Last week I shared an all arms workout, and today I bring you a cardio/core workout! Give this quickie a try when you have as little as 4 minutes to spare. Check it out!

Equipment: A medicine ball (but you could use an object like a purse), and a timer (I like the free Gym Boss timer app, or you can search “free tabata timer” in the app store)

The workout: Grab your timer and do this workout Tabata style! Traditional Tabata consists of 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for a total of 4 minutes. The idea is to work as hard and fast as you can with good form and control. This is the time to push it so that you can get maximum results in the minimum amount of time. You have several options for how to perform this workout based on how much time you have:

20 minutes: Do a full 4-minute Tabata for each exercise. For example, you’d do 8 rounds of Exercise 1(20 seconds on, 10 seconds off 8 times), rest for 1 minute, then do 8 rounds of Exercise 2, rest for 1 minute, and so on.

8 minutes: Alternate between 2 exercises during your Tabata style workout. In Tabata 1, you would alternate between mountain climbers and the plank until you’ve completed 4 rounds of each exercise. Rest 1 minute and then do Tabata 2- jump squats and wood chops performed in the same alternating fashion for 8 rounds.

4 minutes: Alternate between all 4 exercises during the 4-minute Tabata workout. Perform 20 seconds of work of Exercise 1, rest 10 seconds, then 20 seconds of Exercise 2, rest 10 seconds and so on until you’ve performed each exercise. You’ll go through each exercise twice to perform 8 rounds total.

The exercises:

  1. Mountain Climbers
  2. Plank
  3. Jump squat
  4. Wood chops

Breakdown of each exercise:

  1. Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank position on your hands and knees. Brace your core and pull one knee in toward your chest while keeping a strong plank position. Quickly switch legs without letting your hips or trunk rotate or bounce.


-Make it easier: Perform the mountain climbers on an elevated surface (like a couch, bench, or counter top).

-Make it harder: Change it up and bring your knee toward the outside of the elbow on the same side (for example, your right knee would go toward your right elbow). Going faster also makes it harder! Just make sure you can keep good form.

  1. Plank: To do a plank on the forearms and toes, start on your forearms and toes and place your elbows underneath your shoulders with your hands flat on the mat. Squeeze your quads, glutes, and abs as you raise your knees off the mat and get into a full plank position. Keep those muscle groups tight the whole time you’re holding the plank.


-Make it easier: Perform the plank on your hands or on an elevated surface (like a counter top). You could also do them on your knees.

-Make it harder: While you’re your plank, lift one of your toes while keeping the hips and back neutral. Alternate each set.

  1. Jump Squat: Do a squat and reach your arms back as you load up to jump. Squeeze the glutes as you jump straight up in the air. When you’re in the air, your body should be in a straight line with your arms reaching straight up toward the ceiling. Land softly, making sure your foot contacts the ground toe to heel and that you finish in a squat (gotta protect those joints!). When you land, both toes should be pointing straight ahead. If they’re not, fix them before you begin your next jump.


-Make it easier: Do regular squats at a fast pace

-Make it harder: Add a direction change. Start facing forward and jump ¼ turn to your right or left, then jump back to center. Keep jumping side to side until the time runs out. Check to be sure your feet are still squared straight ahead when you land (not turning out or in).

  1. Wood chops: Start in a squat position with your medicine ball or purse on the outside of your right knee. Keep your arms straight and your core tight as you rotate to bring the object up over the opposite shoulder. As you do this, you want to pivot on the back foot. Keep your abs tight and arms straight as you return to the starting position. Change to the other side the next set.


-Make it easier: Start with just practicing the movement – no weight.

-Make it harder: Add more resistance and practice using sharp, quick change of direction with good control. Feel those obliques burn!

Give it a try this weekend and let us know what you think! Stay tuned next week for an all legs workout. You know that’s gonna burn! In a good way, of course.