20-Minute Workout: Total-Body Tabata
Torch calories, boost endurance, and strengthen every muscle with this high-intensity routine from Amanda Young.
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While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you likely already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So, we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series.
The Pro: Amanda Young, a social worker and certified group-fitness instructor; Young also trains instructors for Shape Up NYC, an organization that provides free exercise classes at dozens of locations in New York City
The Club(s): 74th Street, Sports Club Upper East Side, 44th @ Lex, Park Avenue, Bryant Park, 19th Street, Brookfield Place, Tribeca, and Brooklyn Heights.
The Workout: Tabata-style training—alternating 20 seconds at an all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest—is ideal for quickie sessions. It’s super-efficient because you burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. Plus, the torching continues: "When you do a high-intensity interval workout like this one, you burn more calories at rest in the 24 to 48 hours following your session than you would if you trained at a steady state," Young says. "It also conditions your body to sprint, which is helpful whether you’re pushing yourself on a bike or running to catch a train.” You can apply the technique to any exercise, including the head-to-toe toners here. But remember, intensity is key: “On a scale of one to 10, you should be working at a 10,” Young says. “If you’re just starting out, increase the breaks between rounds.” For best results, perform this routine three or four times a week on non-consecutive days.
March in place for 30 seconds; do squats for 30 seconds.
1. Slalom burpee: Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms extended at your sides. Squat as you place your hands on the floor in front of your feet, then jump feet back so you’re in a push-up position. Bend knees and hop feet toward left hand, right hand, and then the center (between hands). Stand as you jump up, raising your arms over your head; return to the starting position. Repeat the entire sequence for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds to complete 1 round. Do 8 rounds.
Rest: Take 1 minute to catch your breath and have some water (trust us, you’ll need it).
2. Alternating forward lunge with rotation: Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend your elbows, clasping your hands together in front of your chest. Take a big step forward with right foot as you extend your arms in front of you. Bend knees into a lunge as you rotate shoulders to the right. Rotate back to center and step back to the starting position. Repeat, this time lunging forward with left foot and rotating to the left. Continue, alternating sides, for 20 seconds; then rest for 10 seconds to complete 1 round. Do 8 rounds.
Rest: 1 minute
3. Shuffle and shoot: Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms extended at your sides. Bend knees and take two quick steps to the right, then jump straight up as you extend your arms over your head (as if you’re shooting a basketball). Immediately squat again and repeat in the opposite direction, shuffling to the left. Continue, alternating direction, for 20 seconds; then rest for 10 seconds to complete 1 round. Do 8 rounds.
Rest: 1 minute
4. Push-up to side plank: Get in push-up position with hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and legs extended behind you. (To make this exercise easier, lower your knees to the floor.) Bend elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor, then push up. Lift right arm toward the ceiling as you rotate torso toward the right side of the room. (If you’re on your knees, extend your right leg as you rotate.) Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Repeat, this time lifting left arm as you rotate torso to the left side of the room. Continue, alternating sides, for 20 seconds; then rest for 10 seconds to complete 1 round. Do 8 rounds.