V by lifting legs and torso up together so hands touch legs. Lower arms and legs almost to the floor. Repeat.)

Workout 3

Lateral jumps

Quick feet push-ups (as per week 2) x 2

Reverse lunges

Side burpees

Tabata Workout: week 4

Warm-up

Repeat warm-up from previous weeks. 

Tabata workout

For each move listed do 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds rest (yep, it gets tougher this week!). Perform each four-minute circuit three times, with a 30-second rest after each complete circuit.

Workout 1

Jumping Jack

Plank Jack

Squat jump

Mountain climber 

Workout 2

Long jump (feet together, jump forwards as far as you can, using a big arm swing to propel you forwards)

Push-up

Mountain climber

Floor hop-over

Workout 3

Lateral jumps

Front bridge rock

High knees

Side bridge

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