Tabata Triple Threat

The dual aerobic and anaerobic demands of this Tababta protocol will push you to the limit.

The Challenge

You will perform three Tabata protocols in this workout, each with different movements. A Tabata is a four-minute circuit consisting of eight 20-second work intervals, interspersed with 10 seconds of rest. Though short, Tabatas have been shown to be equal or even more effective at improving conditioning than long bouts of cardio. The reason for that fact — and the catch — is that the 20-second work intervals must be balls-to-the-wall all-out efforts, with nothing held back or saved for later. Between each Tabata you will complete a quarter-mile (400-yard) run before moving on to the next circuit.

Tabata 1: Alternating sets of weighted jacks and jump squats

Tabata 2: Lateral jumps over an Olympic bench

Tabata 3: Triceps floor presses using an Olympic plate

The Exercises

Weighted Jacks: While holding a pair of dumbbells, perform jumping jacks at full speed, bringing your arms only up to parallel to the floor. Start with your feet together and arms at your sides, and then jump your feet to slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with your arms parallel to the floor. Jump back to the starting position and repeat for 20 seconds.

Jump Squats: Squat down using a full range of motion. As you ascend out of the bottom, jump into the air and absorb your landing by quickly descending into your next repetition. Repeat for time.

Lateral Jumps: Position yourself parallel to an Olympic bench. Squat halfway down, and then jump over the bench, keeping your feet together. If a bench is too high, use a barbell with 45-pound plates on each side. Be sure to absorb the impact by landing on your toes and quickly descending into your next repetition. Repeat for time.

Triceps Floor Press: Lie on your back holding an Olympic weight plate at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions. With your elbows held tightly to your sides, lower the weight to your chest and press it back up as quickly as possible. Repeat for time.

The Scale

For the weighted jumping jacks, beginner athletes should use 5- to 12-pound dumbbells, while stronger athletes can use up to 25-pound dumbbells. Use a 25-, 35- or 45-pound Olympic weight plate for your triceps presses.

The Rankings:

20 minutes or less: Beast mode.

22 minutes or less: Impressive.

24 minutes or less: Don’t go bragging.

Over 25 minutes: Focus on overall conditioning, development of fast-twitch muscles and general upper- and lower-body strength.

Tabata Triple Threat

Before trying this workout, download any of the several free Tabata timer apps that are available on iTunes or go to

For Time:

  • 1/4-mile run
  • 8 x 0:20 alternating intervals of Weighted Jacks and Jump Squats
  • 0:10 rest between work intervals
  • 1/4-mile run
  • 8 x 0:20 Lateral Jumps
  • 0:10 rest between work intervals
  • 1/4-mile run
  • 8 x 0:20 Triceps Floor Press
  • 0:10 rest between work intervals