4 Minute Plank Tabata Workout for Beginners
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If you are like most people (myself included), then your abs are probably one area of the body you would like to improve. Well today you are in for a treat as we put together a quick 4 Minute Plank Tabata Workout that is perfect for beginners.
This Tabata workout will focus on your abs, by combining several plank exercises which will only take 4 minutes to complete! How crazy is that … in less than 5 minutes you can get a great core workout in.
Before we discuss the plank exercises you will be completing, let’s first cover how a Tabata Workout should be performed.
What is Tabata?
Tabata is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout that lasts a total of 4 minutes. If you don’t have 4 minutes in your day to get one of these workouts in … then we can’t help with your weight loss goals!
The name Tabata comes from a Japanese researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata. He conducted many different studies comparing long periods of cardio training versus short periods of high impact interval training.
Dr. Tabata’s research results concluded the high intensity training was way more effective and required much less time compared to long periods of cardio. This research probably contradicts most of what you have been previously taught about cardio.
A Tabata Workout should be a short, maxed out exercise routine focused on interval training. A typical Tabata workout would include a combination of 4 different exercises. These exercises could include – push ups, lunges, squats, high knees, jumping jacks … and even planks!
The exercises are to be performed one at a time for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. One full Tabata set can be preformed in 2 minutes … where each of the 4 exercises is completed once.
A full Tabata workout is 2 full sets (each exercise repeated twice) for a total of 4 minutes.
Setting Up Your Tabata Timer
To make your 4 Minute Plank Workout easy to follow, I suggest you purchase a Tabata Timer (or HIIT Timer). You can also download one of the many free apps that are available to your phone. I have found these work great if you don’t want to spend any money on an actual timer.
Note – If you are using an app, try and find one that you can sync music too. I find this helps stay motivated if you have songs playing while exercising.
Once you buy or download your timer, you will need to setup the following in order to complete the 4 Minute Plank Tabata Workout.
- Exercise Interval – 20 Seconds
- Rest Interval – 10 Seconds
- Number of Sets – 2
- Number of Cycles – 4 (number of exercises)
Note – There is usually no warm up or cool down periods with a traditional Tabata Workout. However, feel free to adjust this to your exercise preference.
You can also modify any of the intervals, sets, or cycles to fit your needs. The great thing about high intensity workouts is that you can adopt them to your preference or needs.
4 Minute Plank Tabata Workout
When it comes to a Tabata Workout, the combinations of exercises are endless. For example, you could perform an upper body workout that could focus on push ups and mountain climbers. Or you could focus on the lower body by adding in squats and lunges.
For the purposes of this ab workout, we are only going to focus on different plank exercises. Here is the format for 1 full set of the Plank Tabata Workout.
- 20 seconds – full plank
- 10 seconds – rest
- 20 seconds – right side plank
- 10 seconds – rest
- 20 seconds – left side plank
- 10 seconds – rest
- 20 seconds – reverse plank
- 10 seconds – rest
There are several different types of plank exercises. These simple, but effective bodyweight exercises are great for strengthening the core, shoulders, arms, and even the glutes.
Each of the following plank exercises are static … which means the body stays in one position for the entire 20 seconds. They don’t require any equipment and can be performed in any room of your house, outside, on the beach, and even in a hotel room.
The full plank is basically like doing a push up … without going down. Start by placing the hands directly under the shoulders … a bit wider than shoulder width apart.
Next squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. The neck and spine should stay in a neutral position which can be helped by looking at a spot on the floor above your hands. It is very important to keep your head in line with your back.
Forearm Plank – A slightly modified version to the full plank is to start with your forearms on the ground. This exercise is slightly easier than the regular plank, which may be helpful for beginners.
Right Side Plank
Both side plank exercises (right and left) help to engage the obliques … which are the side muscles of the core. These are two areas that don’t get as much work from the regular plank.
To perform the right side plank, lie on your right side with legs stacked on top of one another. Next, prop the body up on your right hand while keeping your feet stacked. Make sure to keep your core and glutes engaged during the exercise.
Easier Side Plank – To make a side plank easier for beginners, try using your elbow to prop up your body instead of extending out your hand.
Difficult Side Plank – To spice things up and make them harder, try extending your opposite hand and leg in the air.
Left Side Plank
The left side plank is just the opposite of the right side. Start by laying on your left side with legs stacked on top of one another. Next, prop the body up on your left hand while keeping your feet stacked.
You can also make your left side plank easier by using your elbow or more difficult raising your right hand and leg in the air.
The reverse plank is another great bodyweight exercise that helps to strengthen your core. Not only will it help with your abs, the exercise will also work to strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
To start … sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and place your palms on the floor slightly behind your hips. Make sure to spread your fingers wide and then press into your palms … while lifting your hips bringing your torso up towards the ceiling.
Continue to hold the exercise while looking at the ceiling and pointing your toes straight. Your arms, legs, and body should remain flat like a plank for the exercise. Keep your core engaged during the entire exercise.
Modified Reverse Plank – If you are looking to step it up … then you can do a one-legged reverse plank. This will push your body even further once you are ready to advance to a higher level.
Getting Fit with 4 Minute Tabata Workouts
If you can’t fit in a 4-minute workout in your day … then you may as well give up on trying to loose weight or getting fit.
Whether it be a 4 Minute Plank Tabata Workout, or many of the other fat burning high intensity workouts … these short maxed out exercises can completely change your life. They save a ton of time and push your body to the max. Just keep in mind you have to give 100% effort for the entire workout!
If you are serious about staying fit and weight loss, then this 4 Minute Plank Tabata Workout is a great place to start working your core. However, no Tabata Workout routine, yoga pose, or long distance run is sustainable if you have a poor diet. You still need to give your body the proper nutrition and rest it needs.
Proper weight loss and staying fit first starts in the kitchen and the food you put into your body.
A combination of proper eating habits and exercise will give you the best shot at staying fit and keep your body healthy.