Tabata With Your Toddler

Tabata with Your Toddler

Time is of the essence when you are a mom of a tiny, toddling on-the-go human that doesn’t quite yet understand the simple bliss of just sitting still for one moment. Getting in a workout, let alone getting dressed for the day, almost seems like an impossible task on the daily to do underneath the loads of laundry and mounds of dirty dishes. Discovering new and exciting ways to interact and play with your child, while accomplishing some of those daily to do’s are a great way to not only cross off the tasks on your list faster, but also help your child grow and develop into a fabulous, well-adjusted, and in this case, a very fit little one. A beginner’s tabata style workout with your toddler is the perfect way to leave you both glistening in sweat and full of giggles.


Ready to Get Fit 2015? Throughout the next few months we’ll be posting regularly about fitness and nutrition. All of us here at Daily Mom will be right alongside you, taking steps to be healthier and offering each other encouragement. Be sure you keep up with our initiative for some great tips, recipes, ideas, activewear fashion, family fun activities, and inspiration on getting fit and being healthy. And remember–this is Daily Mom so we understand the responsibilities that come with having children and families as top priorities. We are here to help each other incorporate fitness and healthy choices into our everyday life.

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What is Tabata?

Tabata style workouts are all the rage in the fitness world right now, as they offer fast fitness routines and even faster results — increasing your aerobic capacity, anaerobic (muscle) capacity, and metabolic rate. This form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) torches calories, and builds muscle and endurance all in one. The typical tabata routine — of course, one done without the help of a toddler — consists of twenty seconds of HARD exercise with ten seconds of REST for a four minute period. The four minute period can then be repeated three to four times with various exercises to get a more intense workout, usually lasting sixteen to twenty minutes. Exercises can vary from cardio such as jumping jacks or burpees to strength training such as push ups or squats.  Whatever exercises you choose, the goal is to get your body moving and your heart rate up quickly for short bursts of time.

Tabata is a must for moms on-the-go, much thanks to the swift movements of little legs that never seem to tire. No need for a gym, no need for weights, and no need to spend long periods of time on a treadmill. While the work out routine’s best results are obtained through INTENSE bursts of movement for those twenty second intervals, simply getting your body moving is the best way to start. Easily adaptable, busy moms can design their own tabata workouts based on their own abilities, fitness goals, and time constraints for that day. Only have four minutes? No problem, simply do one tabata round, full force! Something is better than nothing, right? You can also adjust it to fit the needs of your child if he or she will be joining you — who doesn’t want to play a little game of leap frog (squat jumps) and get a nice leg and butt work out at the same time?

Use the tabata routine provided here for a full 16 minute workout with your little one. The moves provided have been done with a toddler’s abilities (and interests!) in mind, but of course, modify the moves depending on you and your child’s age and abilities, if needed.

 Tabata with your Toddler

Round 1

High Knees 20 sec

Rest 10 sec

Scissor Kicks 20 sec

Rest 10 sec

Round 2

Bear Crawl 20 sec

Rest 10 sec

Sit Up Ball Pass 20 sec

Rest 10 sec

Round 3

Mountain Climber 20 Sec

Rest 10 Sec

Side to Side Lunge 20 Sec

Rest 10 Sec

Round 4

Jumping Jacks 20 sec

Rest 10 sec

Plank 20 sec

Rest 10 sec

Repeat each round for 4 minutes.


Tips for completing the workout with your toddler:

  • Use a timer that dings/chimes and set it for each interval. Let your child know you are racing against the clock and have fun with it.
  • Be creative. During bear crawl, make it a race around the house, or allow your child to bear crawl through your legs.
  • Use toys as props. Grab a ball and have the child hold it up over his head and bring it down to his toes, alternating toes for side to side lunge.
  • Be vocal. Encourage their participation, whatever form it may be.
  • Be interactive. During scissor kicks, allow your toddler to sit gently on your core, face to face with you, while you lift your legs. Your child will love the face to face interaction and your abs will love the little bit of added work.
  • Add music. Turn up the music during your work out and if your child isn’t into the tabata moves, most likely he or she will be into the dance party.
Interested in more work out plans that can be done with your little ones? Be sure to check out The Mom Workout.

Check out our official Get Fit 2015 page for all the initiative posts in one place.

Photo credits: Stephanie High

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Stephanie is a military wife, currently residing in New York, and mama of two exceptionally curious kiddos - a rugged pint-size princess and a toddling Evel Knievel-in-training - and one sweet, easy going baby boy. When she isn't exploring the family's newest dwellings, running trails, farmers' markets, and playgrounds, she spends her down time working from home, feverishly correcting "textspeak" in her college students' essays as an adjunct English instructor for a local community college. Her passion for writing and photography can be found at Stephanie High Photography on facebook

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