20 minute tabata-like at home circuit

Tabata circuit

You can get a good workout in at home. Yes, it is possible! Our workout today uses the Tabata interval training protocol to work virtually every muscle in your body in just 20 minutes and with very little exercise equipment.

Tabatas are infamous for being tough but very effective. Traditionally, a Tabata workout should only last four minutes. That’s all well and good if you are trying to be as time-efficient as possible. But maybe you’ve got a little more time on your hands for something a little longer. This workout uses Tabata type intervals but puts the exercises into a circuit.

Set your Gymboss timer for 5 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds recovery. Then, once you are warmed up, start your interval timer and complete the first circuit. Rest one minute, then start your Gymboss again and complete the next circuit.  Repeat the circuit 6 times. Once completed the following five exercise sequences workout will be 20 minutes in length including rest.

120 secondsPush-ups
10 seconds rest
220 secondsHigh Knees
10 seconds rest
320 secondsW-sits
10 seconds rest
420 secondsKettlebell swings 
10 seconds rest
520 secondsBand pull-aparts
10 seconds rest

Exercise descriptions 

1. Push-ups:

Working your chest, triceps, and shoulders, the humble push-up is an excellent alternative to the gym-based bench press. It’s also adaptable to suit a range of fitness abilities.

  1. Adopt the push-up position with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your body straight, bend your arms, and lower your chest to the floor.
  3. Push yourself back up and repeat.
  4. Drop to your knees if you cannot do full push-ups. Place your feet on a chair for a more challenging workout.

2. High Knees:

High knees are the ultimate HIIT exercise.

  1. Standing in place, bring one knees up so it is at least parallel with the floor, then repeat with the next leg.
  2. Your arms will be swinging in rhythm with your legs, just like when you are running.
  3. Go as fast as possible with good form to get the benefits of this HIIT exercise.

3. W-sits:

This energetic abs exercise will also elevate your heart and breathing rate. If it’s too demanding, feel free to do regular crunches instead.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight, hands on your temples.
  2. Sit up and simultaneously bend your legs and pull your knees into your chest. Shoot your arms forward and touch your heels.
  3. Lay back down and repeat.

4. Kettlebell/Dumbbell swings: 

Posterior chain exercises don’t get much better than this! As well as working your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, kettlebell swings will drive your heart and breathing rate sky-high.

  1. Hold your kettlebell in your hands in front of your hips. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees slightly, hinge forward from your hips, and lower the weight between your knees.
  3. Drive your hips foreword and swing the kettlebell forward and up to about shoulder-height.
  4. Swing it back down and repeat.
  5. No kettlebell? Use a single dumbbell instead. You can also do swings with a medicine ball or a few books or water bottles in a durable bag.

5. Band pull-aparts:

This straightforward exercise targets the postural muscles across and between your shoulder blades. These are especially important if you spend a lot of time working at a computer or slouched over your tablet.

  1. Hold a resistance band with your hands a few inches apart. Raise your arms forward and up to shoulder-level.
  2. Keeping your arms slightly bent but rigid, open your arms and spread the band out across your chest. Pull your shoulders down and back.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Modifications for beginners

Make this work out more manageable by doing the easiest version of the exercises listed. Alternatively, you can turn your Tabatas upside down, exercising for ten seconds and resting for 20. Finally, consider doing fewer rounds – 3-4 instead of eight. Just reprogram your Gymboss interval timer accordingly. For a harder workout, try to complete the entire circuit without the one minute rest between exercises. Simply set your Gymboss HIIT timer to 20 seconds and 10 seconds intervals for 30 rounds.

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