Summer Shape-Up Workout: 25 Minute Full Body Tabata Sequence

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I initially created this workout in April as an easy at-home workout to gear up for summer. But, even if you are trying this in the dead of winter, it is a great way to get an amazing workout in when you don't have time for the gym or it is simply too darn cold to head outside. Now that you've seen this post, you literally have NO EXCUSES to not fit in a workout today! How's that for pressure, eh?

This workout is entirely comprised of Tabatas (not familiar with Tabatas? Read up on the concept of Tabatas in this post!). The beauty of Tabatas is how much work they do on your body in such a short amount of time. One Tabata set is said to increase endurance as much as 45 minutes of your regular cardio training would. If you do this workout, you're about to do six times that.

Tabata is really just a fancy word for a four-minute interval workout. The Tabata philosophy is based on creating what we call an Oxygen Debt – that means that you have burned off the oxygen you currently have in your muscles and thus your body has to find a way to replace it. Your body then rushes into oxygen production mode for the next 24 hours, burning extra fat in order to accomplish this task. That means you'll be burning extra fat for TWENTY.FOUR.HOURS!

That said, the workout will give you what you put into it. Tabatas are based on your ability to push yourself as hard as your body will allow during the 20 second work segments. You can't do it half asleep and you can't half ass it. Okay, you probably could... but it wouldn't be nearly as effective as it could be.

Do you have 25 minutes? Do you want to be in the best shape of your life? Get to work!

  • Timer:
    You either need an interval timer (purchase via GymBoss or download an iphone app for "Tabata" or "HIIT") or music that has been timed out to do a Tabata (Download the 25 minute track with 6 four-minute Tabatas timed out).
  • Light Weights:
    You'll need two light weights (between 2 and 5 pounds is best). If you don't have weights, use two full water bottles.
  • Mat:
    For ab exercises, you may prefer to have a mat! You can also do the exercises on carpet, or layer a few towels underneath you if you are doing them on a hard surface.

  • 6 Sets! - Each set will consist of eight 20-Second Work Segments, alternated with eight 10-Second Rest Segments (yeah, that's right - you'll need that rest to breathe!). Total, including the 10 second breaks, each set will be four minutes. If you take a 60 second break in between each set, this workout will take 29 Minutes. Try not to rest for any longer than 60 seconds, unless you truly need to. Push yourself.
  • 20-Seconds Exercise Segments - High Intensity Exercise. That means you're working as hard as you can and performing the exercise as fast as you can. You can do it because it's only for 20 seconds! 
  • 10-Seconds Rest Segments - Rest. Don't try to switch shoes or fill up a water bottle -- do that before you start! The 10 second break will go FAST and you'll need it to catch your breath, lower your heart rate, and figure out which exercise comes next.

1. The first set gets your heart rate up quickly.
For every other 20-second segment, you will alternate between two exercises, doing each exercise a total of 4 times:
  • Burpees (or Suicide Jumps) 
  • Switch Kicks (Also called Kick Jumps. You can take these on at a time, pausing to put both feet on the ground in between kicks, or make it more challenging by hopping from one kick into the other!)   
2. The second set works your butt and thighs.
You will perform one exercise during all 20-second segments, alternating between 20 seconds on your right leg and 20 seconds on your left leg and rest during all 10-second segments, doing the exercise a total of 4 times per leg.
  • Alternating Lunge Kicks (Image shown is left leg only. For proper form, make sure the bent front leg's knee is never past that foot's toes!)
3. The third set works your arms.
Grab your weights! For 20 seconds, you will do the first exercise. Then, instead of a break, you'll perform the second exercise for 10 seconds. Each exercise will be performed a total of 8 times. If it gets too intense, just drop your weights and move your arms. Don't stop!
  • Squat and Front Shoulder Raise (By holding the weights at shoulder-height while in the bottom of the squat and holding the weights up above your head while at the top of the squat, you will keep tension on the arms the entire time. For proper form, make sure not to allow your knees to go past your toes!)
  • Standing Side Shoulder Raise (Hold the weights out at shoulder length, with your palms facing up. Bring them together above your head, then lower back down and repeat. For an added challenge, stay in a wide squat during these segments)
4. The fourth set works your butt and thighs again:
For every other 20-second segment, you will alternate between two exercises, doing each exercise a total of 4 times.
  • Frog Jumps (Start in a low, wide squat, with one hand on the ground. Hop forward, still staying in the squat position, and touch the ground again. Then jump back! For proper form, make sure that your knees never come past your toes!)
  • Narrow Squat Leg Lifts (Start in a low, narrow squat, with feet close together. Lift your left leg in the air, maintaining the squat position with the rest of your body. Then lower your left leg and raise your right leg. For proper form, make sure the bent knee never comes past your toes!)
5. The fifth set works your abs
You will perform one exercise during all 20-second segments and rest during all 10-second segments, doing the exercise a total of 8 times. 
  • Plank (High Plank, on hands, or Low Plank, on elbows. To make it more challenging, you can alternate between low plank and high plank for each 20-second segment or alternate the whole way through, as shown in the image below.)
6. The sixth set works your abs again.
For every other 20-second segment, you will alternate between two exercises, doing each exercise a total of 4 times.
  • Pulsing Heel Raises (Lay on your back and raise your legs to the sky. Trying to keep the legs as straight as possible, raise your flexed heels to the sky, lifting your butt off of the mat. Continue to pulse until time runs out!)
  • Double-Sided Crunch (Kind of like a regular crunch, but adding your bottom half into the workout instead of leaving your feet on the ground! To keep a constant contraction on your lower abs, try not to let your knees go any lower than your hips!)

You've got demonstrations! That means there's no excuse not to try it out! Just in case you're not ready to take the plunge and purchase a GymBoss Timer, here's a track I've timed out just for this workout. There are six different songs, each timed out to count you in "3...2...1..." to each 20-second work segment and alert you via a school bell when each 20-second work segment has ended.

For free download, click "Download" (right next to "Like" and "Share")!

***Want individual tracks?! Click here!***

**Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness trainer - I simply created this workout to challenge our bodies and learned that it is extremely effective at increasing heart rate and burning fat! If you are new to working out or have injuries or medical problems, please consult with your doctor before attempting this working routine.**


  1. Yay Carly! I'm doing this when I get home :)

    Anna K

    1. Yay, Anna! Get intense about it for me, kay?! Or, in the words of our friend Jillian, "Don't phone it in!"
      P.S. I love you!

    2. Oh I brought all kinds of muscles to the party. haha I miss Guillermo too! I love youuuu

  2. This looks hard, but awesome! I'm definitely going to give it a try. I still have trouble with burpees but I will do my best, and maybe in a few weeks I'll be able to do them good.

    1. Hey Michelle! I'm glad you're going to try it :) the awesome thing about this workout is that you go at your own pace! You should obviously still challenge yourself as much as possible but a "challenge" is different for everyone! As long as you do as much as you can for each exercise, it'll be a good workout! :) hope you like it!
      P.s. if the burpees are too difficult, you could try doing them without jumping in the air at the top, so you'd just be standing up instead of jumping! Then once you get the hang of it you can add the jump! Just an idea :)

  3. Learn what you need in combination with good abdominal exercise to get great looking abs. Machines to work the abdominal muscles are advertised everywhere: magazines, infomercials and in fitness catalogs. Advertisers claim their machine will get rid of fat and leave you with a good looking midsection.

    1. Hey Claire,
      You're right -- you need a combo of fat burning and ab exercises. That's why this workout is so great -- because it includes fat burning Tabatas (which burn fat faster than any other workout) and two sets of abdominal exercises!

  4. This is GREAT! I can take this every where and do it whenever I want. And it's hardcore! I'm sweating after two rounds. Thank you for making this

  5. Hey Carly. As a personal trainer let me say your tabata sequence is spot on! This is not an easy sequence at all. I would recommend anyone trying this as you say to use a proper timer like gymboss or the apple app. This way you can ensure the timing is exact. Or use Carly's uploaded tunes! (never before have I enjoyed the sound of 10 seconds of static so much). I would love Carly to throw in some kettlebell swings as this is one of my favorite exercises to add to clients' tabata routines, either two handed KB swings or single handed.. maybe I 'm just too mean:-)

    1. Good idea! I don't have kettlebells at home but have access to them at the gym. Maybe I'll put together one with those! Thanks!

  6. This was awesome. Did it with no break in between sets. Awesome tabata!!


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