December Fitness Bingo | Tabata workouts

Oh, Tabata workouts. They most deceptive workout in the coach’s bag of tricks. On the whiteboard, it looks easy and straightforward: 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for several minutes. Too easy.

And then the workout starts.

We have two Tabata workouts for the December #fitnessbingo challenge. One is relatively easy and a perfect warmup for leg day. The other is hella hard.

December Fitness Bingo tabata

Why Tabata?

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese physician and researcher, conducted a study using an interval-based training model — the 20/10 method.

For six weeks, Dr. Tabata observed two groups — a control group that did one hour of moderate-intensity exercise five times per week; and the Tabata group. In total, the control group did up to 1,800 minutes of training versus 120 minutes of training for the Tabata group over the six-week period.

At the end of the six weeks, the Tabata group improved both its aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels, with the anaerobic fitness level increased 28 percent.

According to, “Whatever exercise you use, Tabata training will raise your metabolism and heart rate immediately. Since you are performing these exercises at a very high intensity, your body will have to work much harder to keep it up. This will cause your heart to pump fast and your metabolism to jump, which you want if you are planning on losing fat.”

Want to geek out more on Tabatas? Check out this article.

December Tabatas

RKC Plank

The workout:
20 seconds of an RKC plank, 10 second rest for 5 minutes

What is an RKC plank? RKC stands for Russian Kettlebell Challenge and the RKC plank is the hardest, most exhausting form of a plank you can do.

The setup: Get into a plank position with your forearms on the floor, and your toes planted. Lift your body so that it is in a straight line — no arching or rounding the back or pushing your hips up high. Now squeeze.

Squeeze and flex every muscle throughout your entire body and hold it for those 20 seconds. Rest and relax for 10 seconds, then do it again.

Too easy? Then you’re Wonder Woman and bravo to you. I only made to 3:30 before I had to take a longer break.

Too hard? Rest longer.


The workout:
Squat down into an active squat for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds for five minutes. Feel free to use the Bring Sally Up squat challenge as inspiration.

This Tabata is a great warmup for leg day. It’s relatively short and if you struggle with getting below parallel, you can work on some mobility.

Too easy? Use it as a warm-up before a big leg day.

Too hard? Find a post or something to grab onto and lower yourself into a squat and hold for the 20 seconds.

Want more workouts? Check out our recaps of the December #fitnessbingo AMRAP workoutsEMOM workouts; and strength workouts.

Don’t miss: 25 days of Christmas mystery workout and our Naughty or Nice partner chipper.

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