HIIT workouts (or high-intensity interval training) can improve your cardiovascular fitness while helping you build lean muscle and burn fat. As a personal trainer for decades, I have recommended this type of workout to SO many people and currently include it in my own workout routine because HIIT exercises work to burn fat, fast!
Research shows that shorter, high-intensity workouts can do more for your health than longer, more leisurely workouts. HIIT also helps burn more fat at a faster rate.
You can improve your heart health and significantly reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome, as well as obesity, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
These high-intensity workouts can be done in 30-minutes or less, and they’re stinkin’ fun. Build muscle, burn calories, and boost metabolism all in one workout!
Use the links to navigate our high-intensity interval training guide:
What is HIIT?
HIIT is a type of workout where you give maximum effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods.
HIIT workouts train and condition both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. This kind of exercise gets your heart rate up and improves your cardiovascular fitness level while burning more fat and calories in less time.
HIIT Exercises Plan For Beginners
If you want the ease of doing HIIT exercises at home, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ve created two 10-minute HIIT workouts for beginners that you can follow along with.
Workout Number 1: Tabata HIIT Workout For Beginners 10-Minute
This quick 10-minute HIIT workout for beginners contains two tabatas.
Workout Number 2: Tabata HIIT Workout 10-Minutes
This workout contains two Tabatas, every 8 rounds.
Cross-Behind Lunge with Lateral RaiseSquat and Dumbbell Squat
Workout Number 3: Belly Fat-Blasting HIIT Workout
Remember, the key to your results is dependent on your effort. For each exercise, you will go hard for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before going to the next move. Repeat the entire sequence again for a total of 8 intervals.
Stand with feet together and knees bent holding bent elbows next to your side.Keep feet together and jump turn so hips and toes point right.Now jump feet together and turn so hips and toes point left.Continue to switch jumping right and left keeping legs tightly together and arms and waist turning as if you are holding ski poles.
2. Medicine Ball Toe Touches
(If you don’t have a ball use a weight or nothing at all!)
Begin on your back with legs together straight up above your hips holding the medicine ball with two hands at your chest.Slightly curl chin forward, relaxing through the back of the neck.On an exhale, squeeze your abdominals to reach the ball up toward the toes to touch, then gently release back to the start position.
Starting position is in a plank position with arms and legs long.Draw in your abdominals and drive one knee into the chest then switch legs quickly. Continue with the right, left, right, and left knees “running” to the chest. Prevent bouncing up and down in your body by keeping your abs tight.
In starting position, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.Make two fists and hold arms next to the side with elbows bent.Punch the right fist in an upward motion, stopping firmly at chin level.Switch to the left fist.Continue to switch right and left until you are at a fast, rhythmic pace, always stopping at chin level as if you are punching a target.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT workouts have a number of benefits including:
Improved cardiovascular fitnessBuild lean muscle and lose fatRetain muscleCondition anaerobic and aerobic energyEasy to do anywhere, no equipment requiredBurn more calories while at restIncrease metabolism and enduranceLots of varietyQuick workout – 30 minutes or less!
HIIT workouts are different from other types of interval training because the high-intensity intervals involve your MAX effort and not just a higher heart rate. The high-intensity part of HIIT involves giving it your all for a certain amount of seconds (duration can vary).
HIIT can be for all types of fitness levels and abilities; you just may not use all your effort when you first start. Keep in mind if you’re just starting a workout routine or have been sidelined for some time due to injury or lifestyle, the key to success lies in doing the moves with modifications at your own pace.
HIIT should be intense, but pushing too hard too quickly can result in injuries and other setbacks.
If you are new to HIIT, just try one workout per week. If you are accustomed to working out, you can do HIIT three to five times max per week.
HIIT workouts burn about ten calories per minute! (But wear a heart rate monitor for exact feedback.) Since HIIT workouts rev up your metabolism, you will continue to torch those calories long after you have finished your HIIT workout!
Related: 12-Minute HIIT Workout For Bad Knees
Safety Tips For HIIT Workouts
With the increased intensity, you can cause more wear and tear on your body, so make sure you follow these HIIT safety tips:
Always warm-up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after your HIIT workouts.Take time to recover from your HIIT workouts. Take at least one to two days off per week from HIIT workouts.Don’t push yourself if you are already sore.Start slowly and build your endurance and ability.Choose to do the modifications of movements that are too challenging for you.If you ever experience chest pain or difficulty breathing during your HIIT workouts, start to cool down.Don’t stop completely because your blood can pool in your extremities and cause lightheadedness, just stop the intensity and cool down slowly
My suggestion? Listen to your body, use modifications where necessary, choose good form over speed and ease into how many HIIT workouts you do a week.