“No-Rest” Tabata Workout with Isometric Holds

"No-Rest" Tabata Workout with Isometric HoldsDisclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.

Gooooooood morning! I know the Monday after Fourth of July weekend is, well, the worst, but I’ve got an awesome, no-frills bodyweight workout for you today, and there’s nothing like a good sweat to brighten your mood. Actually, I take that back—there’s nothing like a good sweat and a new workout outfit to brighten your mood…

Target(R) C9 activewearI recently got the opportunity to try out a couple pieces from the Target® C9 activewear collection, and decided on the Run Short with Knit Waistband and Sporty Layered Run Tank. They come in lots of color options, and I went with a fun, printed combo.

Especially now that it’s a million degrees outside with this good ol’ New England humidity, the shorts are perfect. The waistband is wide and comfortable; there’s a little key pocket attached to the inside lining; the material is lightweight; and there’s a built-in brief, which I always like. I still wear underwear with it, but I find that the built-in helps keep the shorts in place and prevents them from riding up as I run (adjusting your shorts every few steps is the worst!).

The tank is great, too! The built-in bra is supportive enough to do high-intensity workouts and run (if you’re using this as a buying guide, keep in mind I have a small-ish chest), and the cut is really flattering. I love the bra-with-flowy-tank-attached look, so this was right up my alley.

The best part, as with all apparel from Target®, is the price! You can get both items for about $40. The only downside to affordability is that I’ll run into Target® for paper towels and leave with like four new outfits, a couple DVDs, a new bath mat…oops. Anyone else have that problem? :)

Alright now that you’ve got something to wear, let’s do today’s workout…

“No-Rest” Tabata Workout with Isometric Holds

In a traditional tabata workout, you complete 20 seconds of work and then get 10 seconds of rest. Today, we’re swapping out the rest period with an isometric hold. This is a great workout to do when you’re traveling or don’t have any equipment at your disposal—you need very little space and nothing but your bodyweight.

Equipment I Used:

  • Gymboss Interval Timer
  • Exercise mat

You’ll stay on each exercise for 4 minutes, using tabata intervals: 8 rounds of 20 seconds of movement and 10 seconds of holding. Once you’ve completed all 8 rounds, you’ll do the same thing for the next exercise. As an example, for the first exercise, you’d do jump squats for 20 seconds then hold a deep squat for 10 and then go right back into jumping, and so on and so on.

"No-Rest" Tabata Workout with Isometric Holds

  • Jump Squats / Hold Squat: Feet about shoulder width apart, squat down, sending hips back and booty down (don’t let your knees shoot out farther than your toes). Explosively jump straight up, swinging your arms back for momentum. Land softly back in that deep squat position. For the isometric, hold your squat. If you’re advanced, you can hold a set of dumbbells while you do this. If you’re a newbie or you have knee issues, take out the jump: just squat up and down and then hold it down.
  • Push Ups / Hold Lowered Push Up: Shoulders aligned over wrists, do push ups either from your toes or knees (I made it through the first two rounds on my feet, then dropped down to my knees). For the isometric, hold the lowered push up, elbows bent, and chest as close to the ground as you can get it.
  • Bridge Hip Thrusters / Hold Bridge: Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on ground. We’re working your booty here. Lift your hips off the ground, squeezing those glutes. Lower back down, but not all the way—you never want to let your butt come to rest on the ground. For the isometric, thrust those hips high up towards the ceiling and hold ‘em there.
  • Mountain Climbers / Hold Plank: In a plank position, drive one knee forward, then the other, in a sort of horizontal running position. These should be quick! For the isometric, hold a plank position. If your wrists start to bother you, come onto your forearms for an elbow plank.
  • Leg Lifts / Hold Hover: Lay on your back, hands under your bum for support if needed (you want your lower back to stay glued to the ground as you do this—if you find it lifting up, placing your hands under your butt will help). Lift legs straight up, perpendicular to the ground and then lower them to where they’re hovering about 6” off the floor. For the isometric, hold that lowered, hovering position.

If you try this workout, leave a comment telling me the section that was hardest for you. Pushups definitely won that distinction for me! I tried to do “real” pushups, but after two rounds of those holds had to switch to my knees—and still struggled.

And if the pushups and mountain climbers in this workout aren’t enough to get your shoulders burning, check out this 5-minute video from Target® and POPSUGAR:



Upper-Body Hand Weight Workout (Emphasis on Shoulders)

Upper-Body Hand Weight Workout (emphasis on shoulders)Yesterday I asked my Facebook page what exercises they’d want to see in the next P&I workout. I’m at my parent’s place on the Vineyard and am limited when it comes to equipment and fitness studios, so it’s the perfect time to make up some workouts that can be done in a living room or other small space. I got an overwhelming request for upper-body exercises, so here ya go!

All I could find in my parents’ house was some super-light hand weights (1lb, 3lbs & 5lbs), so I structured the workout accordingly: continuous reps, no breaks, lots of smaller movements that blend right into the next exercise. Chuck your ego at the door for this one—you may think you can handle heavier weights but those 3-pounders are going to feel like 300-pounders halfway through this workout.

Upper-Body Hand Weight Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Set of 3-lb hand weights (I recommend using anywhere from 1lb to 5lb weights)
  • Gymboss Interval Timer (optional—you could also just watch the clock)

Grab a set of light hand weights (I used a 3-lb set). If you’re using an interval timer, set it for 12 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 0 seconds of rest. This way it will beep every 20 seconds, cueing you to move right into the next exercise. Do not rest between exercises. Once you’ve gone through all 12 (4 minutes total), take a 1 minute rest and then repeat. You’ll do a total of 3 rounds.

There are two ways to make this workout harder or easier to fit your current fitness level.

  1. Adjust the length of the intervals (if you’re a beginner, start by just doing 10 seconds of each exercise; if you’re advanced, try doing each for 30 seconds).
  2. Adjust the weight. If you’re a beginner, start with 1-lb weights. If you’re advanced, shoot for 5+ lb weights.

Upper-Body Hand Weight Workout (emphasis on shoulders)All these exercises are simple movements. Keep a steady pace, moving right from one to the next.

  • Straight-Arm Taps: Extend hands straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Continuously tap ends of weights together in the middle, not letting your arms drop below starting height. Make the taps hard and deliberate—really hit them together.
  • Rows: Extend arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height and then row elbows back, really squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping hands at starting height.
  • Reverse Hug: Palms facing each other, open your arms out wide with bent elbow (as if you were approaching someone to give ‘em a big hug). Pull your elbows back behind you as if you were trying to touch them together. Squeeze those shoulder blades together!
  • Drawbridge: Start with your arms in a goal post position—elbows bent at 90 degrees out to your sides, hands up, palms facing forward. Think of a drawbridge lifting and lowering (or a lid opening and closing): rotate at the shoulders, keeping everything else locked in that position, so that hands come to shoulder height, facing the floor.
  • Shoulder Press: Start in that goal post position and then press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. Don’t let them dip down lower than that.
  • Shoulder Shaper: Start in that goal post position and then bring your forearms in front of you, touching your hands and elbows together in the center. Like opening and closing a book. Keep elbows at shoulder height the whole time.
  • Together Ups: Start with elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height, forearms parallel to eachother and in front of your face. Palms are facing you, weights touching, and elbows as close to touching as you can get them. From here, press your arms up and down, keeping forearms close to each other and parallel (your elbows will want to fan out to the sides—don’t let them!). Don’t shrug your shoulders up towards your ears while you do this.
  • Biceps Curl: Extend arms out in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing up. Curl the weights in towards your shoulders and extend back out, keeping elbows lifted the whole time.
  • Serve the Platter Reaches: This is a small movement. Start with arms extended in front of you, palms up, elbows slightly bent. Reach hands up and out (at an upward angle).
  • Lateral Arm Circles: Hold weights out to the sides with arms straight at shoulder height. Trace small circles with your hands (no more than 6” in diameter), not letting your arms lower.
  • Triceps Kickbacks: Bend your knees and lean forward slightly with a straight back. Arms come down by your sides, elbows bent. Keeping your forearms glued to your sides and just hinding at the elbow, send the weights behind you, extending your arms and squeezing your triceps.
  • Triceps Extension Lifts: In the same position as the previous exercise, hold your arms straight back behind you and, hinging at the shoulders, lift them up as high as you can and then lower just a couple inches. Think of this as a little pulse with your arms straight behind you and as high as you can get them.

Upper-Body Hand Weight Workout (emphasis on shoulders)WEARING | shorts: Athleta // tank & sports bra: Forever 21

If anyone can get through three full rounds without cheating using 30-second intervals, let me know; you will be my new hero. I first tried these doing 30 seconds of each exercise and made it halfway through the first round before I was like there’s no effing way I can do three rounds of this. 20-second intervals were perfect—my arms burned like crazy, but with some psyching up I was able to get through the workout.

Like my outfit? SHOP A SIMILAR LOOK:

Kettlebell Cardio Workout

Kettlebell Cardio WorkoutYou guys are going to have to try this workout and let me know if it really is ridiculously hard or I just made the fatal mistake of doing it outdoors in 80-degree, humid weather. I’m guessing it’s a mix of both…

Kettlebell Cardio Workout

Equipment I Used:

This workout is made up of four mini circuits. You’ll do three rounds of the first circuit, moving right from one move to the next without breaks. After the three rounds (6 minutes), you get a minute break before moving onto the next mini circuit. In total, this workout will take you just under half an hour to finish.

I used an interval timer and just set it up for 78 rounds of 30 seconds and made a mental note of when to do an exercise for two intervals (1 minute) and when to switch it up after 30. If that’s confusing, just time it in a way that works for you.

Kettlebell Cardio Workout

CIRCUIT 1 | Complete 3 rounds of the following…

  • (30 seconds) High Pull Swings with the Right Arm: I used a 15-lb bell for these because it was my first time with the exercise. I think I might be able to up that to a 20-lb bell now that I’ve got the hang of it. This is a normal one arm swing, except at the top of the swing you’ll pull your elbow up and back then thrust the kettlebell forward again in sort of a punching motion, going right back down into your swing.
  • (30 seconds) High Pull Swings with the Left Arm
  • (60 seconds) Jump Rope

1 minute break

CIRCUIT 2 | Complete 3 rounds of the following…

  • (60 seconds) 2 Lateral Jumps over KB into Figure 8 Squat: Start with feet a little wider than hip-width apart, standing to the left of a heavy kettlebell (I used 25-lb because it’s the heaviest I have—35-lb would have been ideal for me). Squat down, grabbing the kettlebell with your right hand. Power up to stand. Squat back down, passing the kettlebell through your legs to the left hand, using a figure-eight motion. Once it’s in your left hand, stand back up (careful not to lock the knees). Squat back down a final time, placing the kettlebell to the ground so that you’re now standing to the right of it. From here, do two lateral jumps, jumping over the kettlebell to the left then back over to the right. Go right into the next figure 8 squat series, this time in the opposite direction.
  • (60 seconds) Jump Rope

1 minute break

CIRCUIT 3 | Complete 3 rounds of the following…

  • (30 seconds) Russian Twist: Sit with legs elevated, leaning slightly backwards, and twist from right to left, bringing kettlebell from one side of your body to the other. I used a 15-lb bell.
  • (30 seconds) Boat Pose Leg Scissors: Holding the bell at your chest, lean torso back, keeping abs engaged (think about squeezing your belly button and spine in towards each other). Lift feet off the ground and straighten legs out in front of you. Alternate lifting one foot up while you lightly tap the other heel to the ground. Switch, scissoring back and forth. The heel should just barely kiss the ground before lifting back up—don’t rest your legs on the floor!
  • (60 seconds) Jump Rope

1 minute break 

CIRCUIT 4 | Complete 3 rounds of the following…

  • (30 seconds) Kettlebell Swings: I use a 25-lb for swings, but probably need to raise that to 30 since I’ve been doing this a while now. Start with kettlebell down between your legs and, using your arms as a pendulum, swing the bell to slightly above eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. Swing back down and repeat.
  • (30 seconds) Kettlebell Swing Punches: Don’t pause in between the swings and swing punches, just move seamlessly into these on your next swing after the timer goes off. This is just like a regular swing except for at the top, bend your elbows wide, bringing the kettle bell in towards your face, and punch it back out.
  • (60 seconds) Jump Rope

Kettlebell Cardio Workout

No seriously, don’t do this outside on a hot day unless you want to cry…

And it wouldn’t be a P&I post if I ended this without talking about what I’m wearing, now would it?? Sweaty Betty sent me this fun, optic print leggings and I’m in love. The quality is excellent—comfortable, soft, supportive, wide waistband—and I’ve gotten compliments every time I’ve worn them to a class. It’s perfect timing to wear them on the blog because Sweaty Betty is having a summer sale through 7/30: up to 50% plus free shipping on purchases over $200. Shwing! Check it out HERE.

Kettlebell Cardio Workout

WEARING | leggings: c/o Sweaty Betty // tank: Under Armour // sneakers: Nike