Wednesday Workout: Upper Body Tabata Workout

As I’ve mentioned in a few posts lately, on days that I don’t have to teach, I’ve been focusing on upper body strength training- and really enjoying it! Up until the past 6 months or so (or, I guess once I started getting into teaching strength classes), I definitely categorized myself as a cardio junkie. Cardio, cardio, cardio. Machine cardio, running, kickboxing, Zumba- I literally couldn’t get enough of it. Now that I am focusing more on incorporating strength workouts into my schedule, I’m realizing how important it is to train evenly- meaning incorporate strength days, cardio days, HIIT days, lighter days, etc. throughout the week to avoid overuse and injury. I like the way my body looks so much more now that I have been lifting fairly regularly- strong is the new sexy, right?!


Anyway! I threw together this upper body Tabata workout to do at the gym after work one day a few weeks ago and it literally left me sore for a few days. I think it’s because I really focused on lifting heavy for the 20 second “work” periods, which is the whole point of Tabata training, right? Balls to the wall for 20 seconds (for a lack of better words), because you know you have 10 seconds of rest coming up. I really urged people in my classes to go heavy and kept giving them hints and reminders like “if you’re not feeling tired yet, you should increase your weight.” and “If your muscles aren’t feeling the burn at this point- go heavier! Make this worth your time.” to ensure that they were getting the most out of the workout. When I taught this in class, I added in lower body Tabata sets and cardio and abs, but I thought for the purposes of the blog, I thought I’d share just the upper body part in case anyone else is like me and craving upper body training.

Quick note about Tabata training: the “real” or traditional Tabata workout is doing just 1 exercise for the entire 8 sets (or 4 minutes), but there are many different variations of Tabata workouts, which is what this is. I chose 2 exercises per Tabata set, but I kept them within the same muscle group for the most part to make it a little more like a traditional Tabata set, while still keeping it more interesting for my members.

Upper Body Tabata Workout

My members always cringe at crab walks, but I swear they are one of the best tricep workouts you can do!

If you have any questions about any of these moves, just shoot me a comment or email and I can link you to helpful videos. Remember- go heavy (while still being safe and lifting with proper form- never sacrifice form to lift a heavier weight. Work your way up to it!) and challenge your muscles here- make them tired!

Questions for you: Do you prefer to train your upper or lower body? Are you a cardio junkie or do you prefer strength training?

Ps for all of you who are participating in Athena’s Fall into Fitness Challenge, don’t forget to do your “move of the day”! I think this is such a fun challenge because for me, I like being reminded of exercises that I may have forgotten 😉


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