Long workouts are for the birds. If you don’t have to spend two hours in the gym, why would you? A few HIIT workouts are a great way to change things up if you feel stuck in a training rut. No matter what your gym goal is, HIIT can be molded to suit your needs. You can expect an explosive heart rate and a character-testing challenge.
When planning your HIIT workouts, starting with a specific goal and then creating the rest of the workout around that goal is helpful. This means you can choose your favorite exercises to create a HIIT workout, depending on your goal, whether to be stronger, have a better body, or be in better condition.
What Are HIIT Workouts?
HIIT workouts are short, intense workouts with brief rest periods in between. The goal is to increase your heart rate significantly, similar to what you would during a sprint interval, and then take a set amount of time to rest between each effort.
More immediate energy systems, such as the phosphagen and glycolytic systems, should be accommodated strictly by rest periods. This will enable you to repeatedly work at a high level without becoming too winded too quickly. This means that your workouts will only last for a maximum of 20 minutes.
There are many different types of HIIT workouts that you can do by adjusting the intensity, duration of the hard interval, duration of the rest interval, and number of intervals.
The intensity of the workout should be about 90% of your maximum effort, just below an all-out sprint. When running for long intervals, you shouldn’t be running at your maximum effort. You should be running at about 80% of your maximum effort.
Hard intervals should last anywhere from 30 to 4 minutes; however, most HIIT workouts have shorter intervals of around 30 to 60 seconds.
You should rest for 30 seconds to 4 minutes in between your hard intervals or for a duration similar to your interval duration. Intervals in which you exercise lower intensity are also called “active recovery” intervals.
If you want to lose weight using HIIT, doing 4 to 6 intervals is the most effective. You can burn a lot of calories without tiring yourself out.
HIIT workouts typically involve a brief warm-up, followed by four hard intervals of 30 seconds each, with 1-minute rest between each interval.
Best HIIT Workout For Strength
What aspects of training have the most significant impact on force production? At the top of the force production spectrum is strength and power. Power exercises, which help improve the rate of force production, can be easily implemented into a HIIT workout.
An effective HIIT workout should resemble a sprint, with a high level of intensity followed by a short break. To get stronger, you should do different types of squats. The following exercises are progressively more explosive and will help keep your heart rate high while challenging your speed of force production.
Do this circuit 5 times, taking a 2-3 minute break between each round.
- Goblet Squat: 1×6
- Front-Rack Kettlebell Thruster: 1×8
- Jump Squat: 1×5
Note: Choose your loads according to your repetition count. Start with a heavy goblet squat, do a moderate kettlebell thruster, and finish with a bodyweight jump squat.
Best HIIT Workout For Muscle Growth
To grow muscles, you need to do a lot more reps with less rest in between than you would if you were trying to build strength or power. You can use this increased demand for volume to your advantage by incorporating a muscle-building workout into the HIIT format. A great way to work for different muscle groups without tiring yourself out too much would be to choose exercises that don’t compete with each other. Start with larger movements and then do smaller ones as you feel tired.
If you want to try a HIIT workout that combines leg and shoulder exercises, it can be a good idea to keep the exercises flowing without interruption. This will help you maintain a higher heart rate. Begin your workout with the leg exercises to avoid tiring yourself out before the more important exercises. After that, do some dumbbell exercises that will work your shoulders from all angles. These exercises should be easy to transition from one to the other.
Do this circuit 4 times, with a 1-minute break between each round.
- Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 1×10
- Dumbbell Walking Lunge: 1×12 per leg
- Dumbbell Glute Bridge: 1×15
- Dumbbell Z-Press: 1×12
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 1×15
- Dumbbell Upright Row: 1×15
You should start your workout with your dumbbells already set up and ready to go for both leg and shoulder exercises.
Best HIIT Workout For Endurance
There is no other experience quite like high-intensity interval training for endurance. Doing HIIT-style workouts to build endurance means that you have to take less rest time. If you want your body to recover more efficiently, you must challenge your energy systems by working out with limited rest between sets.
Doing full-body, high-repetition exercises with shorter rest periods is most beneficial if you want to get the most out of your endurance HIIT workout. You can also use “spike” exercises to raise your heart rate and keep it high during your workout.
Complete this circuit five times, resting for 30 to 45 seconds between rounds.
- Burpee: 1×10
- Rack Position Kettlebell Reverse Lunge: 1×12 per leg
- Mountain Climber: 1×20 strides
- Push-Ups: 1×15
- Kettlebell Swing: 1×15
You should adjust the difficulty of the exercise to match your current fitness level.
Best HIIT Workout For Conditioning
HIIT and conditioning goals can go hand-in-hand, but a workout that is too difficult can overload your energy systems, making it hard to complete. You can improve your conditioning by doing specially selected exercises at the right time. This will prevent each energy system from fully recovering before the next challenge.
This workout uses a few simple tools to target many of your bigger muscle groups and gets your heart rate going each time you think you’ve hit a wall. This one is not for the faint of heart. Each of these exercises can be done with more or less difficulty, depending on what you want. Breathe deep and try to keep your lunch down.
Do this circuit 5 times, with a 2-minute break between each round.
- Medicine Ball Slam: 1×10
- Prowler Push: 1×30 strides
- Kettlebell Reverse Lunge: 1×10 per leg
- Prowler Push: 1×30 strides
- Medicine Ball Slam: 1×10
Best HIIT Workout For Fat Loss
This process can be improved by simultaneously reducing body fat and increasing lean body mass. Doing HIIT training to help with body composition should focus on choosing exercises that will burn a lot of calories. The more muscles involved, the better.
Dumbbells and Kettlebells are a great way to create an easy-to-follow HIIT Workout. Working out at a high pace is important to getting your heart rate up and working out efficiently. A few well-chosen exercises that work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, performed in a specific order, will keep you moving and tax your whole body.
Do this circuit five times, rest for 1–2 minutes between each round.
- Double Kettlebell Clean: 1×5
- Double Kettlebell Front Squat: 1×10
- Kettlebell Shoulder Press: 1×10
- Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift: 1×10
- Double Kettlebell Swing: 1×15
HIIT Workout Tips
Do your hard intervals close to your Vmax. This is when your breathing becomes more difficult, and you feel like you can’t breathe in as much air as your body needs. It’s about 90% of your “all-out” effort.
Keep your active recovery intervals very easy. The goal when using HIIT for weight loss is to burn as many calories as possible during the hard intervals. Your active recovery intervals should not be so difficult that you can’t stay focused, and they should keep your heart rate up.
It is essential to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before doing a HIIT workout. To warm up properly, do the same cardio at a lower intensity that you’ll be doing during your HIIT workout. This allows you to put all your effort into your hard intervals.
Spend most of your hard intervals exercising close to your Vmax. At this point, you start feeling short of breath and like you can’t breathe as much air as your body needs. It’s about 90% of your “all-out” effort.
Keep your active recovery intervals very easy. The goal when using HIIT for weight loss is to burn as many calories as possible during the hard intervals. Your active recovery intervals should be at a moderate intensity where you are still focused and your heart rate is still up but not too high.
Begin your HIIT workout with a warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes. You should warm up by doing the same cardio workout at a lower intensity as you will be doing during your HIIT workout. This means you will be able to work as hard as you can during your difficult intervals.
How many times per week should you do HIIT training?
Doing too much HIIT will interfere with your strength training and make it harder to build muscle.
I recommend you do no more than two HIIT workouts per week when cutting to avoid overtraining. If you want to do more cardio than recommended, you can do it as low-intensity steady-state cardio, such as walking.
What are good HIIT exercises?
As long as you can exercise at a high enough intensity, almost any exercise can be used for HIIT.
In general, lower-impact forms of cardio, like cycling, rowing, and rucking, impact your strength training workouts less than higher-impact forms of cardio, like running and jumping rope.
Cycling is most effective for HIIT training, but you should do whatever type of exercise you enjoy and can commit to.
How long before you see results from HIIT?
To lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn.
HIIT can help you burn calories and lose weight, but you must ensure you eat the right foods.
If you want to know how many calories you should eat and what foods will help you reach your fitness goals, you should take the Legion Diet Quiz.
It is also worth noting that weightlifting will positively impact your body composition more than HIIT workouts. You should begin a strength training program before you start doing HIIT.
If you maintain a calorie deficit and follow a strength training program, HIIT can help you achieve your goals faster. If it normally takes ten weeks to reach your goal, adding HIIT will help you get there in 8 to 9 weeks. In other words, you would reach your goal weight in less time than usual.
Your fat loss will depend on how many calories you burn for each HIIT session and how many HIIT sessions you do. The more intense and lengthy your HIIT workouts are, and the more sessions you do, the more calories you will burn. This will then lead to faster weight loss.
You should only do as much HIIT as you can recover in a week. From my perspective, you should do no more than two HIIT workouts each week. To ramp up your calorie burn, do the remainder of your workouts with low-intensity cardio.
HIIT workouts are a highly effective way to train the cardiovascular system and achieve other goals. You can easily incorporate them into your day as a break from work or as the last part of your workout.
The wonderful thing about HIIT is that it can be very versatile, but it is especially useful when the work-to-rest ratios are managed well. This gets you the most benefits from your time at the gym.