8 Minute Squat & Push-Up Tabata Workout For Fat Loss

Brad Borland
Written By: Brad Borland
May 8th, 2015
Updated: March 19th, 2020
120.1K Reads
Man and women doing Tabata push up workout
You can burn fat and get ripped in just 8 minutes with this high intensity Tabata circuit that combines push-ups and squats.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Lose Fat
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration6 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout8 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Bodyweight, Dumbbells
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

Do you have 8 minutes to spare to train?

How about getting awesome results in those 8 minutes?

By now, Tabata may be a term you are familiar with. Traditionally performed within a 4 minute time span, this type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) has some rather unique characteristics.

The Research

Dr. Izumi Tabata developed this type of HIIT workout while conducting research at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. During his study he had two groups perform exercises of different protocols. Group one trained at a moderate intensity level working out 5 days per week for 6 weeks lasting 1 hour each. Group two trained at a very high intensity level for 4 days per week for 6 weeks lasting 4 minutes each.

Group two also utilized what is now known as the Tabata method: 20 seconds of high intensity with a 10 second rest between sets. 8 rounds of these high intensity and rest rotations made up the 4 minutes of training.

The results? After the 6 week study, group one increased aerobic capacity (cardiovascular improvements) but showed no anaerobic changes (muscular changes). Conversely, group 2 showed a higher increase in aerobic capacity as well as increases of the anaerobic systems.

How Tabata Can Work For You

So, how can you make Tabata work for you? How can you get more out of this remarkable training protocol so you can actually build some muscle and burn fat at the same time?

Below is an example Tabata training plan for a squat and push-up workout to burn fat and add muscle.

Be sure to perform a thorough warm-up of some light stationary bike or treadmill, push-ups, and bodyweight squats prior to performing this HIIT workout. Remember that during the high intensity portion you are giving your all with perfect form and should never break your technique.

Traditional Tabata Workout

Alternate between 20 seconds of squats with a moderate weight and 10 seconds of rest. Do 8 rounds adhering to this strict schedule for 4 minutes. Once complete, rest for 2 minutes and perform push-ups in the same manner.

Exercise Duration
Squat 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Repeat for 7 more rounds for a total of 8
Rest 2 minutes
Repeat for push-ups

Alternating Tabata Workout

For a serious challenge try alternating between squats and push-ups. So, you will perform a set of squats for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and then do a set of push-ups for 20 seconds, rest and then return to a set of squats. Alternate each movement for a total of 8 rounds (4 minutes). Once you are complete, rest for 2 to 3 minutes and then do 1 more circuit for another 4 minutes and then you are done.

Exercise Duration
Squat 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Push-Ups 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Repeat for 7 more rounds for a total of 8
Rest 2-3 minutes
Repeat entire circuit

Questions about Tabata style training? Post your questions in the comments below.

Posted on: Sun, 06/21/2020 - 03:00

Hi Brad
I have a question regarding the sets like you said 8 rounds each, but I am unable to perform complete 8 sets of pushups, so please let me know how I can manage it. Or suggest me any any alternate variation of pushups. Thanks in advance.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 09/21/2020 - 10:12

Waqas- I would adjust the pushup method you're using in order to complete the desired amount of sets. Instead of a conventional pushup, here are a couple push up variations that you might want to try:


Then, there is always the kneeling push up version for beginners. Let me know if you need anything else!

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 07:09

How many calories does this 8minute squats-pushups tabata burn?

Posted on: Thu, 05/05/2016 - 11:31

Hi Brad

can we combine squat and pushup
pushup 20 sec
10 sec break

Repeat for 7 more rounds for a total of 8


Daniel Sinugbuhan
Posted on: Sat, 03/19/2016 - 23:12

I tried this last night. I was struggling on 6th set for the alternating tabata but I managed to finish the exercise. I will incorporate this exercise with my program and maybe substitute it with some of my cardio days.

Posted on: Mon, 09/07/2015 - 07:26

hey brad can i do this workout daily for fast result ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 09/08/2015 - 09:37

That completely depends on your experience level and exactly what type of load you use - not to mention what other mode of exercise you are currently doing.

Posted on: Sat, 06/13/2015 - 03:20

Hi Brad, can i do this workout or other HIIT workout when I'm fasting , before my eating window ? Thanks :)

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:18

Hi Hamza. Well that depends. You may want a little something in the tank when doing something as intense as Tabata.

Posted on: Mon, 06/15/2015 - 19:14

I can do it without eating , I just wanna know if it's dangerous to train like this , and if it's more benefit for fat loss.
thanks a lot

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:43

No, not dangerous, but you will definitely need to be well hydrated before you start.

tiago camilo
Posted on: Thu, 06/11/2015 - 18:56

hi! i'm familiar with the tabata method. but i have question that nobody could give me 100% sure about it.
can i do a tabata 8 min train, and then after do a workout plan? does it have benefits or should i do the two separate things in diferent days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/12/2015 - 09:33

I would strength train first and then maybe throw a Tabata in as a finisher.

Posted on: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 17:34

My favorite workout method!

Tony G
Posted on: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 06:36

Brad - do you know how many calories you'd expect to burn doing this routine? How many times per week would you recommend doing this routine for fat loss?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:34

I would start with 2 or 3 to get used to the routine and then ramp up the intensity from there.

Posted on: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 03:52

Hey Brad, great content once again. I am currently doing 5x5 type of workout posted on M&S. Could I do this tabata workout after weights or is it better to it on off days? If done on the days I do weights, will it add some more volume aiding for hypertrophy as well?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:37

George, yes!
You can either do it after training or on separate days. Aiding hypertrophy depends on the amount of volume you are doing for your normal weight training sessions. I would venture to say that it will only benefit you. The body is extremely adaptive.

David Hendrickson.
Posted on: Sun, 11/13/2016 - 20:47

Hi brad. I have a question. Can you do 3 days push ups and squats and the other 3 days pull ups and squats with 1 hour of cardio before hand. Will this help me Lois eweighy ans gain muscle.

Posted on: Fri, 05/08/2015 - 20:07

Could i merge this routine to a simple routine A/B/A consists of five workouts of each made be steve ??

Posted on: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 05:39

You can work Tabata training into pretty much any workout plan. I run a traditional 4 day muscle building split and add Tabata in 2 days per week.