Tabata training is one of the most efficient workouts out there. A form of high-intensity interval training, it requires minimal time and little-to-no equipment, so it’s easy to do at home, at the gym or on the road.
Adding kettlebells will take your workout to the next level: When you swing a bell, nearly every muscle works to counteract its momentum. According to Lauren Brooks, a California-based personal trainer and author of Kettlebells for Women, kettlebells increase endurance and core stability while giving you a full-body, fat-blasting workout.
So combine Tabata and kettlebell training for a super-charged routine that will get you results’fast!
For this workout, it’s recommended that you use a kettlebell between 10 and 25 pounds. Remember to focus on proper form and don’t do a movement if you feel pain. Brooks notes, for example, that feeling shoulder pain when you press a kettlebell over your head is a signal to stop, or to switch to a lighter weight.
The Tabata method calls for eight sets of exercises done back-to-back: 20 seconds of working at your max intensity, then 10 seconds of rest, for a total of four minutes. Timing is key, so keep track of the intervals using an app, such as Tabata Pro or Totally Tabata Timer. If you have time for a longer workout, repeat the circuit, resting for one to two minutes in between.
Exercise 1: Two-Arm Swing
How-To: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell with both hands. Slightly bend the knees and hinge your hips back. Don’t get too low’this isn’t a squat! Swing the bell back between your legs, then thrust your hips forward to standing position and swing the bell up to shoulder height. Swing the kettlebell back between your legs and repeat.
Quick Tip: Avoid looking at your feet, which will round your back. Keep the back flat and your shoulders pulled back.
Exercise 2: Kettlebell Lunge Press
How-To: Stand with a bell in your right hand and bend the right elbow until bell is in front of your chest. Step forward with your left leg and lower your hips until both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously raise the bell overhead. Push off the left leg back to standing and lower the kettlebell back down to your chest.
Quick Tip: Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to start position.
Sets: One set on the left side; One set on the right
Exercise 3: Figure 8s
How-To: Stand with legs wide apart, knees bent into a shallow squat. Hold a kettlebell in your left hand, placing it behind your left leg. Swing the bell in front of your left leg, then between the legs and behind your right leg. Grab the kettlebell with your right hand and swing it in front of the right leg, between the legs and behind your left leg. Continue this figure-8 motion for 20 seconds.
Quick Tip: Keep your chest lifted and engage your core throughout the movement.
Sets: Two; Alternate the direction of the swing for the second set
Exercises 4 and 5: Jumping Jacks and Burpees
How-To: Straightforward jumping jacks; For burpees: Place hands on the floor, jump feet back to plank position, touch chest to the floor, push back up to plank, jump feet back in towards hands, jump up with arms overhead, and repeat.
Quick Tip: Do these moves as fast as you can, but remember proper form! During the burpee, try not to arch your back when pushing back up to plank.
Sets: One set of jumping jacks; One set of burpees