Burn fat in just 20-minutes with this eight-move Tabata workout

This exclusive routine will make you work up a sweat, burn fat, and build muscle without weights

Woman doing a Tabata workout at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to burning fat fast, typically, people tend to think going for a run is the best route to getting fit, but did you know a Tabata-style workout is more effective than going for a steady-paced run? 

Lacing up a set of the best running shoes for men or running shoes for women and heading out for a run is a high-impact activity and can put a strain on your joints. Plus, it gets a little dull and becomes less challenging training at the same pace every day, so you struggle to target your heart rate and enter the fat-burning zone. 

We're not disparaging running at all—it's an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Still, if you're looking for an effective way to burn energy in a short time, Tabata-style workouts deliver the results. 

You'll find some of the best exercises for weight loss in most Tabata workouts. This training style is similar to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where the aim is to exercise intensely for shorter periods. 

Tabata torches calories and raises your base metabolic rate compared to steady-state exercise like running. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, it's more efficient at burning fat too. 

Want to give it a try yourself? Josh Davies, personal trainer at Aimee Victoria Long, has put together an exclusive, eight-move Tabata workout that'll burn fat and build core strength. You won't need any equipment either, just a bit of time. 

Watch Josh Davies' eight-move Tabata workout

20-minute Tabata workout moves

To fit an effective, fat-burning workout into the time, you'll do each of the eight exercises for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, and then tackle the next move. Complete five rounds of this four-minute routine for a 20-minute workout.  

1. Squat jumps

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower down into a squat, making sure your chest is upright and your knees aren't collapsing inward. 
  • Once at the bottom of the squat, explode upwards as fast as possible and get as high as you can. 
  • Land safely with bent knees and repeat for 20 seconds at a comfortable pace. 

2. Mountain climbers

  • Start in a high plank position. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core. 
  • Drive one knee at a time towards the same elbow. As you take that leg back, drive the other one forward.
  • Keep your back flat, and make sure your bum isn't in the air. Your knees should be raised just above the floor. 

3. Push-ups

  • Start in a high plank position, keep your core engaged, and back straight. 
  • Lower down until your chest almost reaches the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds. 
  • Drive through your palms and push your body back into a high plank position. 
  • Inhale as you lower yourself to the floor and exhale as your drive up.

4. Commando planks

  • Start in a low plank position, squeeze your glutes and engage your core. 
  • Transfer into a high plank without letting your hips rock from side to side. 
  • Then lower yourself back down into a low plank.
  • Repeat the movement for 20 seconds.

5. Jump lunges

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, core engaged.
  • Take a big step forward with your one leg. Keep your arms by your side or placed on your hips.
  • Shift your weight forward with this leg so your heel touches the floor first. Then lower your body until the forward leg is parallel to the floor. This is the bottom position.
  • Jump up, quickly switching the position of your feet while mid-air so your front leg moves back behind you and your other leg comes forward. 
  • Gently land back on the floor in a standard lunge position with the opposite leg forward. 
  • Repeat this movement pattern, switching legs on each jump for 20 seconds.

6. Kick throughs

  • Start in a high plank position, hands shoulder-width apart. 
  • Rotate your body to the left and kick your right leg through in one sweeping motion. Using your left arm, touch your hand to your toe. 
  • Bring your hand and foot back to the high plank position.
  • Repeat the move on the opposite side, touching your right hand to your left foot.

7. Burpees

  • Start by laying flat on the floor on your stomach. 
  • Perform a push-up, and when you reach the top, jump the feet in towards the hands, stand up, and perform a star jump. 
  • Lower yourself back down to the floor in a controlled fashion and repeat for 20 seconds.

8. Froggers

  • Begin in a plank position with your body straight and your legs and arms shoulder-width apart. Stack your hands under your shoulders.
  • Jump forward like a frog into a wide squat position. Your knees and feet should land just outside of your elbows.
  • Release your hands and look forward. Then, place the hands back on the floor, jump back into the plank position, and repeat.

In just 20 minutes, you'll burn energy, raise your heart rate, and boost your metabolism. This helps burn fat throughout the day, so it's an efficient way to exercise. 

This routine is ideal if you're new to high-intensity workouts and can be adapted to all fitness levels. If you want to take things a step further, why not try out our 30-day HIIT challenge to get your heart pumping.

Prefer training with weights? Pick up one of the best kettlebells and learn how to do kettlebell swings for muscle-building, fat-burning exercise that'll work your lower body and build core strength. 

Kirsty is an accomplished journalist specialising in the wellness industry. She has previously written for titles including Grazia, Popsugar, Metro.co.uk, Elle UK and the Sunday Telegraph. You’ll find her running around Windsor Great Park at 6am most mornings (before her toddler, Clementine Lilac, wakes up), followed by a virtual barre class with the team at Psycle London – where that barre burn is just so addictive. Kirsty loves to stock up on new activewear; because, let’s face it, you can never have too many pairs of sculpting leggings. She's always keen to try/endure the latest workouts to come to London. Kirsty also enjoys rustling up nutritious family meals and indulging in her newfound hobby: flower pressing.