The theory behind HIIT is that you train as hard as you can through your work phase and then take a rest phase – pushing the intensity levels in the work phase as high as possible, hence the name High Intensity Interval Training! Although the structure of work phase and rest phase is set in stone, the great thing about HIIT is that you can choose any exercises you’d like to include in your workout. It’s beneficial to combine a number of different compound exercises when planning HIIT sessions – exercises that use more than one muscle group at a time (compound exercises) are great at getting the heart rate up, switching more muscles on to gain strength and are a great way to burn a high amount of calories. Try our top 10 HIIT exercises (in no particular order!). Remember, you can play around with the timings of your work and rest phases depending on your fitness levels.
Running on the spot bringing your knees up in front of the body to knee height. Keep your shoulders back and down, try not to lean backwards.
From a standing position, place your hands to the ground, jump your feet out behind you into a plank position, jump your feet back in and push up through a squat position back to standing.
Complete a regular push up with each hand placed on a dumbbell. When you reach your top position, hold through your upper body and core while you pull one of the dumbbells up towards your chest in a row – keeping your elbow close to your body. Return it back down to the ground and complete another push up, this time rowing with the other arm at the top position.
Set up for a regular squat, sit your lower body back and down, drive through your heels back to standing and when you reach the top of the squat, keep going to jump forwards, landing in a low squat position. From that position jump 180 degrees to face the direction you just came from and keep repeating.
Set up in a plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Move up onto your toes and engage the core muscles by drawing your belly button through to your spine – ensure a straight line from your head to your toes and focus on up in the air. Hold this position, jump both feet outwards wider than shoulders and then jump them back in. Repeat.
With your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders and your legs out straight, alternate jumping each foot towards your hands, keeping your lower body low and your core switched on.
Holding the medicine ball in both hands, sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet together. Lean backwards so your back is at a 45 degree angle to the ground and you create a V shape with your body. Engage through your core and twist the medicine ball to your right side, tapping it on the ground. Lift it up in front of your body and over to the left side, tapping it on the ground – follow the ball with your eyes throughout to ensure you are getting a good twist through your core. Repeat.
From a standing position, step one foot backwards and perform a deep lunge by dropping your back knee towards the ground. As you push back to your starting position, shift your weight into your front foot and bring your back knee up towards your chest as you complete a jump off the ground with your front foot. Land lightly and keep repeating. Don’t forget to complete on the other side in the next round.
Everyone has their own skipping technique, but speed is the name of the game when HIIT is involved, so aim to increase your pace and have fast feet throughout. If you find that you’re jumping hard when skipping and jarring through your knees, try to bounce from side to side from one foot to the other to land softly.
Set up for a regular push up but bring your hands closer together, placing your thumbs together. As you lower your body towards the ground your elbows will point backwards, engaging the triceps as you push back up. During the upwards phase of the push up make sure you brace through your core to keep your body tight and straight.