20-Minute Tabata Workout with My Go-To Exercises

20-Minute Tabata Workout with some of my go-to exercisesI did this workout the other week in my apartment after a long day of work. My brain was too burnt out to think up fancy exercises, so I just threw together a tabata workout using some of my favorite exercises. You’ve probably seen all these countless times on Pumps & Iron, and there’s a good reason why—they’re effective! In particular, this is a lower-body burner. My quads were feeling it the next day!

20-Minute Tabata Workout with some of my go-to exercises20-Minute Tabata Workout with some of my go-to exercises

20-Minute Tabata Workout

Equipment I Used:

You’ll stay on each exercise for four minutes, going through 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

20-Minute Tabata Workout with some of my go-to exercises

  • Kettlebell Swings: Start with kettlebell on the floor between your legs and lift it up to starting position with both hands, flat back, using your legs to lift. With kettlebell hanging between your legs, use your arms as a pendulum, and swing the bell to chest-to-eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. Swing back down and repeat. Your knees should remain slightly bent, but the main source of movement is hinging at the hips—not so much squatting. I use a 25-lb bell.
  • Plank Jump Jacks: Start in a plank position with hands aligned underneath shoulders. Jump both feet up towards your hands and then quickly back to a plank. Then jump feet out to the sides (like a horizontal jumping jack) and quickly back together. That’s one rep. When doing the “jack” part of this move, try to hold a strong plank alignment with your upper body—don’t let your butt pike up into the air or hips sag downward.
  • Split Stance Squat Jumps: This exercise is like a combination of a jump lunge and a one-leg squat. Start with your right foot flat on the ground and the ball of your left foot planted on the floor a couple inches behind the right heel. Squat down low on the right leg, making sure the knee stays stacked over the ankle. From here jump up, pushing off the right foot and switch your feet midair, landing with your left foot on the ground and ball of the right foot close behind it. Repeat, pushing off the left foot now.
  • Burpees: Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top.
  • Step Ups (alternate legs each round): Start with one foot planted on a stepper, bench or chair. This will be your base leg: keep it planted on the stepper with the majority of your bodyweight in that heel through the duration of the exercise. As you step up, lift your back knee up, driving it into your chest at the top. Lower back down, lightly touching your back foot to the floor before driving powerfully right back up.

If you love Mean Girls and love spinning classes, you’ll appreciate this tank top as much as I do:

You Can't Spin With Us tank

WEARING | tank: Shop Betches // leggings: c/o Reebok // sneakers: Nike

20-Minute Tabata Workout with some of my go-to exercisesFor the record, I would never actually workout with my hair down. I’m just having a major complex about my new short hair-do. I hate how it looks in a ponytail! I need some advice from you ladies with shorter hair–how do you style it when you work out? I’m desperately missing my long pony.


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  1. Oh I want that shirt! It’s fabulous. Great workout. I once went to a class and left my hair down I was sooo annoyed 5 minutes in. This girls needs a ponytail. I’ve seen some pretty braids and half up dos from my friends with shorter hair.

  2. Love the workout! Kettlebel swings are one of my favorite exercises too! Love the shirt!

  3. I don’t know if I love the shirt or the workouts more!

  4. Hooray for (almost) equipment-free workouts! This would be perfect for me, since I have the option of a nearly equipment-less gym 2 minutes away or a flu one 20+ away. Sometimes nothing happens solely because I don’t want to make the trek – so it be awesome to remember something like this! 🙂

  5. This is the first time I have dine one of your workouts and it won’t be the last!!! I loved it and hated it all at the same time. My legs are hello!!! I don’t have a bottleneck so I used my 5 lb weight instead, but I still felt it. Can’t wait to do another work out!

  6. Stupid auto correct!! My legs are jello and I don’t have a kettlebell!!! Oops!

  7. Oh love this! A good workout that you can do at home is ALWAYS something good to have on hand 🙂 Going on my pinterest board for when I am home during the holidays!

  8. Love this workout, it looks great! Sometimes basics are best!
    xo, Laura

  9. Awesome! Trying this today thanks!

  10. Sometimes non-fancy workouts are just what you need- I often feel them more than when I create complicated moves!

  11. I have shorter hair (right around the length of yours) and I often just throw it in a really low pony (basically just gathering my hair at the nape of my neck) or a bun on top of my head. If you can get your hair to stay in a braid (mine is layered so lots of little pieces often fall out) that’s a good option as well

  12. I feel your pain! I chopped 14 inches of hair off a couple months ago and had a full on crisis about what to do with it at the gym. (My husband suggested a ‘do-rag’, for reference of how little support I got on this one).

    And sadly, while I’ve found hair ties and head bands that will at least keep the hair where it belongs, I think short-hair gym-do’s just aren’t ever going to be the same as their longer length counterparts. Looks like you could probably get your hair into a cute “messy” bun, though…

  13. Thanks for the Tabata…I’ll definitely be trying it this week. I love doing them.


  14. Loved this workout this morning. It was just what I needed.

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