12-Minute Dumbbell Tabata Workout with Holds

This tabata dumbbell workout replaces the traditional 10 seconds of rest with a 10-seconds isometric hold.

Hope you all had a great weekend! I spent mine in Boston for the first time in what feels like forever and worked pretty much the entire time but was SO HAPPY TO DO SO. I love summer, but I also love routine and the two seldom coexist for me. The result is this constant feeling of being behind on everything (work, self-care, etc.) and it was nice to play catch-up this weekend.

Today’s dumbbell tabata workout was inspired by the 12-minute bodyweight series I posted last summer (upper body, core, lower body (<–the most popular workout on my YouTube channel!), full body 1, full body 2). Those workouts were a big hit so I decided to do a twist on those.

12-Minute Dumbbell Tabata Workout with Holds

This video is sponsored by my friends at MegaFood. One of my favorite things about this brand is that their products are made with whole foods. They source produce from farms around the country to incorporate into their vitamins and supplements.

Equipment I Used:

A traditional tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For today’s workout, we’re replacing the rest with isometric holds.

As with all workouts, make sure to properly warm up beforehand. I have a 5-minute warm up on my YouTube channel that’s perfect to do at home.

This tabata dumbbell workout replaces the traditional 10 seconds of rest with a 10-seconds isometric hold.

Tabata 1

  • Thread the Needle in Side Plank | Start in a side forearm plank with your right forearm down on the ground, elbow stacked under shoulder. Hold the dumbbell in your left hand and reach it up to the ceiling. Feet can be stacked or staggered but if you’re using a heavier weight, I’d recommend staggered with the top foot in front of the bottom so that you have a supportive base when you rotate. From here, thread the weight under and across your chest as you rotate your chest to the floor and square your hips. Return to the starting position. Alternate sides each round.
  • Plank Hold

Tabata 2

  • Low Squat Steps | Start in a low squat position with the weight held at your shoulders behind your head. Staying low, step your left foot back into a low lunge and then right back up to your low squat. Repeat, stepping the same foot every time. Alternate sides each round.
  • Squat Hold with Weight Extended

Tabata 3

  • Renegade Row to Plank Jump | Start in a plank position, right hand gripping the dumbbell, left hand on the ground. Row the right elbow up to the ceiling, bringing the weight to the side of your torso. Return it to the ground and do a plank jump, jumping the feet up wide to the sides of your hands and then right back to plank. Alternate which arm has the weight each round.
  • Squat Hold with Weight at Chest

This tabata dumbbell workout replaces the traditional 10 seconds of rest with a 10-seconds isometric hold.

WEARING | alo yoga tank – old but I love their new lace-up tanks // michi ny leggings – old but this pair is basically the same // fierce + regal bra // nike sneakers

Outfit and equipment links are affiliate.

Arm Song Workout with Recycle Studio (Biceps + Shoulders Burnout)

This one-song workout uses a high rep - low weight format for a big arm burnout.Happy Friday friends! If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you were probably already notified of this new arm song workout video, but I wanted to post it here as well.

The first spin class I ever took in Boston was at Recycle Studio years ago and I immediately fell in love. I was totally off-beat, had no clue what a tapback was, and could barely make it halfway through the arm song without dropping my weights, but couldn’t wait for my next class. Fast-forward to today and I’m actually going to co-teach a class there this weekend (the arm portion anyway)! Details on that later on in the post, but for all my non-Bostonian readers, I wanted to give you a little preview of what you could expect from an “arm song” in class.

Lead instructor Emily Southworth (@emboslice on Insta) put together an arm burnout targeting biceps and shoulders, and you guys are gonna love it. Her classes always kick my ass—get to one if you’re in Boston!

This was my first time trying to make a video so that the workout was to the beat of a song I added in afterwards so bear with my C+ editing skills. 😉

Arm Song Workout

This one-song workout uses a high rep - low weight format for a big arm burnout.

If you’ve taken an indoor cycling class that incorporates an “arm song” or done barre, you’re well aware that those tiny hand weights can pack a big burn when used in a high-rep format. For this workout, you’ll need a pair of 2-4lb hand weights. Follow along to the video below and get ready for a biceps and shoulder burn! If you’re looking for a longer workout, go through the video twice.

In a real class at Recycle, the arm song would be a little longer than in this video and you’d have better music. I still haven’t found the holy grail of copyright-free music that I’m allowed to use on YouTube so I did the best I could. All the more reason to sign up for a class at the studio. 😉 Speaking of which …

Come workout with me this Sunday!

On Sunday, I’ll be teaching a class with Emily at Recycle’s Boston Common studio! Well, she’ll be teaching the class and I’ll just chime in during the arm song. Trust me, no one would be happy if they paid to have me attempt to teach spin (lol). PUMA is sponsoring the ride and offering free gear for riders (!!) and TIEM will be in studio for a trunk show all morning. Plus there’ll be raffles and rosé aprés! Not a bad way to spend your Sunday morning!

Book your bike HERE.

As of last night, the class was almost full but don’t be afraid to add yourself to the waitlist! It’s a Sunday—I guarantee at least a couple people will cancel.

Hope to see you there!

High-Rep, Low-Weight Workouts from the Archives

These workouts have a similar structure (although not music-based). The last two also mix in heavier strength exercises.

Deck of Cards Dumbbell Workout

This deck of cards dumbbell workout has a unique, fun structure. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number is your reps. How quickly can you get through the deck?

Grab a set of weights: Week three of April’s deck of cards series is here! If you missed week one (bodyweight) or week two (sliders) you can check them out using those links. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily harder or easier than the other two, but this deck of cards dumbbell workout definitely has less jumping around than the first. I don’t know about you guys but I was GASSED by the end of week one. This one was more strength, less gasping for breath.

Deck of Cards Dumbbell Workout


I’m using a pair of 10-lb dumbbells. Adjust to match your fitness level!

You’ll need a deck of cards for this workout. There are also smartphone apps for deck of cards workouts you can download if you want to take this to the gym. Shuffle the deck and you’ll flip one card over at a time until you’ve gone through the entire deck. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number of the cards tells you how many reps to do.

Face cards = 10 reps
Aces = 11 reps
Joker = 15 reps, exercise of your choice

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. This 5-minute warm up is a great one if you need some guidance!

This deck of cards dumbbell workout has a unique, fun structure. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number is your reps. How quickly can you get through the deck?

Deck of Cards Dumbbell Exercises

CLUBS – Low Surrender Squats | Start in a low squat position with weights held at shoulders. Step your right foot back behind you, planting the ball of the foot on the floor as you gently lower your knee to the ground. Both knees should be at opposing 90-degree angles. Step your left foot back to meet the right so that you’re kneeling on the ground. Step your right foot forward so that you’re in the same position as before, just with the opposite foot in front. Bring your left foot forward (staying low), returning to your starting low squat position. Switch your lead foot each rep.

DIAMONDS – Chest-Overhead Press Jacks | Start standing with your feet together and a single dumbbell held in both hands at your chest. As you jump your feet out wide, press the weight forward and chest height. Jump the feet back together and return the weight to starting position. Next time you jump the feet out wide, press the weight overhead. Jump feet back to starting position, lowering the weight. That’s 1 rep. These go by quickly so if you’re looking for a more advanced workout, double the rep number for these (if you flipped a 10 of diamonds, you’d do 20 reps).

SPADES – Renegade Row Plank Jumps | Start in a plank position holding dumbbells planted firmly on the ground beneath your shoulders. From this starting position, do a row on each side, first driving the right elbow up to the ceiling and then the left, lifting the dumbbell up close to the side of your body. Try to keep your hips level as you do this; don’t twist open towards the rowing side (having a wider stance with your feet will help accomplish this). After you’ve rowed each side, quickly jump your feet up outside your hands and then back to you plank position. That’s 1 rep.

HEARTS – Full Body Crunch | Start laying on your back with legs outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Holding a weight in your hands, arms should be outstretched overhead and hovering as well. From this starting position, crunch up, bringing your knees in towards your chest as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring the weight up and over towards your shins. Extend back out, lowering to starting position. The goal is to never bring the legs and/or weight to rest on the ground when you extend back out.

This deck of cards dumbbell workout has a unique, fun structure. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number is your reps. How quickly can you get through the deck?

WEARING | Crane & Lion leggings (sold out in this color but others here) // Reebok tank (sold out but this is a similar cut)

Is it weird that I’m kinda jealous of everyone running 26.2 miles today in Boston? The FOMO is real. I just keep reminding myself that I did NOT feel any faint twinges of jealousy seeing people on social media sludge through long runs in the snow this winter and stress about their fundraising minimums. 😉

I have a couple hours of work to do this morning and then I’m looking forward to walking down to Back Bay with friends and enjoying a few drinks while I watch everyone cross the finish line. Wishing everyone running a good race! Soak up every moment of it–especially that epic left turn onto Boylston Street. Oh jeeze I’m tearing up just thinking about it jkdl;sjfcn; endpostendpost END POST.