Tabata Cardio Workout to Burn More Calories in Less Time

Tabata Cardio Workout to Burn More Calories in Less Time

Have you been spending hours on the treadmill and barely losing weight? You might want to consider doing Tabata training.

It’s a very effective form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that will push your limits and burn a LOT more calories. What’s more, your body will continue to burn calories hours after you’ve finished your workout.

So if you’re up for the challenge, continue reading.

The 4-Set Tabata Cardio Workout

In this workout, each set will have two high-intensity exercises that need to be done for 20 seconds each, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You’ll repeat this cycle 4X.

But before getting started, keep in mind that Tabata training is designed for seasoned exercisers – those who are comfortable with HIITs. If you’re just getting started, it’s best to consult a health professional before doing this workout.

Tabata Workout Basics

To get the most out of your Tabata workout, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Alternate between two exercises within each Tabata set, performing each for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds between exercises.
  • Repeat each exercise four times within the set, totaling four minutes of intense effort.
  • In between Tabata sets you’ll take 1 minute rests to allow for recovery.
  • Work at your maximum capacity during each exercise.
  • Keep an eye on your heart rate throughout the workout. If it’s too high, lower the intensity of your workout.
  • Modify the workout to suit your fitness level and gradually increase intensity over time.

Tabata Set 1 – Burpees and Mountain Climbers

The first Tabata set combines burpees and mountain climbers. You’ll switch between these two and do each for 20 seconds with a 10-second rest in between. As mentioned, you’ll repeat this cycle 4X with 1 minute rest for each set.


  • Begin in a squat position with your hands placed on the floor.
  • Propel your feet back explosively, assuming a plank position.
  • Jump your feet back towards your hands, returning to a squat position.
  • End with an upward jump, adding an extra challenge to the exercise.
  • Repeat this sequence for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a pushup position with your body forming a straight line from head to toe.
  • Alternate bringing your knees in towards your chest in a running motion.
  • Aim to drive your knees as high as you can.
  • Repeat for 20 seconds, rest for 10.

Tabata Set 2 – Long Jumps and Plyo Jacks

The second Tabata set incorporates long jumps and plyo jacks which you need to do alternately 4X for 20 seconds each exercise with a 10-second rest.

Long Jumps

  • Start with your feet together and your knees slightly bent.
  • Utilize the power of your arms to jump forward as far as you can while keeping your feet together.
  • Land softly with your knees slightly bent and immediately turn around to perform another long jump in the opposite direction.
  • Repeat this sequence of jumping forward, turning, and jumping forward again for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

Plyo Jacks

  • Begin with your feet together and jump up, simultaneously spreading your feet out to the sides.
  • Land in a low squat position.
  • Jump up again, bringing your feet back together slowly, as if performing a slow-motion jumping jack.
  • To add intensity, swing your arms overhead throughout the movement.
  • Do this for 20 seconds straight and then rest for 10s.

Tabata Set 3 – Squat Jumps and Jogging with High Knees

Tabata set 3 involves squat jumps and jogging with high knees. Same instructions as above.

Squat Jumps

  • Begin with your feet wider than hip-distance apart and your hands positioned behind your head with your elbows out.
  • Lower into a squat, ensuring that your knees align with your toes and your hips are pushed back.
  • Jump as high as you can while keeping your hands behind your head and engaging your core.
  • Land softly with slightly bent knees and immediately repeat the sequence for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

Jogging with High Knees

  • Jog in place, raise your knees to waist level if possible.
  • Land on the balls of your feet and keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Move your arms up and down as you jog.
  • Repeat this exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

Tabata Set 4 – Jump Kicks and Side-to-Side Jumping Lunges

The fourth Tabata set incorporates jump kicks and side-to-side jumping lunges. Same instructions as the other 3 sets.

Jump Kicks

  • Begin with both feet together.
  • Raise your right knee to waist level, then jump and switch legs.
  • Repeat this sequence for 20 seconds on the same side.
  • Rest for 10 seconds before transitioning to the next exercise.

Jumping Lunges

  • Take a big step to the right, bending your knee to lower into a lunge position.
  • Swing your left hand towards your right foot, touch it if possible.
  • Stand up and immediately jump into a side lunge on the other side, swinging your right hand towards your left foot.
  • Repeat 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.

Once you’ve done all four Tabata sets, don’t forget to cool down and stretch your muscles. You should also do light cardio for at least 5 minutes to gradually bring down your heart rate.

If pressed for time, here’s a 4-minute Tabata workout you can try:

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