Intervals remain a popular way to train your stamina and test your strength, thanks to the short bursts of work, followed by rest breaks, which make the time fly by. What’s even better: You can incorporate them into both your cycling workouts and your gym sessions, including your core routines.
Enter: This Tabata abs workout that not only challenges your core muscles, but also gets you to work at a higher intensity to up the challenge on your cardio and your stability.
The Benefits of a Tabata Abs Workout for Cyclists
Popularized by researcher Izumi Tabata back in 1996, Tabatas are a form of high-intensity interval training that call for 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, completing at least eight rounds—that’s just four minutes total; talk about bang for your fitness buck.
The study, conducted by Tabata and fellow researchers, found the method significantly increased participants’ VO2 max, a benchmark of cardio fitness, after a six-week period. This improvement can result in better overall performance during both longer endurance rides and hard, fast efforts.
You can use this type of interval training for virtually any workout, whether it be sprints on the bike or a Tabata abs workout like this one, created by Dane Miklaus, C.S.C.S., founder of WORK Training Studio. Miklaus, however, puts his own twist on this Tabata abs workout.
For this particular workout, you’ll perform dynamic moves for 20 seconds, then a 10-second isometric hold (instead of resting completely for 10 seconds). This type of “active recovery” will build even more strength in your core in less time.
How to use this list: The workout consists of three separate Tabata ab circuits. Each circuit has three exercises. Perform each exercise according to the times listed below. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat each circuit for a total of 4 rounds before moving onto the next. Rest for one minute in between each circuit. The entire workout totals 15 minutes, though you’re only working for 12 of those 15 minutes. You don’t need any equipment. An exercise mat is optional.
Lie faceup on the floor with both arms straight overhead and both feet straight up in the air—body should form an L-shape or 90-degree angle. Lift head, neck, shoulders, and upper back off the floor to touch toes. Lower back to floor. Repeat for 20 seconds.
Lie faceup with legs extended and arms down at sides, palms facing up. Lift head, neck, shoulders, and legs off the floor by pushing lower back into the ground. Brace thighs, glutes, and core. Hold for 10 seconds.
Crunch-Hold Leg Lift
Lie faceup with legs extended and arms behind your head. Lift head, shoulders, and legs off the floor by pushing lower back into the ground. Brace thighs, glutes, and core. Keeping legs straight, slowly raise legs perpendicular to the floor then slowly lower legs back to floor. Repeat for 20 seconds.
Rest for 10 seconds after the crunch-hold leg lift, then repeat the circuit for a total of 4 rounds. Rest for one minute, then move on to Circuit 2.
High Plank Shoulder Tap
Start in high plank position, shoulders over wrists. With core and glutes engaged the entire time, lift left hand and tap right shoulder. Return to plank. Then lift right hand and tap left shoulder. Alternate shoulder taps for 20 seconds.
Lie facedown with both hands flat on the floor. Then push up into high plank position, shoulders over wrists, and legs extended so body forms a straight line from head to toes. Engage core and glutes. Hold for 10 seconds.
Cross-Body Mountain Climber
Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged so body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Engage glutes and thighs to keep legs straight. Drive right knee in toward left elbow, then quickly step it back to plank position. Immediately drive the left knee in toward right elbow, then quickly step it back into plank position. Alternate sides for 20 seconds.
Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat the circuit for a total of 4 rounds. Rest for one minute, then move on to Circuit 3.
Forearm Plank Hip Dip
Start in forearm plank position, elbows directly underneath shoulders with feet hip-width apart. Make sure back is flat and head and neck are in a neutral position. Drive elbows into the floor, and squeeze quads, glutes, and core. Dip body so that right hip touches the ground, then immediately return to plank. Repeat on left side. Alternate sides for 20 seconds.
To get into forearm plank position, ensure elbows are directly underneath shoulders with feet hip-width apart. Make sure back is flat and head and neck are in a neutral position. Drive forearms into the floor, and squeeze quads, glutes, and core. Hold for 10 seconds.
Lie on right side with left leg on top of right. Put right hand down on the ground in front of you for balance and extend left arm straight overhead. Engage core to lift head, neck, and shoulders off the mat as you draw left hand and feet toward the ceiling to meet. Lower left arm and legs slowly, ensuring pelvis does not lift up, keeping lower back protected and pressed to floor or mat. As you lower back down, keep core engaged so that left hand and feet do not touch the ground. Repeat for 20 seconds. Alternate sides every round.
Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat the circuit for a total of 4 rounds.