The Ultimate List of HIIT Workouts – Transform Your Body

HIIT, Workout Classes

This is finally the year for your New Year’s Resolution to lose some weight, tone up those muscles, and start transforming your body into the best version of yourself to come to fruition; but a few minutes on the treadmill or a leisurely bike ride just isn’t going to cut it.

If you’re serious about achieving your fitness goals, you need to up the intensity and start working smarter, not just harder. Enter High-Intensity Interval Training, more commonly known as HIIT.

HIIT workouts are all about brief, intense bursts of exercise followed by short rest periods. This method is proven effective for burning fat, building muscle, and improving cardiovascular fitness—all in less time than your traditional workouts.

It can be done anywhere, with little to no equipment, and each session can be as short as 20-30 minutes. Ready to dive in? We’ve made a list of HIIT exercises for beginners and experienced athletes. Let’s go!

 

HIIT Workouts Can Be Overwhelming

If you’ve ever tried out a partner WOD at Crossfit or participated in a Tabata class, you’ve likely had a taste of HIIT. But for beginners, the sheer intensity can be intimidating.

It doesn’t have to be.

Remember, HIIT is scalable. This means exercises and work-rest intervals can be adjusted to suit your current fitness level. Start with what you can handle and gradually increase the intensity as your stamina and strength improve.

It’s not straight from the couch to the Airdyne bike (unless you want it to be).

 

The Ultimate List of HIIT Workouts to Make Your Life Easier (or Harder!)

Transforming your life with HIIT is about finding the right balance between challenge and sustainability. You don’t want to get hurt or burn out that motivation after just a few sessions.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, this HIIT workout exercise list has something that will push your limits and keep you coming back for more.

 

1. Burpees

Start in a standing position. Drop into a squat with your hands on the ground, then kick your feet back into a plank position. Immediately pull your feet back into the squat position and explosively jump up, extending your arms overhead.

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HIIT Example

Burpees for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for four minutes.

 

2. Squats

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and hips, sitting back as if in a chair while keeping your chest up. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position.

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HIIT Example

Squats for 30 seconds, rest for 20 seconds. Do five sets.

 

3. Lunges

Stand with feet together, take a step forward with one foot, and lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position and switch legs.

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HIIT Example

Lunges for 30 seconds, rest for 20 seconds. Do five sets.

 

4. Rowing

Sit on the rower with knees bent. Grab the handle, keep the back straight, push through the legs, and pull the handle to your chest, then return to the starting position.

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HIIT Example

Row at a high intensity for one minute, then rest for one minute. Continue for 15-20 minutes.

 

5. Mountain Climbers

Begin in a plank position. Drive one knee forward under your chest while the other leg stays extended. Quickly switch legs, keeping the pace fast.

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HIIT Example

Mountain climbers for 45 seconds at full intensity, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat for 5-8 rounds.

 

6. Deadlifts

Stand with feet hip-width apart and a barbell in front of you. Squat down, grab the bar with an overhand grip, and stand up by driving through your heels and straightening your hips and knees.

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HIIT Example

Do 30 seconds of deadlifts, rest for 30 seconds. Aim for 5-6 sets.

 

7. Treadmill Sprints

Set the treadmill to a challenging speed. From the side platforms, carefully hop onto the treadmill and sprint for the set duration.

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HIIT Example

Sprint for 30 seconds, then rest by walking or standing for 90 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times.

 

8. Assault Bike

Adjust the seat so your knees are slightly bent at the bottom of the pedaling rotation. Grip the handles firmly and pedal with your legs while pushing and pulling with your arms.

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HIIT Example

Go all-out for 20 seconds, then cycle lightly for 40 seconds. Do this for 15 minutes.

 

9. Clean and Press

Start with a barbell on the floor. Squat down, grip the bar, and explosively pull it up to your shoulders, then push overhead in one smooth motion.

<<Shop for Barbell Weight Sets on Amazon>>

 

HIIT Example

Perform as many reps as possible in 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat for five sets.

 

10. Kettlebell Swings

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both hands. Hinge at your hips to swing the kettlebell between your legs, then thrust your hips forward to propel the kettlebell up to shoulder height.

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HIIT Example

Swing for 30 seconds on, and 30 seconds off, for a total of 10 minutes.

 

How to Incorporate High-Intensity Interval Training into Your Current Routine

Adding HIIT to your fitness routine doesn’t mean you need to overhaul everything. You can seamlessly integrate HIIT into your current regimen to add variety and boost your results.

Here’s how:

 

1. Start Small

If you’re new to it, begin by adding short HIIT bursts into your regular workouts once or twice a week. For example, if you’re a runner, add a few one-minute high-intensity intervals into your usual jog.

 

2. Substitute Steady-State Cardio

Replace one or two of your steady-state cardio days (like long-distance running or cycling) with a HIIT session. This will not only save you time but can also increase your aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

 

3. Add it to Your Strength Training

You don’t have to do HIIT separately—combine it with your weightlifting routine. After completing a set, add a minute of something from our high-intensity exercise list, like burpees or high knees, to keep your heart rate up.

 

4. Make Use of Rest Days

Use active rest days to include low-impact HIIT like swimming or biking intervals. It can help you recover actively without putting too much strain on your muscles.

 

5. Turn Rests Into Work

For in-between sets of your strength exercises, instead of resting passively, perform something from our bodyweight HIIT exercises list for 30 seconds. This can drastically increase the calorie burn and reduce total workout time.

 

6. Listen to Your Body

As you incorporate more HIIT into your routine, it’s crucial to listen to your body and adjust as needed. If you feel overly fatigued or notice any signs of overtraining, give yourself permission to take extra rest.

 

HIIT Workouts and Weightlifting

Integrating HIIT with weightlifting can dramatically enhance strength gains and cardiovascular improvement. Begin with a thorough warm-up to prime your muscles, and then select a weightlifting exercise with something complementary from our HIIT moves list.

For instance, after performing a set of bench presses, quickly transition into 20 seconds of mountain climbers or burpees. This spike in heart rate turns your lifting session into an interval workout, effectively merging the benefits of both training styles.

 

HIIT Workouts and Cardio

Combining HIIT workouts with traditional cardio mixes steady endurance with explosive bursts of activity. You can start by interspersing short, sharp intervals of sprints into a moderate jogging session.

Or, follow up a low-intensity bike ride with something high-energy from our HIIT cardio exercises list, like mountain climbers. This hybrid training can lead to greater calorie burn, improved aerobic capacity, and staved off workout monotony, keeping both mind and body fully engaged.

 

Sample Beginner Weekly list of HIIT Workouts

 

Day 1: Full Body HIIT

Warm-up (5 minutes):

Jumping jacks: 1 minute

Bodyweight squats: 1 minute

Arm circles: 1 minute

High knees: 1 minute

Rest: 1 minute

 

HIIT Circuit (Repeat 3 times):

Burpees: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Push-ups: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Mountain climbers: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

 

Cool Down (5 minutes):

Stretching exercises for major muscle groups (hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, shoulders, and back).

 

Day 2: Cardio Intervals

Warm-up (5 minutes):

Jump rope or jumping jacks: 2 minutes

Butt kicks: 1 minute

High knees: 1 minute

Rest: 1 minute

 

HIIT Intervals (Repeat 4 times):

Sprint or fast jogging: 45 seconds

Rest or slow jog: 15 seconds

 

Cool Down (5 minutes):

Brisk walking: 2 minutes

Static stretching for legs and hips: 3 minutes

 

Day 3: Active Recovery or Rest Day

Engage in light activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga to promote recovery.

 

Day 4: Lower Body Focus

Warm-up (5 minutes):

Jumping jacks: 1 minute

Bodyweight squats: 1 minute

Lunges: 1 minute

Rest: 1 minute

 

HIIT Circuit (Repeat 3 times):

Jump squats: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Reverse lunges: 30 seconds (alternating legs)

Rest: 15 seconds

Wall sit: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

 

Cool Down (5 minutes):

Stretching exercises for lower body muscles.

 

Day 5: Upper Body Focus

Warm-up (5 minutes):

Arm circles: 1 minute

Arm swings: 1 minute

Push-ups: 1 minute

Rest: 1 minute

 

HIIT Circuit (Repeat 3 times):

Push-ups: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Plank: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Dumbbell or bodyweight rows: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

 

Cool Down (5 minutes):

Stretching exercises for upper body muscles.

 

Day 6: Cardio and Core

Warm-up (5 minutes):

Jump rope or jumping jacks: 2 minutes

Plank: 1 minute

High knees: 1 minute

Rest: 1 minute

 

HIIT Intervals (Repeat 4 times):

Burpees: 45 seconds

Rest or plank: 15 seconds

 

Core Circuit (Repeat 3 times):

Bicycle crunches: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Russian twists: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Plank: 30 seconds

 

Day 7: Rest or Active Recovery

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