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The Tabata Workout Routine at Home (No Equipment Needed)

5.5 minutes

Some of the best workouts are simple and can be performed without a gym membership or pricey equipment. Tabata training at home falls into that category, with a protocol that is easy to complete with bodyweight alone. Tabata gets results, pushing your heart rate into the workout zone in no time at all.

What is Tabata?

Black woman doing push-ups in her home

Shutterstock; Photo by YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV

To understand why you should attempt Tabata at home, you first need to understand what Tabata is and why it is beneficial. Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, workout. The words are often used interchangeably. Tabata, as a type of HIIT workout, follows a specific timeframe that sets it apart from other HIIT methods.

Tabata exercises last for four minutes each, with 20 seconds of maximum effort and 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. This is the system researcher Izumi Tabata perfected in 1996, recognizing that athletes increase their metabolism and improve anaerobic capacity. While other HIIT workouts allow for shifting timeframes with effort and rest, Tabata is strict.

Some people use Tabata to get into HIIT, especially if they are short on time. Once Tabata is a regular part of one’s routine, it’s simple to lengthen HIIT workouts and move away from Tabata.

Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, workout.

These high-intensity exercises target a wide group of muscles rather than hitting one muscle at a time. They also help burn fat thanks to the high-intensity bursts of effort. And they increase your endurance over time. You should find that Tabata workouts at home are efficient and effective.

Modifying Exercises to Conform with Tabata

Woman doing squats in her living room

Shutterstock; Photo by fizkes

The great thing about Tabata workouts at home is that you do not need to learn new skills. Tabata exercises are modified versions of standard workouts and stretches, altered to fit into the four-minute schedule. The original Tabata research followed exercisers using a stationary bike, but you can modify practically any workout to meet Tabata standards.

Tabata exercises are modified versions of standard workouts and stretches, altered to fit into the four-minute schedule.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Pushups are a great way to start with Tabata. As a classic bodyweight exercise, pushups can be done almost anywhere with zero equipment. As with any Tabata exercise, your focus should be on maintaining form and ensuring you follow the workout interval schedule.

Lunges and squats are similarly effective and well-known. Squat variations, like dumbbell squats, can vary your workout program.

The basic workouts are still remarkably effective if you do not have additional equipment, thanks to the high-intensity interval aspect.

If you want to really get moving, try more active exercises like jumps. A broad jump to fast feet move is great for Tabata. Start with your feet hip-width apart and moving into a forward jump. With your chest lifted and your glutes and core engaged, jump forward. Then, lift onto your toes and take small, quick steps back to the starting position.

Mountain climbers alone are an effective workout but you can push this a step further with mountain climbers to single-leg pushups. Start with a typical mountain climber, in a plank position, moving your right knee up to your chest, then your left knee up to your chest. From there, extend your left leg behind you, keeping it off the floor while you lower into a pushup and lift that leg. Return to a high plank, complete another mountain climber, then do the same single-leg pushup move with your right leg extended.

Woman outside running on a track

Shutterstock; Photo by lzf

Ready for something challenging? Try Tabata sprints, which can be done outdoors, or inside with a treadmill. All you have to do is follow the Tabata time limits, with a 20-second, maximum-effort sprint—followed by 10 seconds of jogging, walking or rest.

Choose from these Tabata exercises and any other workout you can modify to fit the schedule of 20 seconds on, followed by 10 seconds off. Ideally, put together a Tabata workout at home that lasts for about half an hour. The more you work out with the Tabata style, the more you should accomplish within the 20-second rounds.


With an improving fitness level, you can work in more advanced moves to suit your strength and endurance. Wherever you are in terms of your current fitness, Tabata is an excellent way to improve your health at home. From beginners to experts, Tabata is for everyone.

A quick workout while working with us.

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