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Kickboxing Workout Using Tabata Style Method of Exercising

Sean loves training and watching HGTV, HBO, or reading fitness and health journals and articles.

Quick Overview of Tabata

Tabata is a style of training where an individual trains at a high-intensity level. The goal is to go as hard or as fast as possible for 20 seconds. When 20 seconds is up, you rest and recover for 10 seconds before beginning another set. Traditionally you will complete 8 sets of the same exercise before moving to another exercise. However, this is not always the case. The workout can be as long or short as you like but 30 minutes is usually the goal. When you do the math the 8 sets of a 20 second workout with 10 seconds of rest after each set equals 240 seconds (or 4 minutes). Complete 6 or 7 sets depending on the length of your warm-up and you got your 30 minute Tabata outline.

Let's learn the Tabata style!

Let's learn the Tabata style!

Add the Kickboxing

The above method of working out is great and all but how can kickboxing work into this style of training protocol? Well, it’s all about picking the right 6 or 7 exercises that work well to give yourself a full-body workout while ensuring your heart and lungs achieve a workout as well. Below is a workout outline that I have personally worked out with. I have chosen 6 workouts and be sure you are doing a warm-up at the beginning and cool down at the end.

Workouts Routine 1,2, and 3

Workout 1 – Jabs, and cross. Begin with a simple routine to get blood moving and heart rate up if you did not do so in the warm-up. Start by just throwing your jab (which is your lead arm) as hard and fast as you can. Perform one set then rest for the 10 seconds. Then perform another set and again rest 10 seconds. Now begin to throw your back arm as hard and fast as possible for 2 sets. Now that is only 4 out of 8 sets as mentioned above. For the last four sets, you’re going to throw both the jab and then the cross alternating between the two between each set. Go as hard and fast as possible for the four sets for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest. When you’re done, breathe for 1 minute and rest if needed.

Workouts 2 & 3 – Single leg roundhouse kick or Muay Thai kick. Just using one leg begin to kick a pad or shield repeatedly as hard and fast as you can, Begin first with 1 leg for 8 straight rounds then switch and use your other leg for the next 8 rounds. Remember it’s only 20 seconds you can do it. Also, be sure to breathe and relax in-between each set for your 10 seconds. Remember the trick with kicks is to make sure your technique is flawless. If you have to compromise form for speed or technique for power then it is not worth it and you need to fix it.

Why Workout Using Kickboxing with Tabata-Style Protocol?

  • Get the best from both styles
  • Burn more calories than normal
  • Quick to the point workout
  • Full body workout
  • Improves Cardiovascular system
  • Feel better and healthier with training

Workouts 4, 5, and 6

Workout 4 - Similar to workout one, except before you were only using one arm at a time. Now, you’re going to throw both arms. This is done by alternating between jab and cross. For example, jab, cross, jab, cross, jab, cross, etc. Here you perform 8 sets as fast as possible. Power does not matter we are building speed, endurance, and digging down to finish it. If you are more experienced with boxing or kickboxing and the thought of doing more jabs and crosses doesn't appeal to you, then you can perform hooks or uppercuts instead.

Workout 5 - So: we did arms, legs, and then arms again. It's time to do one more where the legs are the main target. There are many options here. I like to pick the simple straight leg kick or snap kick as it is easily performed and works out a lot of gluteal muscles. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart or in your boxing stance. Start with your rear leg and lift it up and bring it forward as if kicking a football or you can think of it as kicking someone in the groin. Ensure your toes are not pointing up and you don’t make contact with anything using your toes. Go as strong as you can with one leg for 4 sets of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. When done move to the other leg. Switch stances when switching kicking legs as well.

Workout 6 – The last Tabata Style Kickboxing workout of the day focuses on your core. Start by going into a plank position and holding it for 20 seconds. Easy, right? Perform this for two of the 8 sets. Now on sets 4, 5, and 6 perform a plank with an added up and down. Some people call them "plank up downs." See video for more information). Once you have completed the plank up and downs get ready to finish your last two sets with a simple plank and remember to keep breathing. Enjoy the workout!

Quick Summary Of Workouts 1 to 6

2 to 3 minute warmup, then 24 minutes of total workout time and then followed with a cool down.

Workout #ExerciseSets


Jab then cross

4 sets each arm

2 & 3

Roundhouse kicks

8 sets each leg


Jab & cross alternating

8 sets with both arms


Snap kick / straight kick

4 sets each leg


Up, Up, Down, Down Planks

2 sets normal plank then rest with up and down movement

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Sean Evans