35-Minute Full-Body Tabata Strength Workout With Weights

The Tabata workout is proven to be one of the most effective forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Tabata was first introduced in 1996 by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata, PhD, who found that HIIT workouts increased anaerobic capacity by 28% compared to workouts of moderate intensity.

According to a study published in Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, “Tabata training has evolved to include a variety of modes and exercises performed in the classic 20-10 pattern (i.e., 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest).”

The following full-body Tabata workout is a HIIT routine that incorporates weights. The challenging circuit will work every muscle in your body through a series of intense bodyweight exercises using dumbbells. The full Tabata routine takes around 30–35 minutes to complete and includes a cool down.

This strengthening Tabata workout is more appropriate for intermediate and advanced exercisers who are experienced in intense strength training and cardio. Consult with your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses, or other health concerns.

Equipment Needed

Choose dumbbells ranging anywhere from 2–10 pounds or more, depending on your level of strength and fitness. If you don't have weights, you can use water bottles or soup cans for this full-body Tabata workout.

Tabata Training 411

  • Each Tabata set includes 20 seconds of strength and cardio training followed by 10 seconds of rest between each exercise.
  • On average, you'll complete most exercises about 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Be sure to rest for 1 minute between each Tabata set.
  • Monitor your intensity throughout the workout, and rest more frequently if you need to.
  • Be sure to modify the exercises as needed. To avoid injury, stop doing anything that causes pain or discomfort. Though this workout is designed to be intense, it should not be painful.

Squat Curl Press and Stand

woman doing hammer curl power squat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start with your feet hips-width distance apart. Squat down and curl the weights up into a biceps curl. Press the weights overhead and allow your shoulders to extend as you push to a standing position, engaging the glutes and maintaining a neutral spine.

With control, lower the weights as you return to a squat. Continue the squatting and standing sequence as you press and lower the dumbbells for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of 4 minutes, and rest for 1 minute before moving on to the next Tabata set.

Front and Rear Lunges

Hold medium weights with your arms resting by your sides, and lunge forward with your right leg. Push into the heel to return to your starting position, lifting the knee to challenge your balance. Step the right leg back into a reverse lunge. Lift your knee again as you step back forward. Continue to keep your arms by your sides as you go. Repeat for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds.

Now, perform this same move on the left leg for the next round, repeating for 20 seconds and then resting for 10. You'll feel your glutes and hamstrings firing and strengthening as you go.

Continue alternating legs, repeating for 8 cycles for a total of 4 minutes. Rest for 1 minute before moving on to the next full-body Tabata set.

Hammer Curl With Power Squat

For this set, hold heavier weights in each hand if you have them. Using a fluid and controlled motion, swing the weights back and squat down slightly, then power the weights forward into a hammer curl while squatting as low as you can. Maintain a tall, upright torso and avoid arching your back.

Stand back up, then repeat the move for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds before completing another set. Continue to repeat this Tabata circuit for 4 minutes, and then rest for 1 minute before moving on to the next set.

Squat With Overhead Press

Woman doing squat with overhead press

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Take the weights to shoulder height as you would in a hammer curl and then squat. As you stand up, push the weights overhead into a shoulder extension with your biceps framing your ears.

Repeat for 20 seconds, and rest 10 seconds. Repeat each cycle for a total of 4 minutes. Rest for 1 minute before performing the next Tabata exercise.

Walking Pushups

From a plank position, do 4 "walking pushups" to the left by walking your left hand and left foot to the left and performing a set of 4 pushups, then walking the right hand and leg back to meet the left hand and left foot in a normal plank. Now walk your right hand and right foot to the right and do 4 more pushups, then step your left foot and right hand in to return to a normal plank. This full-body movement is challenging, but engaging your core can help keep you strong and steady.

Repeat for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds. Rest for 1 minute before moving on to the next Tabata set.

Core Kickbacks

Strong female boxer doing plank exercise with dumbbells at gym
Hero Images / Getty Images

Get into a plank position with your hands shoulder-distance apart or slightly wider, with your feet about inner-hips-width distance apart. Hold dumbbells in each hand, and think about pushing the floor away from you. Pull the right elbow up next to the ribcage, and extend the arm into a triceps kickback. Repeat for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then switch to the left side.

Continue the core kickbacks with your left arm for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest before alternating sides again. Repeat for 8 cycles for a total of 4 minutes, and then rest for 1 minute before moving onto the next Tabata set.

Pulsing Dumbbell Rows

From a standing position with your feet hips-width distance apart or slightly wider, bend forward at your waist with your back parallel to the floor and weights hanging down. Bend your elbows and pull the weights up to your torso in a rowing motion, pulsing for 3 counts. Lower and repeat for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds.

Continue the exercise for a total 4 minutes, and then rest for 1 minute before moving onto the last full-body Tabata set.

Rear Lunge With Double Arm Row

three people doing weighted dumbbell lunge exercise in gym

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Hold the weights in both hands by your sides, and step back with the right leg into a lunge. For more stability, bend the back knee but keep it lifted off the ground. To challenge your balance, you can opt to straighten the back leg. Next, hinge forward at your hips with your back parallel to the floor, and pull the elbows up into a double-arm row. Step back to your starting position, and repeat on the other side. Step back with the left leg, tip forward, and complete a double-arm row. Then step back to the starting position.

Alternate sides for a total of 15 reps. Rest for 1 minute, followed by 5 minutes of a cool down with your choice of light cardio and stretching.

Total workout time: 30-35 minutes

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tabata I. Tabata training: One of the most energetically effective high-intensity intermittent training methodsJ Physiol Sci. 2019;69:559-572. doi:10.1007/s12576-019-00676-7

  2. Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2maxMed Sci Sports Exerc. 1996;28(10):1327-1330. doi:10.1097/00005768-199610000-00018

  3. Emberts T, Porcari J, Dobers-Tein S, Steffen J, Foster C. Exercise intensity and energy expenditure of a Tabata workoutJ Sports Sci Med. 2013;12(3):612-613.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."