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updated: 9/17/2012 6:16 AM

Tabata can change how you strength train

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  • Dumbbell squat

      Dumbbell squat

  • Jump rope

      Jump rope

  • Pushup


  • Dumbbell push press

      Dumbbell push press

  • Video: Tabata workout


Tabata is a style of strength training designed with short bouts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short recovery period.

Our Tabata workout is set up to have a 20-second work period followed by a 10-second rest period. After completing the first round of eight stations, rest for one to two minutes and then repeat for a total of four rounds.

To help with the timing of your exercises, you can use a stopwatch or download a Tabata timer app for your phone or iPod.

The exercises:

There are only four exercises, so you will do each one twice. Complete them in the following order:

• Dumbbell squats

• Pushups

• Dumbbell squats

• Dumbbell push press

• Jump rope

• Pushups

• Dumbbell push press

• Jump rope

The execution

Your goal is intensity, so you should always strive for all-out effort during the 20 seconds of work. Use a weight that is challenging, but one that allows you to stay in control of your movements.

Dumbbell squats: Grab a set of dumbbells and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height and lock them in place. Squat down slowly to a comfortable depth, while keeping tension on your abs and inhaling. Exhale as you stand back to the top and repeat.

Pushups: Take a pushup position on the floor or an elevated surface, such as a bench or bar. Hands should be wider than shoulder width. Ensure that your body maintains a straight line from shoulder to ankle and keep tension on your abs. Inhale as you drop down to a comfortable depth and exhale as you push back to the top. Repeat.

Dumbbell push press: Assume the dumbbell squat position as described above. Squat down a few inches and then exhale as you forcefully stand back to your starting point while pressing the dumbbells overhead. Palms should be facing inward and elbows should stay close to your sides. Think of most of your power coming from the hips and core and then the arms just finish out the movement.

Jumping rope: Any style of jumping rope is acceptable, but make sure you are pushing yourself and not just going through the motions. Work on foot speed and finesse of the rope.

So try Tabata for your next strength training workout, or use it as a substitute for an interval style cardio routine. For a video of this workout, visit our blog at or find us on Facebook.

• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at


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