4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout from The Fitnessista

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout from The FitnessistaTHREE workout posts in one week?? It’s still New Year’s resolution month, so I figured the added motivation would be welcome. 🙂

Today’s workout comes to you via my lovely friend Gina from The Fitnessista. I was really excited to check out her new book, HIIT It!, because—as you’ve probably noticed by now—I love high intensity interval training. The book is great, especially if you’re a beginner. In it, Gina doesn’t just give you a proverbial filet of cod, she really teaches you how to fish. Starting with the basics, she goes over major muscle groups, what HIIT is and why it’s effective. She then shows you how to apply it to cardio workouts as well as strength training, and gives tons of sample workouts and weekly workout plans. HIIT It! by Gina Harney

The tabata I’m sharing today is actually one part of a full sample workout in the book: warm-up with cardio, a full-body strength training circuit, this tabata, and then a cool down. Yesterday I had a ridiculously busy blogging and teaching day and knew I wasn’t going to make it to a fitness class, so I decided to instead slip this 4-minute HIIT workout in a few times throughout the day to give me a break from the computer. It was perfect! I ended up doing it four times throughout the workday, so even though I didn’t get a long workout in, I still felt good. That’s the whole idea behind HIIT—you don’t have to workout longer, just smarter.

Before we get to the tabata, I just wanted to add that HIIT It! also has a great index of exercises with written descriptions and accompanying pictures. Ya know, like professional photos—not this: blooper-23

(Couldn’t resist posting another blooper from yesterday’s blog post—they’re just too awesomely awkward. Butterfingers!) The book then ends with a whole section on nutrition with lots of yummy recipes.

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout

Set an interval timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. You’ll go through the following four exercises twice. To clarify, that’s: 20 seconds of as many high knees as you can do; 10 seconds rest; 20 seconds of as many burpees as you can do; 10 seconds rest…and so on.

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout

  • High Knees: Use your core to jog in place, lifting each knee up to belly button height. I like to keep my hands in front of me and drive the knees up to hit them to hold myself accountable for really getting them high.
  • 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. Do a push up. 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.
  • Mountain Climbers: These are like doing high knees in a plank position. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards your chest, like running horizontally. The pace on these should be quick.
  • Squat Jumps with Rotation: Perform a squat facing one side. As you power up, jump and rotate 180 degrees so that you land facing the opposite direction, sinking right back down into a squat and repeating. Make sure you’re turning towards the opposite shoulder each time you rotate so that the legs are worked evenly.

This is an intense tabata—each exercise really gets your heart rate up! Use it as part of a longer workout or on its own when you’re having one of those super busy days.


Before I end this post, I just wanted to let you guys know of an awesome promotion ClassPass is running right now. If you’ve been on the fence about trying it, now (until Sunday evening) when you sign up using THIS LINK you’ll get a $50 Visa gift card. I use ClassPass and LOVE it. For $99/month (in some cities, it’s even less expensive) you can go to classes at a huge variety of fitness studios. You can go to each studio up to three times in a month, with the total number of classes across the board unlimited (it might not be unlimited forever, but I’m pretty sure it is until at least March). When I first started using ClassPass, it was only in New York and Boston, but now it’s in 20 cities!

Full disclosure, as part of this promotion they’re running, I would also get a $50 gift card if you sign up, so there is some selfish motivation behind this (:)), but I use CP myself and recommend it to all my fitness-loving friends, so the hype is 100% genuine. And, c’mon, you get $50, too—I gotta share the love!


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  1. A few things — YES to HIIT training, yes to how awesome Gina is, and yes to ClassPass being a great way to work out in your city. I’ve loved using ClassPass in San Francisco. 🙂 Keep up the great workout posts!

  2. Great workout/review post, Nicole! Your pictures and explanations are always very thorough. Thanks for the info on ClassPass too. It’s just been introduced to Austin so it’s on my radar for sure.

  3. thank you so much for the shout out, lovely friend! hope we get to hang out again soon 🙂

  4. Love a quick workout! Burpees AND mountain climbers? That’s kind of my personal hell haha.

  5. This looks like a great workout! I may have to schedule it into my week.

  6. I just started using CP this week and so far, I love it! FINALLY trying out a Lagree class tomorrow at…get this…”The Butcher Shop”. Sounds like a party. 😉 I’ve been wanting to try Lagree since I read about it from you, but this gym is super expensive! So with CP, super CHEAP! Can’t wait!

  7. Thanks for sharing this great workout. I LOVE your outfit in this post!

  8. No wayyyy! I was on the fence about ClassPass and just gave in and bought it YESTERDAY! Can’t believe I missed the deal!

  9. Where did you get those capris? Super cute!

  10. Darn, ClassPass isn’t in my city yet! Hopefully someday. On another topic, I got an interval timer for Christmas and I’ve been doing a lot of your workouts ever since, and I love them! I was wondering though if sometime you might do a more leg-focused workout. I like how your workouts are total body, but I tweaked my shoulder recently so need more lower body focused workouts. I’ve been looking for a similar format outside of your blog, but nothing compares!

  11. That blooper photo is the epitome of derp. I love it. I wish I lived in a place where enough interesting fitness studios existed to legitimize ClassPass — or that it had been around while I was still living in DC. What an awesome way to keep your workouts varied and interesting.

  12. I LOVE HIIT training, and I haven’t heard of this book! Thanks for the tip and love the pants!

  13. Enjoyed this workout! Also your blooper pic 🙂 Shared it in my blog’s Monthly Musings and Mentionables!

    XO Chloe
    A Latte Lipstick

  14. Hi! I just found your blog through Gina’s site. And, I am too late for the $50.00 visa… shoot!

  15. I know this is an old post, but just wanted to say it’s a good one– never considered adding mountain climbers to a tabata routine, but definitely going to try it! Are you holding out on any other amazing exercises to incorporate into our HIIT training??

  16. very helpful blog thank you very much

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