The “HIIT” in HIIT workout is an acronym for “High-Intensity Interval Training.” It is an interval program that alternates a high-intensity exercise, which is done for a short amount of time with a less intense recovery period done until exhaustion.
This type of workout is not for the faint at heart. HIIT workouts should be approached with caution. If you are beginning your fitness journey, this workout may not be out of the question as it can be adjusted for any “body” type. Once you are familiar with the format, it is one of the best styles to add to your weekly routine.
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Benefits of HIIT
Adding HIIT workouts at home to your routine offers many benefits. It is the best way to boost your metabolism, lose unwanted pounds, build strength, save time, and help you notice steady progress in your fitness journey.
Adding a 10 to 20-minute bodyweight HIIT workout to your week is beneficial when at home or when traveling and you are short on time. Activities should be adaptable to your fitness level, daily needs, and current life situations to see fast results and avoid wasting time.
What to Expect While Performing a HIIT Workout
Any exercise program will elevate your heart rate, so if you have been out of the game for a bit, always consult with your doctor before undergoing any fitness program. It is also advisable to start small and build up your endurance.
If you are just starting, your rest period may be a bit longer initially, but with consistency, you will become more fit, allowing you to handle shorter rest periods and more intervals at a higher intensity. Expect to give maximal effort for the first few intervals.
Remember that this is your fitness journey, and everyone’s experience will be different. The most important thing is to meet yourself where you are and be consistent, so you can begin to notice your results.
Let’s get started.
30-Minute HIIT Workout
Here is a quick 30-minute HIIT workout you can do anytime, anywhere. Go at an appropriate pace for your fitness level so you can maintain good form throughout the routine, and always begin and end with a stretch.
I like to follow the RPE scale or Rate of Perceived Exertion to gauge my intensity. If you do not own a heart-rate monitor, this scale will allow you to identify when you need to decrease or increase the intensity. (See chart below.)
On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you feeling? 1 equals very light effort with a regular breathing pattern, and 10 means an all-out max effort where you are unable to carry a conversation. Throughout the video, I will provide tips and modifications to help you adjust your levels accordingly.
For this HIIT workout at home, there will be one circuit of five exercises with three rounds each, 35 seconds of work, and 10 seconds of rest. Allow for a 30-second to 1-minute recovery after each round.
Always begin each session with a dynamic warm-up to prep the body for more intense moves. Once you have mastered the technique for each exercise, challenge your body by adding another set and increasing your speed.
Let’s dive right in:
5-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up
Decrease muscle tension and increase your flexibility and mobility around the joints with this 5-minute dynamic warm-up.
(1 x 10 repetitions for each move)
1. Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet together and place your arms by your side. At the same time, jump the feet apart and raise your arms overhead. Jump your feet back together and bring your arms back down. Repeat until the desired reps are met.
Modification: Lose the jump and step side to side.
2. Hamstring Crossovers
Begin at the end of your mat. Cross your right leg over your left and bow or fold forward from the hip crease, reaching toward your toes. Repeat on the other side, walking to the right. Come back up and repeat five times while walking left.
3. Walking Quadriceps
Stand at the back of your mat facing forward. Bend your right knee and grab the top of your right foot, pulling your heel to your glutes. Push your hips forward so you feel the stretch in the front of the thigh. Alternate with the left foot and complete five per side.
4. Walkouts With Low Lunge Hip Stretch
Stand at the back of your mat. Inhale as you sweep your arms up overhead. Then, exhale and fold forward towards your toes. Walkout to a high plank. Take your right foot and bring it up to the outside of the right pinky toe. Keep the left hand on the ground and reach the right arm straight up the sky. Twist. Bring the right arm down and come back to plank. Switch to the left side. Come back to plank and walk the hands back to the feet. Come back up to standing and repeat.
Come down to hands and knees. Inhale, lift your gaze, and drop the belly to the mat, coming to a slightly arched back. Exhale, tuck the chin, pull the belly in, round the spine, and repeat five times.
Stay on your hands and knees. Place your right hand behind your head. Twist the body, reaching the right elbow to the left thumb. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
7. Bear Crawl to Down Dog
Stay on your hands and knees, and tuck your toes under. Hover your knees about an inch off the ground. Inhale to prepare, then exhale, and straighten your legs and lift your hips to the sky, coming to an inverted “V.” Peddle your feet, bending one knee and then the other to feel the stretch in your calves and hamstrings.
Here are the HIIT workouts you can do at home. Remember to take 30 seconds to one minute of recovery time after each round.
1. Squat With Kick
Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips with toes turned out. Keeping your core engaged and chest proud, begin to engage your glutes and sit the hips back and down as if sitting in a chair. Continue engaging the glutes and legs as you drive through the feet to stand up. Balance on the left leg as you kick the right foot out. Pretend you are knocking down a door. Squat back down and repeat for 35 seconds, then switch sides
Modification: Keep the kick low.
2. High Plank Shoulder Tap to Push-Up
Begin in a High Plank position. Keeping the core tight, and lift the right hand to the left shoulder. Place it back down and repeat on the other side. Alternate three times per side, then add three push-Ups. Repeat this sequence until 35-seconds is up.
Modification: Elevate the floor by performing the exercise on your kitchen counter or a sturdy coffee table.
3. Lateral Lunge to Single-Leg Hop
Begin by stepping the right foot to the right. Keeping the left leg straight, bend into the right knee, and sit the hips back and down. Come back up, step the right foot up, and hop on the left foot driving the right knee to the chest. Repeat for 35 seconds, then switch sides.
Modification: Lose the hop.
4. Side Plank Reach Through
Begin in Side Plank, supporting your body weight on your left elbow and lifting the lower body off the ground. Ensure your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are stacked. Take your right arm straight to the sky. Bring your right arm down and reach it underneath the body, coming into a twist. Untwist and bring it back up to the sky. Complete 35 seconds and switch sides.
Modification: Keep the bottom knee down.
5. Single Leg Knee Drive
Support your body weight on your right leg and extend your left leg to the side. Bend into the right knee and raise your arms. At the same time, bend your arms by your side and bring your left knee in towards your chest, then back out straight to the side. Continue with this motion until the 35 sec is complete, then switch sides. Move at a speed that is appropriate for your fitness level.
Just Getting Started?
It is normal to be intimidated by HIIT programs due to their intensity, but do not let that discourage you from trying it out.
If you begin slow and adjust the workout to your own fitness level, you will eventually reap the benefits. Begin by adding a few jog intervals if you are currently walking comfortably for 30 minutes at a steady pace. Walk two minutes, then jog for one alternating a few times until fatigue or for the remainder of the time.
Once you feel ready, decrease the amount of walking. If staying home is more your jam, perform a strength exercise like push-ups followed by 30 seconds of jumping jacks.
Don’t like to jump? Perform the same move. Only do a side step and lose the jump. Once you have built a baseline fitness level and are ready to take up your level, perform the workout above once per week.
If you have been working out for longer than six months and have a solid baseline, add the below workout two to three times per week. You can also adjust the intensity by increasing the time to 45 seconds to one minute instead of 35 seconds, and keep the recovery to 20 to 30 seconds after each exercise and rest time per round to 30 to 40 seconds.
HIIT workouts at home are a great addition to your weekly programing to improve your fitness level and change your body composition. Adjusting the intensity as you improve will give you the confidence to continue.
Listen to your body to understand what’s best for you, and know your limitations. The more consistent and committed you are to adding these workouts to your routine, the faster you will see results.
More Workouts You Can Do at Home
Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com