For those who are unfamiliar with a Tabata workout, it's essentially a series of full-intensity bursts (:20-30 usually) with VERY brief rest periods (roughly :10 at most). There can be between 4 and 5 different exercises, and one rotation through completes one Tabata circuit.
Tabatas are a great way to get an intense workout in when crunched for time. People exercising on their lunchbreak who need to get their heart rate up and break a good sweat without time to spend pounding away on the treadmill can see real benefits.
Here's a description of a typical Tabata workout structure:
- 5 minutes of warm-up
- 8 intervals of 20 seconds all-out intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest
- 2 minutes cool-down
Tabata-style workouts are also beneficial when traveling or on vacation, since if there is no real gym access, you may only have room in your travel bags for one singular peice of equipment. These can obviously be done in a body weight format with drills like burpees, mountain climbers, and plyo jumps for example, but here is an excellent video of Baltimore-area trainer Nick Tumminello demonstrating an upper body Tabata circuit with cable resistence bands.
Here's another with one of his clients, Alli McKee doing similar exercises: