High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are HUGE right now and it’s not a wonder why! They allow you to work harder, are super efficient, and absolutely torch calories. Not to mention, they’re great for increasing your endurance and strength, and have numerous other health benefits.
Classic HIIT workouts are made up of typical cardio exercises. Think: running, cycling, rowing, etc. I absolutely love using cardio exercises for HIIT and still think it’s the best way to ensure you get into that 85-95% max heart zone. Cardio efficiently ramps up your heart rate. This means that if you go “all-out” during a cardio exercise, you’re almost guaranteed to hit that optimal heart rate zone.
I’m pretty skeptical of most HIIT workouts out there that only involve weight lifting or bodyweight exercises. Most of them just don’t qualify as HIIT.
So I’ve been working to create a bodyweight HIIT workout that truly meets the HIIT criteria.
Let’s quickly review the basics of HIIT:
– Short bursts of intense activity, followed by periods of rest (or light active recovery)
– Working phase lasts about 20-30 seconds
– Rest is longer than working phase, often about 2x as long
– Working phase should get your heart rate into 85-95% max, and rest should allow it to come back down out of that range
– Working phase should be “all-out,” meaning you give your max effort and are very tired by the end
– Weekly goal: achieve 30-40 minutes total with heart rate in 85-95% max range
– Perform a 30 minute HIIT workout (including warm-up/cool-down) 2x per week and you should achieve the 30-40 minute heart rate goal
So if you see a workout advertised as HIIT, but it has long periods of work, little-to-no rest, or just doesn’t have exercises that really get you working, then it’s just not HIIT.
But it IS possible to do HIIT without doing classic cardio!
What you need are challenging movements that work more than one part of your body and really wipe you out quickly.
The key: if it gets you completely out of breath, it’s working.
For this workout, I’ve selected 4 challenging bodyweight HIIT workout moves that require no equipment. These exercises can be classified as fat-loss moves because they work multiple muscles at once and raise up your heart rate quickly, challenging your body and torching calories.
It’s not an easy workout, but HIIT shouldn’t be easy! If it is easy, it’s not HIIT.
Let’s do this!
Bodyweight 30 Minute HIIT Workout
This workout begins and ends with a 5 minute easy warm-up and cool-down. You’ll have 20 minutes in the middle where you alternate back and forth between the working and rest phases. Perform the first movement for 30 seconds, then rest for 60 seconds. Then you’ll perform the second movement for 30 seconds, and rest again for 60 seconds. Keep going until you’re through all four exercises, then repeat 3x until you reach 18 minutes. Now it’s time to perform the bonus move for 60 seconds, followed by another well-earned 60 second rest. Do a 5 minute cool-down and you’re done!
For the warm-up and cool-down, do something very easy: light jogging, cycling, rowing, walking, jumping jacks, etc.
Let’s go over the four moves you’ll be performing:
Burpees involve a squat, kicking your legs back into a plank position, a push-up, back to squat position, and a jump. They’re a full-body move, which makes them challenging but effective.
To perform a star jump, slightly bend your knees, then jump up with your arms and legs out. Land softly and repeat. This move is a tougher version of a jumping jack and is sure to get your heart rate soaring.
I discovered this move while looking for core exercises, and was surprised how out of breath it got me. This move starts in a plank position, then has you jump your legs to one side with your knees bent. Jump back to plank position, then jump to the other side. Return to plank and keep alternating. This exercise is sure to challenge more than just your abs!
Jumping lunges always leave me completely winded – which is why I love them! To perform, step back one leg and lower into a lunge position. Then jump up and switch leg positions. Be sure to fully dedicate yourself to the exercise, lowering to the floor and then jumping high every single time.
Bonus exercise: mountain climbers!
Mountain climbers are an excellent cardio exercise. At the same time, they challenge your arms and core. I recommend doing the lower impact option they recommend at 22 seconds in!
Now on to the 30 minute HIIT workout!
Perform this workout twice a week on non-consecutive days to get the most out of your HIIT training!
Did you try this workout? Let me know how it went in the comments below!