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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

10 Best HIIT Workout Exercises to Burn Calories Fast

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10 Best HIIT Workout Exercises to Burn Calories Fast

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has been all the craze as of late. You might have heard your co-worker talking about doing HIIT with their trainer and saying how it has changed their life. While many people have a vague notion about what HIIT entails, many don’t know what the best HIIT workout would look like.

HIIT is a form of cardio training, where bouts are done in intervals, with high intensity during active work periods and either active recovery or a stationary recovery during rest periods. When performing a HIIT interval, we would usually be aiming to achieve a max heart rate of 80% — (220-your age) x 0.8.

The work to rest ratio for a HIIT interval should be about 1:2 or 1:3. In a 1:2 work to rest ratio, we would be doing our high intensity portion for 30 seconds and have a complete minute (60 seconds) of rest.

What Are the Best HIIT Workout Exercises?

Now that we know what HIIT is and how to program it, you may be thinking about trying to create your own HIIT workout plan. High intensity interval training workouts aren’t difficult to set up. You just have to know what your fitness goals are.

First, we have to see what we are looking to get out of it, how long have we been training, and what we have been doing.

For someone who has been training as a runner for a good amount of time might consider sprints as part of their high intensity workouts.

For a novice trainee, a good option might be to do something low impact, as they wont have the ligament and tendon strength to tolerate a lot of the impact that running/sprinting has.

If you want to learn more types of cardio exercises, then grab the free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

This being said, a personal favorite exercise for HIIT for those just starting looking to get their conditioning up is mountain climbers. Being a relatively low impact exercise, it also engages the whole body and fires up that core due to its plank positioning. The exercise is also a relatively safe exercise, especially when done on a mat.

There are many other great HIIT exercises you can incorporate to create the best HIIT workout, and we’ll go over some of those below.

How Often Should I Do HIIT?

Once you have decided what type of HIIT exercises to do, you have to come to a decision as to how many times to incorporate HIIT into your training week. This may vary heavily based on your training experience and current conditioning.

For an intermediate trainee, this may be up to as many as four times a week in conjunction with a proper strength training regimen. When looking at a novice trainee, this may be about 1-2 times per week.

Although these are just general suggestions, some things that you should take into account is your overall fitness goal. Is it just increasing your conditioning, or are you looking to burn a hefty amount of calories to help put you into a larger calorie deficit?

Obviously, if you’re looking to burn more calories, frequency will be very important as you search for the best HIIT workout for you. What that number may be will vary depending on what your recovery ability is from workout to workout. Your HIIT workouts and other training sessions should be separated by some recovery time to avoid pushing your body too far.

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Why Is HIIT Good for Losing Weight?

HIIT is good for losing weight due to its time efficiency. When performing these high intensity intervals, it causes your heart rate and rate of breathing (respiration rate) to increase dramatically.

This is good for you because it causes your body to burn a lot more calories minute for minute when compared to standard resistance training/strength training. Especially when you are cut for time and trying to make the most of that hour that you are able to set aside, this will be your secret weapon for increasing your energy expenditure and really helping you in shedding off those last extra pounds and bringing you to your end goal.

To get you started, here are some of the best HIIT workouts that you can try.

10 Best HIIT Workout Combinations to Burn Calories Fast

Combo 1

  • High Knees (20 seconds work – 40 seconds rest) x 5 sets

Pin on Running
              • Plank Jacks (20 seconds work – 40 seconds rest) x 5 sets

              How to Do a Plank Jack | POPSUGAR Fitness
                  • Burpees (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest) x 4 sets

                  Top 30 Burpees GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

                            Combo 2

                            • Side Plank Walks (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                            20 Arm Exercises Without Weights You Can Do at Home | Hiit workout, Bodyweight workout, Arm workouts without weights
                                    • Jumping Lunges (20 seconds work – 40 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                    How to Do the Jump Lunge: Techniques, Benefits, Variations
                                        • Mountain Climbers (20 seconds work – 40 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                        How to Do Mountain Climbers | POPSUGAR Fitness

                                                  Combo 3

                                                  • Jump Squats (20 seconds work – 40 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                                  How to Do the Jump Squat - Best Jump Squat Workout and Variations
                                                      • Plank Jacks (20 seconds work – 40 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                                      How to Do a Plank Jack | POPSUGAR Fitness
                                                          • High Knees (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                                          Pin on Running

                                                                      Combo 4

                                                                      • Side Lunges (30 seconds work- 60 seconds rest)x 5 sets

                                                                      How to Do Arm Cross Side Lunge Exercise Gif - Flab Fix
                                                                        • Saw Plank (30 seconds work- 60 seconds rest) x 5 sets

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                                                                        Crunch - Bodysaw on Make a GIF
                                                                              • Butt Kicks (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                                                              22 Essential Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do No Matter Where You Are | Page 3 | 12 Tomatoes

                                                                                    Combo 5

                                                                                    • Side Plank Walks (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                                                                    20 Arm Exercises Without Weights You Can Do at Home | Hiit workout, Bodyweight workout, Arm workouts without weights
                                                                                            • Burpees (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest) x 5 sets

                                                                                            Top 30 Burpees GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
                                                                                                      • High Knees (30 seconds work – 60 seconds rest)

                                                                                                      Pin on Running

                                                                                                                  Combo 6

                                                                                                                  4 sets of:

                                                                                                                  • Jumping Jacks – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                  Jumping Jacks Gif - IceGif
                                                                                                                          • Mountain Climbers – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                          How to Do Mountain Climbers | POPSUGAR Fitness
                                                                                                                                    • 60 Seconds rest

                                                                                                                                    Plus 4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                    • Side Plank Walks – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                    20 Arm Exercises Without Weights You Can Do at Home | Hiit workout, Bodyweight workout, Arm workouts without weights
                                                                                                                                            • Saw Plank – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                            Crunch - Bodysaw on Make a GIF
                                                                                                                                                  • Burpees – 20 Seconds work

                                                                                                                                                  Top 30 Burpees GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
                                                                                                                                                            • 90 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                            Combo 7

                                                                                                                                                            4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                            • Dumbbell Squats – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                            Pin on Workout
                                                                                                                                                              • Side Squats – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                              Advertising

                                                                                                                                                              Top 30 Lateral Squats GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
                                                                                                                                                                • 60 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                Plus 4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                • High Knees – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                Pin on Running
                                                                                                                                                                            • Butt Kicks – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                            22 Essential Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do No Matter Where You Are | Page 3 | 12 Tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Burpees – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                  Top 30 Burpees GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
                                                                                                                                                                                            • 90 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                                            Combo 8

                                                                                                                                                                                            4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jumping Lunges – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                            How to Do the Jump Lunge: Techniques, Benefits, Variations
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mountain Climbers – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                How to Do Mountain Climbers | POPSUGAR Fitness
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • 60 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Plus 4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jumping Jacks Gif - IceGif
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Side Squats – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Top 30 Lateral Squats GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • High knees – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pin on Running
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • 90 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Combo 9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jump Squats – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How to Do the Jump Squat - Best Jump Squat Workout and Variations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jumping Jacks – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Advertising

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jumping Jacks Gif - IceGif
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • 60 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Plus 4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mountain Climbers – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How to Do Mountain Climbers | POPSUGAR Fitness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Side Plank Walks – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      20 Arm Exercises Without Weights You Can Do at Home | Hiit workout, Bodyweight workout, Arm workouts without weights
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Saw Plank – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crunch - Bodysaw on Make a GIF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • 90 seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Combo 10

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jumping Jacks Gif - IceGif
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • High Knees –  20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pin on Running
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Butt Kicks – 20 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        22 Essential Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do No Matter Where You Are | Page 3 | 12 Tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • 60 Seconds rest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Plus 4 sets of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Burpees – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Top 30 Burpees GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mountain climbers – 30 seconds work

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How to Do Mountain Climbers | POPSUGAR Fitness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • 90 seconds rest 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bottom Line

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  High intensity interval training can be a tough form of exercise to get into. It demands a lot from your body, and you’ll have to take the time to build up your muscles and stamina. However, if you’re looking to start with weight loss or build up certain muscle groups, these intense cardio workouts are perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The above exercises can be combined to create the best HIIT workout to get you started on your HIIT journey, so try one today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  More on How to Burn Calories

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sergio Pedemonte

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Last Updated on October 4, 2021

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No equipment? No problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Quadruped Rocks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Frog Stretch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hip Prying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Scapula Push-ups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hindu push-ups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Yoga

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Calisthenics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Aerobic Exercise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chipper 60

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sleep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stimulants

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reference

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  [1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  [2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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