People have thousands of excuses for why they can’t train, the most popular being a lack of time. That’s why CrossFit is a great option for so many people; the workouts accomplish a lot in a short period. A banner example of this is Tabata intervals. Named after Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata, the intervals follow a 2-to-1 work-to- rest ratio. The work period is 20 seconds at maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds. Usually, the same exercise is performed for all eight intervals.

This training system allows the athlete to do a workout in four minutes, and studies have shown that Tabata training once or twice per week can substantially improve conditioning and burn serious fat—even in elite athletes. One of the more famous CrossFit workouts that uses the Tabata protocol is called “Tabata Something Else.” This workout calls for four sets of eight Tabata intervals but using a diferent exercise on each set.

No additional rest is provided, even when changing movements. The first eight intervals are pullups, followed by eight intervals each of pushups, situps, and squats. Another effective combination I’ve used is: squat, bench press, deadlift, and push press, all with a 135-pound barbell. I’ve also used rowing (for calories), jump rope double-unders, glute-ham sit-ups, and sled pushes, all done as a unit. Of course, you can create your own monster, too. Think of all the exercises you know and bring together a collection of your favorites, or challenge yourself with all the moves in which you’re not proficient. The possibilities are endless.

YOUR SCORE: Your score is the lowest number of reps per interval for a movement. For example, if you have seven pushup intervals of 15 reps and a final interval of 12 reps, your score is12. Set the bar high and keep trying to hit it round after round. 

The Workouts

CrossFit’s tabata something else is up first, followed by rob’s workouts. We’ve also provided a few other combinations that include upper- and lower-body work. When creating your own, just remember the rules: Finish eight intervals of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, before moving to the next exercise. Once you’ve done this with all four exercises, you’re finished.

Any Way You Slice It:

Tabata Something Else 
Pull-up Pushup 
Sit-up Air
*A body-weight squat is called an air squat in CrossFit parlance. 

Rob’s Workout A
Squat (135 lbs) 
Bench (135 lbs) 
Deadlift (135 lbs) 
Push Press (135 lbs) 

Rob’s Workout B
Sled Push 
**If you don’t have a glute-ham bench,do your sit-ups on the floor. 

M&F’S Combination A 
Power Clean 
Military Press 
Overhead Squat 

M&F’S Combination B 
High Pull 
Walking Lunge