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Mark Lauren, from You Are Your Own Gym describes a Tabata as follows:

“8 Rounds of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 4 minutes.

  • Find an exercise pace that you are able to maintain throughout all eight sets, but only with great difficulty.
  • Ideally, there shouldn’t be any twenty-second work period with a significant drop-off in reps performed.

This is high-intensity training.”


Choose one exercise, such as: High Knees or Burpees.

NOTE: I like to start with a 10 second Rest Interval at the beginning, just to get ready.

Round 1: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 2: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 3: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 4: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 5: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 6: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 7: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

Round 8: 10 sec. Rest Interval + 20 second Maximum Effort Interval of High Knees

That’s it!  The above all adds up to 4 Minutes of Interval Training.


You can get creative and add variations such as:

Round 1: High Knees

Round 2: Mountain Climbers

Round 3: Jump Squats

Round 4: Tricep Dips

Then repeat Rounds 1 -4, a second time for a total of 8 Rounds to equal a total of 4 Minutes.

As you can imagine, sticking with one exercise throughout is much more challenging. However, having said that, for beginners it is much more palatable to switch up the exercises until a certain level of proficiency with technique is met as well as building up one’s level of fitness.


Here are some comments I have left at BodyRock Tv:
  • The best part about these short duration HIIT workouts is that they are invigorating NOT depleting.  The entire point of exercise (in my opinion) is to add benefits to one’s life not detract from it.  If we’re so wiped out from a workout that we don’t have any juice left to enjoy our day or do what needs to get done, but rather have to veg out on the couch…isn’t that missing the boat?

  • But seriously, there is something we need to talk about…These short workouts are meant to be very intense and short for a reason.  There is a tendency to become addicted to HIIT and want to do more in one session than is required for the purpose.  The purpose is to become strong, agile, increase aerobic capacity and build power.  Keep it short and sweet and we will achieve these things; Go beyond and we negate what we set out to doOveruse injuries start to creep in slowly and we will be no further ahead.  Sure we may look more buff, but that is superficial and that will soon fade along with the inability to workout. I’ve been there, this happened to me too in the beginning…the high I got from my short HIIT workouts pumped me up so much that I wanted to do another workout right then and there.  I felt so powerful and fired up.  It is really important to identify this in ourselves and remember that these workouts are not meant to be endurance training.
  • All that matters is that your scores reflect 100% effort compared only with yourself. You know when you’re giving it your ALL. I think it’s important that our self-talk is encouraging. If you’re slacking off, then that’s another story entirely…but if you are going for it, minding your form/ technique, you’re there. You show up, you do your training – everyday for the rest of your life. That’s it in a nutshell: welcome to daily body maintenance!


  1. So, I’ve got a question.

    Just very very recently I have started out doing the BodyRock routines each day. I also know about the original tabata workout that takes 4 minutes, instead of the approximate 12 minutes of BodyRock. BodyRock is super-intensive and I’m pretty sure that it can provide any practitioner with sweet results. But I have been asking myself which of the two is better to follow: the 4 minutes of tabata, or the longer and intenser BodyRock variations?

    Reading these comments you have left at BodyRock, depending on the conversation you were in, your opinion could be going both ways. So, which one of them is it?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Monique,

      The more I train the more inclined I am to train for shorter duration. But, having said that, I think I am firmly planted on the fence, because I really like to train for a solid 12 minutes too.
      However, it all boils down to what exercises the workout is made up of. I disagree with any workout over 4 minutes that focuses too much on the same primary muscles and joint systems. For example, Burpees, Push ups, Mountain Climbers etc., all in row.

      However, if the workout is a traditional 4 Minute Tabata, I don’t have a problem with this line up because the point is to go to fatigue within a short period of time. And, besides, a 4 minute Tabata is meant to repeat the same exercise 8 times.

      When doing a 12 minute workout (or longer), at the same intensity as the 4 minute Tabata, joint systems can become over-taxed, which can lead to over-use and injury. I designed this 10 minute workout with this in mind – in an effort to have a balanced workout. Each exercise alternates from upper to lower body or from weighted to endurance.
      The point being that there is ample recovery time from each major muscle group. This recovery time doesn’t make the workout easy by any means, in fact I think it is my toughest workout to date. But, the design makes it possible for me to maintain form for each exercise.

      I really like the way I feel after this workout and have found myself repeating it often. With a day or two in between gives my body ample rest and recovery. It is recommended to leave 48 hours between HIIT. So, on my off HIIT days I swim or I count it as a rest and recovery day. I aim for one to two complete rest and recovery days each week.

      Less is more, but being consistent with less is my strategy.

      I hope this helps to answer your question.

  2. It’s been one week since I started doing the tabatas but I was already noticing a difference after the 3rd day. I know your going to say “I told you so” but I’m still amazed at the quick results! Awesome! It’s either been the tabatas or the fact that I’ve been eating quinoa and lentils all week. I’ve lost about 4lbs and I have no idea about inches but my pants feel more comfortable 🙂
    Thanks for all your advise and tips!

    1. This is great and exciting! Thank you for sharing your results, I hope it gives others the assurance that it’s worth the effort!
      Can’t wait to get an update from you…let’s say in 3 – 4 weeks time. (?)

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