Tabata Blast Off

Short bursts of intense exercise can burn calories like crazy

Tabata Blast Off
Photo: Jeff Chan

Tabata is one of my favourite workouts to do when I’m in a pinch or just feel like kicking my own butt. Tabata increases both our aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular systems, which makes it one of the best conditioning workouts. On top of that, since these workouts are to be performed at or near 100 per cent capacity, they are short in duration. Get the most out of your workout in the shortest time possible. Sounds good right?

The Tabata concept was created by Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata, who wanted to compare the effectiveness of short intense bursts of exercise to longer periods of moderate intensity exercise. He found the Tabata group showed significant gains in aerobic and anaerobic fitness — as much as 28 per cent — over the moderate group.

Traditional Tabata is designed to be high intensity intervals, working for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest for four minutes at a time. For this workout, there are three sets, each set has two exercises to be performed back to back. This method makes it easier for your body and brain to stay engaged.

Many timer apps have programmed Tabata intervals, but if not, set your timer to 8 rounds of 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest. Take a well-deserved minute rest before moving down to the next set of exercises. The workout only takes about 15 minutes, so give it your all. Short and sweaty is my kind of fun! Enjoy!


  • 5-minute spin or walk.

The Workout

1a Step Up to Reverse Lunge

Be sure to keep your hips, knees and toes in line and lean slightly forward to better engage the glutes. Keep those knees behind your toes.

1b Side-plank Kick-through

From a plank, lift one arm to the sky and sweep the opposite leg under and through. Move your spine as one, careful not to rotate through your trunk.

2a Push-up

Similar to the side-plank kick-through, move your trunk as one. Keeping your back straight, ankles, hips and shoulders all in line, lower yourself to the floor and push back up. Don’t be afraid to raise your hands onto a higher object (like a bench) if you get fatigued. Try plyo push-ups or use slam balls if you’re looking for more of a challenge.

2b Ball Slam

Keep your spine straight, push your hips back and slam the ball down as hard and as fast as you can.

3a TRX Row to Press

Keep your core tight and your arms/elbows as close to your body as possible.

3b Super Skaters

With your toes pointing forward and a hinge at the hips, jump as far sideways as you can while maintaining control.


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