Tabata leg workout will burn fat and calories in minutes

Are you short on time and looking for a quick workout that will get you in and out the gym in no time? A Tabata leg workout can be the answer for you.

Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that you can do anywhere. You can keep it simple with just bodyweight or you can add tools and gear to up the intensity.

woman jumping up as a part of Tabata leg workout

How to do Tabata training

  • Grab a stopwatch, timer or a phone app.
  • The workout are short intervals but intense.
  • Each interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest.
  • You complete eight work and rest cycles for a total four minute round.
  • Go for four rounds with a one-minute of recovery after each round to complete a 20 minute workout.

What’s the difference between tabata workout and a HIIT workout?

Tabata is HIIT but not all HIIT is Tabata. Tabata is basically a higher intensity version of HIIT, with shorter bursts of energy.

You don’t need equipment for the workout. The entire workout can be built around basic bodyweight exercises.

Exercises used in Tabata

Mountain Climber

Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Activate your core to keep your upper body and lower body formed in a straight line. Lift your right knee under your body toward your chest before lowering your right foot back to its placement on the floor. Repeat this movement with your left knee, alternating sides with each repetition.

High Knees (Running in place)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, look straight ahead and raise your hands to hip height. Quickly run in place, lifting knees as high as possible. Every time your foot comes to the floor, land softly on the balls of your feet. Left and right count as one repetition.

Push ups

Start in a high plank with your palms flat, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor. Push through the palms of your hands to straighten your arms. 

Alternating Lunges

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with arms reaching straight up or with hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg, bending both knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the floor, and your front knee comes directly above your ankle. Drive through your front heel and push off to return to start position. Left and right count as one repetition.


Begin standing, then squat down and place your hands on the floor by the sides your feet. Keeping your hands planted, jump your feet behind you and land in a plank position with straight legs. Lower your body down until your chest touches the floor with elbows tight to your body. Keep your hands on floor and use your hip and core strength to pop back into a squat. Finish the movement by exploding up into a jump and landing on your feet as softly as possible

Jump squats

Stand straight with your shoulders above your hips, feet hip-width apart and toes turned out slightly. Quickly drop your hips back and down with knees behind your toes and in line with the ankles. To complete the movement, drive weight into your heels to explosively jump up to center and land softly in the start position. This is one repetition.

Jumping jacks (or side step outs)

Start by standing with your legs spread and your hands touching overhead.

Jump into the air, simultaneously bringing your legs together and pull the arms down to your sides.

Without resting, jump again and return to the starting position.

Alternating jump lunge

woman doing alternating lunges for tabata leg workout

Stand with your feet together and your knees soft. Jump and come into a lunge with your left leg forward. Then push off with both feet, jumping them together, then hopping into a lunge with your right leg in front/ FInish by jumping your feet back together to complete one rep.


Stand straight with shoulders above hips, feet hip-width apart and toes turned out slightly. To begin the movement, slowly lower your hips while keeping your knees behind your toes. Lower as far as you can go with a straight back, then drive your weight through your heels to stand back up to the starting position. 

Also, be mindful to keep from allowing your knees to collapse inward. 

For a full circuit, pick four different exercises and complete a four-minute round. It can be a great standalone workout.

Tabata leg workout

You can do almost any set of exercises for the workout. The goal is to get your heart rate up.

  • Bodyweight squats for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks or Step Outs for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Alternating Lunges for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Burpees for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Bodyweights Squats for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Jumping jacks or step outs for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Alternating Lunges for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds 
  • Burpees for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds

The framework of the workout is always the same. It’s brief, all-out work periods, separated by rest periods that you wish were just a little longer.

Whatever activity you choose, do it hard and fast. It’s not supposed to be easy.

What tools you can add into your Tabata leg workout?

The benefits of Tabata training

Studies have shown that devoting a few minutes to Tabata increases cardio and strength more than devoting far more hours to moderate-intensity workouts.

woman doing burpees


It is an efficient workout because it pushes your body to its limits over a very short period. It doesn’t require a lot of time to do.


Tabata supports both anaerobic capacity and the amount of oxygen you take in while doing your workout (this is also known as VO2 max and is a standard performance indicator across the sports and fitness world). Your endurance is going to improve with Tabata.

Doesn’t require equipment

Tabata is typically done using a series of bodyweight exercises yet will still give you an amazing workout due to Tabata’s quick bursts of high energy. While you can add weights, resistance bands, or any other form of equipment, a good Tabata session can be completely equipment-free.

Boosts metabolism

Any form of training can help boost your metabolism and burn fat. This is especially true for Tabata since it involves not only cardiovascular work but also has muscle-building properties. Having more muscle and consistently working out can boost metabolism

Very flexible

You can do almost any exercise you’d like including jumping jacks, mountain climbers, running in place, kettlebell swings and more. You can make the workout high impact or low impact and still reap the benefits.

What results can I expect from Tabata?

Tabata will help accelerate fat loss and improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance. Tabata will most likely produce very fast results in a short period of time.

Is Tabata good for beginners?

Tabata workouts can be good for all fitness levels. You can use exercises that challenge you but you also are comfortable with.

What exercises would you put together for the workout?

Related workouts:

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