Save 30% on Exercise and Functional Training for Older Adults Certificate Program. Earn up to 10 CECs. Use code ADULT30.   SAVE 30% Now »

Sample Class: Deep-Water Tabata

by Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS on May 28, 2014

Class Take-Out

Take high intensity to the pool.

Tabata training is a popular high-intensity interval training format consisting of 20 seconds of all-out, intense work followed by 10 seconds of passive recovery, totaling 4 minutes of very strenuous exercise. HIIT protocols such as Tabata are effective and promising for time-crunched exercisers whose goals are weight loss and performance enhancement. Deep-water exercise is a great nonimpact fitness experience that includes full-body movements. Combine the two and you have a powerful HIIT workout that features all the intensity without the impact and joint stress.

Deep-Water Tabata Details

Goal/Emphasis: to be inspired by Tabata training and apply it in a deep-water environment
Total Time: 30 minutes
Equipment Needed: water fitness belts
Music: Use a pre formatted Tabata playlist or a stopwatch or lap timer.
Additional Notes: Include the warm-up to raise body temperature and rehearse the movements. Keep the exercises simple, as cuing time is limited. You may increase intensity with speed; however, stability is important, so make sure participants know how to execute the moves. Also, ensure attendees are swimmers, as the deep-water belt is not a life-saving device.

Warm-Up (4 minutes)

The exercise selection for this workout includes simple athletic movements. Participants should move more slowly in the warm-up—to help prepare the body, but also to get used to the interval timing. Additional notes:

  • There is more variety in the warm-up than in the work phase, where rounds are repeated within each Tabata in order to reduce confusion without diluting intensity.
  • It is important to include modifications and to select exercises from all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse).
  • Participants must be properly warmed up before you increase intensity and range of motion.
  • The water lends itself to quick recovery and offers a fast cooling effect, so the 10-second recovery period should be active instead of passive. To recover, therefore, regress the 20-second burst or do an exercise that occurs in the same or a complementary plane of motion.

Use Tabata timing to perform the following:

Rounds 1 and 2

  • 20 seconds: running in place
  • 10 seconds: jogging

Rounds 3 and 4

  • 20 seconds: front kicks
  • 10 seconds: cross-country skiing

Rounds 5 and 6

  • 20 seconds: jumping jacks
  • 10 seconds: alternating side kicks

Rounds 7 and 8

  • 20 seconds: twists
  • 10 seconds: jogging in place with alternating front punches

Work Phase (20 minutes)

Use the same timing as above, with similar exercises. Select movements that are easily reproducible, are simple to perform, involve the whole body and create an immediate feeling of intensity. “Travel” movements to increase intensity. Do the 4-minute sequences five times for a 20-minute workout. Take no more than 10 seconds to rest between rounds.

Tabata 1

Rounds 1 and 2

  • 20 seconds: running
  • 10 seconds: jogging (add traveling)

Rounds 3 and 4

  • 20 seconds: single-leg front kicks, right (R) leg only
  • 10 seconds: alternating short-lever front kicks (from knee joint)

Rounds 5 and 6

  • 20 seconds: running
  • 10 seconds: jogging (add traveling)

Rounds 7 and 8

  • 20 seconds: front-leg kicks, left (L) leg only
  • 10 seconds: alternating short-lever front kicks (from knee joint)

Tabata 2

Rounds 1 and 2

  • 20 seconds: cross-country skiing (traveling)
  • 10 seconds: jumping jacks in place

Rounds 3 and 4

  • 20 seconds: star jacks
  • 10 seconds: jogging with travel

Rounds 5 and 6

  • 20 seconds: cross-country skiing (traveling)
  • 10 seconds: jumping jacks in place

Rounds 7 and 8

  • 20 seconds: star jacks
  • 10 seconds: jogging with travel

Tabata 3

Rounds 1 and 2

  • 20 seconds: side-to-side shoot-throughs
  • 10 seconds: running in place

Rounds 3 and 4

  • 20 seconds: vertical flutter kicks
  • 10 seconds: cross-country skiing

Rounds 5 and 6

  • 20 seconds: side-to-side shoot-throughs
  • 10 seconds: running in place

Rounds 7 and 8

  • 20 seconds: vertical flutter kicks
  • 10 seconds: cross-country skiing

Tabata 4

Rounds 1 and 2

  • 20 seconds: twists with R foot touching inside of L knee
  • 10 seconds: running in place

Rounds 3 and 4

  • 20 seconds: combination jumping jacks with cross-country skiing
  • 10 seconds: running with travel

Rounds 5 and 6

  • 20 seconds: twists with L foot touching inside of R knee
  • 10 seconds: running in place

Rounds 7 and 8

  • 20 seconds: combination jumping jacks with cross-country skiing
  • 10 seconds: running with travel

Tabata 5

Rounds 1 and 2

  • 20 seconds: front-to-back shoot-throughs
  • 10 seconds: alternating back kicks

Rounds 3 and 4

  • 20 seconds: knees to chest
  • 10 seconds: opposite elbow to knee

Rounds 5 and 6

  • 20 seconds: front-to-back shoot-throughs
  • 10 seconds: alternating back kicks

Rounds 7 and 8

  • 20 seconds: knees to chest
  • 10 seconds: opposite elbow to knee

Stretch/Cool-Down (4 minutes)

Slow down the pace and give participants time to regroup. Have them use the side of the pool to stabilize their bodies, and cue them to hold each of the following stretches 10–15 seconds:

  • Bow stretch: Reach down with R hand and hold top of R foot. Flex knee, and stretch quadriceps and hip flexor. Repeat L.
  • Figure four: Cross one leg over top of thigh and sit into stretch. Switch sides.

Also include stretches for upper body: biceps, triceps, pectorals, deltoids, etc.

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 11, Issue 6

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2014 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS

Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS IDEA Author/Presenter

Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS, C.S.C.S. is an international fitness educator, twice published author (Human Kinetics) and 30-year fitness industry veteran. Irene is faculty at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and SCW Fitness. She is the Education Director for Octane Fitness, an Orangetheory Fitness coach and a RYKA Fitness Ambassador. Irene contributes to several fitness and consumer publications, is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for ACE and NASM, an IDEA Fitness Expert, and contributing author to the newest release of the AFAA Group Fitness Instructor Manual. Irene holds positions on the advisory board for Diabetic Living magazine and the Egg Nutrition Council. Irene has starred in dozens of DVD's, has written 13 fitness instructional manuals (pre-natal, water fitness, small group training, kids fitness, HIIT program design, strength training, group exercise, etc.) and is a master trainer for TRX, Savvier Fitness, Power Systems, SCW Fitness Education, JumpSport and KnotOut. Her primary certifications include NSCA, ACE, ACSM, AEA, AFAA and YogaFit.