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!


Medicine Ball Wall Workout

Medicine Ball Wall WorkoutIf you follow me on Instagram, you already got a hilarious (at my expense) sneak peek of this workout via blooper reel. Trying to time an overhead toss sit-up so that it could be caught on camera resulted in me getting hit in the face, the chest, the stomach, my lady parts…it wasn’t pretty. But oh man was it FUNNY. I think I got a better ab workout laughing at the outtakes than I did actually doing this workout. ;)

But before we get to pictures that did make the cut from this workout, I want to draw attention to the pullover that’s keeping me warm in them. EIGHTYONE 20 Bulky Neck Pullover

I got the chance to sample the new athletic wear line EIGHTYONE 20, and with the weather in Boston being…typical freezing Boston weather…the timing was perfect. The Bulky Neck that I’m wearing is incredibly warm and soft. The outer material has that performance sheen of quality athletic apparel, but the inside of the pullover is a soft, heavenly fleece. You know that feeling of pulling on a pair of new sweats that haven’t gone through the wash yet? Is it not the best?? I think it’s even better than putting on a fresh new pair of socks—and that’s saying a lot because that feeling is magical.

The drawstring on the neck is also great for cold days without a scarf, and the sleeves have thumbholes for easy layering. As a long-limbed chick, I don’t always use thumbholes unless a top has extra long arms, but I figure it’s a feature worth mentioning since everyone loves those little sleeve slits. :)

The EIGHTYONE 20 collection is small right now, but their other piece of outwear, the Raglan Zipper Hoodie, is worth checking out at well—I love the two-tone color detail, and could totally see myself wearing it to and from the studio.

Medicine Ball Wall Workout

Equipment I Used:

Important: Make sure you’re doing this workout against a concrete wall or other sturdy surface—don’t go hurling a medicine ball at your grandmother’s living room walls.

For this 30-minute interval workout, set a timer for 30 rounds of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. You’ll go through the following five exercises six times. Medicine Ball Wall Workout

Med Ball Burpees with Chest Pass to Wall

Start standing about four-five feet away from a wall, holding the medicine ball at your chest, with feet about hip’s width apart. Squat down, bringing the ball to the ground in front of your feet. Keeping your hands firmly on top of the ball, arms straight, jump your feet back into a plank position. From there, jump your feet back up towards the ball, power up to your feet, bringing the ball to your chest, and pushing forward with both hands, throw the ball at the wall. When it bounces off, catch it with both hands and go right into your next rep.

Overhead Toss Sit Ups

There are a few ways to do these, all with varying degrees of difficulty. I want to take the time to go over them, because when I did this workout, I had to switch between them as I fatigued.

Lay on your back with your feet about one-two feet from a wall. Hold a medicine ball in your hands, outstretched overhead. From here, think of your upper body as a catapult. You’re going to do a sit up with arms still outstretched and launch the med ball overhead at the wall. Think of a soccer goalie launching a ball overhead back into play (except you’re seated). As it bounces off, you’ll catch it and return back down to starting position. You have to generate quite a bit of force to do this, so if it’s not happening, switch it up a little by doing the following:

Modification: Instead of launching the ball overhead in a smooth catapulting motion, do the sit up and then bring the ball down to your chest and throw it forward at the wall from there. A chest pass is a lot easier in the scenario than an overhead pass. Here’s what it looks like: Medicine Ball Sit-Up Toss from 30-Minute Med Ball Wall Workout

Up for a challenge? You can also make this exercise harder by doing with your legs hovering off the ground, forcing your core to work overtime. I can’t to an overhead toss with my feet hovering (yet), but I did a couple intervals of the sit-up-to-chest-pass this way and really felt the burn in my abs! Medicine Ball Sit-Up Toss

Wall Ball Squats

Start standing about four-five feet away from a wall, holding the medicine ball at your chest, with feet about hip’s width apart. Squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down, weight in your heels, med ball still held at your chest. When you reach the bottom of your squat, power up from your legs to standing position, thrusting your hips forward. As you do so, throw the medicine ball forcefully up and forward so that it hits the wall at least several feet above your head. Catch it as it bounces off and falls back down, and go right into your next squat.

Rotational Scoop Toss (Right)

This is a great one for the obliques. Start standing about six feet from the wall, with the wall to your left, ball held at your hip in your right hand. Plant your left foot and pivot on the back right foot as you launch the ball towards the wall with your right hand. It may take a couple tries to get it down, but you want the ball to hit the wall and then bounce once off the ground before you scoop down to grab it. You want to do this move rapid fire, so as soon as you catch the ball, wind up for the toss and twist right back into it.

This one is easier to show than explain, so I’d check out THIS VIDEO of it in action. You’ll notice in the video, the guy uses an underhand toss—I don’t get enough power when I do that, so I scoop down for the ball then bring it up and push it from my hip. Do whichever works for you!

Rotational Scoop Toss (Left)


Enjoy the workout! It’s a little different from other workouts I’ve posted in that it’s focused completely on power and dynamic movements. It’s a fun one–especially if you’ve got some anger to work off.


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by EIGHTYONE 20. While I was compensated, all opinions—as always!—are my own.

Bodyweight Butt Workout (+Giveaway!)

Crane & Lion workout legging giveawayEarlier this year, I attended a demo event in New York and had the chance to meet the ladies behind Crane & Lion, a new women’s activewear line. I was immediately drawn to the collection by the soft, pretty color palette, and then was completely sold after feeling how comfortable (and high-quality!) the material is. And I know it’s a small detail, but I am a huge fan of the signature back seam on the leggings—so flattering.

Ranging from $60-$100, Crane & Lion’s collection of bottoms isn’t exactly cheap, so I’m pumped to be able to giveaway a pair to one lucky reader! In today’s post, I’m wearing their original tight in marlin, but the winner can choose from any one of their styles and colors (and sizes, of course!). I’ve been wearing my tights a ton, so I know you guys will love them. Details on entering are at the bottom of this post—if you’re not interested in today’s booty workout and want to get straight to winning free swag, scroll down.

Bodyweight Butt Workout

This workout will take you 20 minutes to complete. You stay on each exercise for 20 seconds and then move immediately onto the next (no rest!). Once you’ve completed each exercise, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat twice more, going through the set of exercises three times in total.

The list of exercises below looks long, but you’ll notice the changes from one to the next are small. In some ways, it’s very similar to the work you do on the floor in barre classes. You start with a bunch of squat variations, then move onto a bunch of hip bridge variations, then finish with a bunch of variations in a tabletop (hands and knees) position. It’s really just a handful of movements, making a few small changes to each as you go: full range (large movement) –> pulse (small movement) –> hold (isometric).

I’m breaking up these explanations into three groups: squat moves, bridge moves, tabletop moves. This is just to give you a better idea of the flow of the workout—you do not take breaks in between these groups of exercises. You only rest when you’ve completed the entire list of exercises.

Even though the whole point of this workout is that no equipment is involved, you could always do it with ankle weights on and hold a set of dumbbells during the squats to make it more difficult (neither are needed to feel the burn though—I promise!).

Bodyweight Butt Workout

Squat moves:

  • Squat: Feet about hips-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Keep your chest open, shoulders back—it’s natural to lean forward slightly as you lower down, but we don’t want to hunch Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down to your lowest point, bodyweight staying in your heels. From there, powerfully stand back up, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward (squeeze your bum at the top!) and driving your arms behind you. Make sure you’re actively engaging the outer thighs to prevent the knees from caving inward (knock-knees) as you lower down into your squat.
  • Pulse Squat: Now just take it down to your lowest squat and from that position pulse up an inch and down an inch.
  • Squat Hold: Take out all movement and just hold down low in your deepest squat. Make sure weight is in your heels.
  • Plié Squat: This is your basic squat but with feet much wider than hip-distance apart and your toes pointed outward (like a ballerina’s feet when doing a plié). Keeping your spine straight, abs in tight and chest open, bend your knees and lower your booty down into a squat. From there, return to standing, squeezing those buns and straightening your legs as you power up. Knees should track out in the same direction as your toes the entire time, and feet should be wide enough apart so that as you squat down, your knees are jutting forward, in front of the toes.
  • Pulse Plié Squat: You’ve probably got the drill by now—lower down into your deepest plie squat and pulse from there, up an inch and down an inch.
  • Plié Squat Hold: You guessed it—take out the pulsing movement and just hold your deepest plie squat.
  • Alternating Sumo Squat Leg Lifts: This is a wide-stand squat with alternating side leg lifts. Feet wider than hip-distance apart, squat down low. Shift your weight into the right side and, staying as low as you can (it’s natural for the right to straighten a little, but don’t come out of the bent knee all the way), lift the left leg straight up and out to the side. Lower it, bringing your weight back to center in that deep squat. Repeat to the other side.

Bridge moves:

Do these all on the right…

  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts: Lay on your back, arms flat on the ground by your side for support, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. From here, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips a couple inches off the ground so that your butt is hovering. Lift your left foot into the air as well. This is your starting position. Your butt and that lifted foot will never touch the ground again (well, not until you’re done with this side). From here, thrust the hips upward, squeezing your glutes and pressing through the planted foot. Hold for a second at the top and then slowly lower hips back down to a hover.
  • Pulsing One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts: Make the movement of the previous exercise smaller—you’ll send your hips up as high as you can, and then from there just lower the hips down an inch and up an inch. It’s a small, pulsing movement at the top of your range of motion. Think of it as a squeeze (of the glute/hamstring) and release. Left leg still is pointing straight up in the air as ou do these.
  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Hold: Now take out all movement, holding your hips up as high as you can with that left leg pointing up towards the ceiling, squeezing your right glute and hamstring.

Then do the same moves on the left…

  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts
  • Pulsing One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts
  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Hold

Tabletop moves:

Do these all on the right…

  • Donkey Kicks: Start on all fours: knees stacked under hips, hands stacked under shoulders. From here, you’re going to press the bottom of your right foot up towards the ceiling, squeezing that right butt cheek. Pause at the top and then lower down most of the way (don’t let the right knee come to rest on the floor). As you do these, keep a straight spine by engaging your abs, pulling the belly button in towards the spine.
  • Fire Hydrants: Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees stacked under hips. Keeping your right leg in that 90-degree angle, lift that knee out and up in a wing motion (like a dog lifting to take a pee), opening up at the hip. Bring it back in close to the starting position, but try not to fully rest the knee back on the floor. As you do these, pay attention to your core: You wants a straight spine, protecting the low back by pulling your abs in tight the whole time.
  • Straight-Leg Side Lifts in Tabletop: This is like the fire hydrant move, except with a straight leg. Get on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees stacked under hips. From here, bring your right leg straight out to the right side. Lift it up a couple inches so that it’s hovering off the ground. This is your starting position. From here, lift the right leg up as close to hip height as you can (it’s tough!) and slowly lower back down to a hover. As you do these lifts, try to avoid shifting all your bodyweight into that opposite left side—instead of leaning in the opposite direction as the right leg lifts, you want to keep your body in a centered tabletop. A good way to achieve this is to lift the opposite, left hand off the ground (it’s also more challenging this way).

Then do the same moves on the left…

  • Donkey Kicks
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Straight-Leg Side Lifts

If you’re like me, you’ll feel it more in your quads than butt during the squats, but then as the sequence progresses, you’ll really feel the burn in your booty—and by rounds two and three, you’ll notice what the squats are doing for your glutes as well. Ok now on to the fun stuff…

Crane & Lion Workout Tights Giveaway

Crane & Lion outfitOne winner will get the leggings (or pants) of her choice! Right now, Crane & Lion doesn’t ship internationally, so for this one—sorry global friends!—only US readers can enter. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Browse Crane & Lion’s collection of bottoms here—which style is your favorite?
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which item you’d pick if you won. Make sure you record your entry using the widget below so that you’re properly accounted for in the randomized winner selection!

As you’ll see, you can also receive bonus entries for getting social on Twitter, but it’s totally optional. I’ll pick the winner Friday at noon and will send that lucky person an email shortly thereafter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to their original tight, I’m also wearing Crane & Lion’s bra tank. I love it!