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Tabata Exercises for Women

author image Patrick Dale
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.
Tabata Exercises for Women
Kettlebells are one of a number of effective Tabata exercise tools for women. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Tabata interval training involves performing eight to ten sets of 20 seconds of work alternated with 10-second rest periods. The aim of the workout is to perform as many repetitions as possible during the work period. Tabata interval training increases aerobic and anaerobic conditioning in a workout that lasts four to five minutes. You can use a variety of exercises for Tabata interval training, but for women, some exercises are more popular and effective than others.


Squats target the thighs, buttocks and hips -- areas that many women want to improve. Squats are often performed with a barbell resting across the upper back, but many women find this uncomfortable. Tabata squats are generally performed using the body weight version of this exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides. Push your butt back, bend your knees and descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Quickly stand up and repeat. Your aim is to complete as many repetitions as possible, so swing your arms forward and back to increase your speed.

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Jump Rope

With the exception of boxers and some martial artists, men are often not very good at jumping rope. By contrast, women tend to be much more proficient at this exercise, which is ideally suited to use in Tabata interval training. The best jump rope technique for Tabata interval training is knee lift sprints. With an upright torso, run on the spot and lift your thighs up parallel with the floor. Pump your legs as fast as you can in time with the turns of your jump rope. If you are a very proficient rope jumper, you can also perform Tabata intervals with double unders -- two rope turns per jump. This is a very demanding exercise.

Three-Quarter Pushups

Three-quarter pushups are sometimes referred to as "girlie pushups," although many men choose to perform their pushups in this manner. Three-quarter pushups are easier than regular pushups and therefore are ideal for Tabata interval training. Bend down and place your hands on the floor so that your hands are shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back and into the full pushup position. Bend your legs and place your knees on the floor. Your knees, hips and shoulders should form a straight line. This is your starting position. Bend your arms and lower your chest to one inch above the floor. Push back up into full arm extension and repeat. Do not let your lower back sag down toward the floor as this can lead to injury. Keep your abs tight throughout this exercise to prevent this from happening.

One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings target your hips, butt and thighs. By performing this exercise with one arm at a time, you keep your bigger, stronger lower body working hard while providing periodic breaks for your weaker upper-body muscles. This makes it an ideal Tabata interval training exercise for women as, generally, women have stronger lower body muscles. Hold a kettlebell in one hand. Bend your legs slightly and lean forward from your hips. Lower the kettlebell between your knees. Extend your hips and swing the kettlebell up to around face height. Let the kettlebell fall back down and return to your starting position and then repeat. Perform your next set with your opposite arm and continue to alternate arms until your workout is completed.

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  • "You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises for Men and Women"; Mark Lauren; 2010
  • "Never Gymless: An Excuse-Free System for Total Fitness"; Ross Enamait; 2006
  • "Kettlebells For Dummies"; Sarah Lurie; 2010
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