I’m sure you’ve heard of HIIT before. High-intensity interval training is its long name, and it’s supposed to kick your butt!
This type of workout consists of short bursts of intense activity followed by longer rest periods and should be completed in 10-20 minutes or less.
Its time-efficient nature isn’t the only benefit, either; HIIT has also been shown to improve cardiorespiratory function as well as increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means an increased calorie burn after the workout is over.
As a supplement to steady-state cardio and weightlifting, HIIT is the perfect once- or twice-weekly addition to your workout routine.
One thing to note: What many people call HIIT isn’t actually HIIT. During a true HIIT workout, you’re working at 80-95% of your aerobic capacity, which means you won’t be able to sustain the effort for very long — about 20 seconds max. You should be going all out during those 20 seconds, then recovering for about twice as long before going again. This is why true HIIT workouts only last for 10-20 minutes; you should be gassed by the end! Plus, due to its intense nature, HIIT is not recommended for people who are brand new to exercising.
If you’re ready for a challenge, jump into the 10-minute HIIT routine below. Make sure to warm up beforehand — 5-10 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio should do it.
Do each of these exercises for 20 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds. Complete the circuit twice.
If you have a treadmill to use, great, but otherwise, hit the pavement! We want an all-out sprint here. Some form notes: Keep your posture nice and tall with your shoulders relaxed and your arms bent at 90 degrees. Move your arms front to back, not side to side, and lift off of the balls of your feet when in motion.
2. Lateral Bound
Hop side to side on one leg here, focusing on distance rather than speed.
Start with both feet together, then take a big jump to the right, landing softly on your right foot. Without touching your left foot to the ground, use your arms to build momentum and jump back to the left, landing softly on your left foot. Repeat.
Whether off your knees or your feet, push-ups are an awesome and super-effective full-body exercise. Do as many as you can with good form. Your elbows should be at a 45-degree angle to your body, your spine should remain neutral, and you should lower your body down as close to the ground as you can before pushing back up.
4. Jump Squat
Use your power to knock out jump squats. If jumping is too hard on your body, simply come up onto your toes instead; you can still maintain a high intensity this way. To perform this move, squat down, hinging at the hips first and keeping the upper body straight while making sure your knees fall slightly out, not in. Then explode up through the balls of your feet, using your legs and booty to push you off the ground. Land softly back down into a squat position, and repeat.
5. Mountain Climber
Engage the whole body with this exercise, which combines a plank hold with a knee drive for a good dose of cardio, too. To perform mountain climbers, get into a high plank position, either on the ground or off of an elevated surface — ensure that your shoulders are down and back, your spine is neutral and your hips are square to the ground. Alternate driving each knee up as far as you can toward your chest, moving as quickly as you can while maintaining good form.
After you’ve completed this HIIT workout, cool down and stretch. Then give yourself a high five because you just kicked some booty!