The Comprehensive Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

8 Min Read

Unveiling the Essence of HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) constitutes an exercise regimen that consists of short, high-intensity exercise bursts followed by brief intervals of rest or low-intensity activity. It has gained widespread recognition for its effectiveness in boosting metabolism and fostering strength development, delivering benefits akin to those of extended aerobic workouts in a significantly reduced timeframe. Essentially, HIIT’s impact extends to both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, offering a notable advantage.

Benefits of HIIT: A Comprehensive Exploration

Research conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has identified various advantages associated with HIIT, including:

  • Enhanced aerobic and anaerobic fitness capabilities
  • Elevated insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and lipid profiles
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Augmented post-exercise metabolism
  • Accelerated weight loss
  • Diminished abdominal and subcutaneous fat levels
  • Increased exercise adherence

Studies also reveal that HIIT significantly reduces body fat and waist circumference. Moreover, it has been found to alleviate anxiety and depressive symptoms, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce instances of osteoarthritis, offer relief from lower back pain, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, HIIT has proven more efficient than lower-to-moderate intensity aerobic exercise in increasing VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen the body can absorb and utilize during exercise at 100% capacity.

HIIT’s Accessibility: A Beginner-Friendly Approach

HIIT is a suitable option for beginners due to its adaptability and time efficiency. Beginner-friendly HIIT workouts often incorporate a limited number of basic movements, rendering them manageable and easy to follow. The psychological aspect also plays a role, as the prospect of exerting oneself for only 20 seconds can seem less daunting than sustaining an extended period of exercise.

HIIT Workouts Tailored to Your Schedule

5-Minute HIIT Workouts

Even those with limited time can squeeze in a quick at-home HIIT workout. “Micro-HIIT” routines, ranging from 3 to 20 minutes, provide an effective means of releasing stress and boosting metabolism. Tabata training, developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team, involves a 20-second burst of strenuous exercise followed by a 10-second rest period repeated for four minutes. This brief, high-intensity approach has been shown to yield greater fitness gains than hour-long exercise sessions.

10-Minute HIIT Workouts

For those seeking a lightning-fast and user-friendly HIIT session, the “Body Coach” HIIT workout by Joe Wicks is a recommended option. Comprising five exercises repeated four times, with 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, this routine offers a succinct but potent workout. Despite its brevity, it effectively engages the body and elevates the heart rate.

15-Minute HIIT Workouts

Designed specifically for women, particularly new mothers, this 15-minute HIIT workout effectively addresses time constraints. The routine encompasses eight exercises performed in circuits of 15 and 10 repetitions, providing a challenging yet achievable workout.

20-Minute HIIT Workouts

Fitness expert Krissy Cela offers a comprehensive 20-minute HIIT workout. The routine involves one-minute intervals of work followed by brief rest periods. The exercises are displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, allowing for easy tracking.

30-Minute HIIT Workouts

For an intense and varied HIIT workout, dumbbell training is an excellent choice. Led by Melissa Mussington, this 30-minute routine constitutes two rounds of two circuits, each comprising three exercises. The session concludes with a cool-down stretch.

40+-Minute HIIT Workouts

For those seeking a longer and more challenging workout, “Booty Build & Shred” by Anna Victoria is a recommended option. The routine utilizes bodyweight exercises to burn fat and enhance muscle tone, targeting the lower body in particular.

HIIT Exercise Recommendations

Most HIIT workouts include heart-rate elevating exercises such as jump squats, burpees, commandos, planks, mountain climbers, and tuck jumps. These aerobic HIIT exercises are often performed in 20-40 second intervals with brief rest periods interposed. Although no singular exercise stands as the “best” HIIT exercise, maximizing effort during the “on” periods is crucial for optimal results.

HIIT Exercise Ideas: Enhance Your Workouts

  1. Burpees:
    1. Crouch with feet shoulder-width apart, hands on the floor.
    2. Kick feet back into a plank position.
    3. Jump forward and propel yourself upwards, landing in a standing position.
  2. Commandos:
    1. Adopt a press-up position with hands flat on the ground.
    2. Lower yourself onto your forearms, resting in a plank position.
    3. Raise yourself back into a press-up position.
  3. Mountain climbers:
    1. Assume a high plank position with hands directly beneath shoulders and fingers spread apart.
    2. Pump knees towards chest, alternating legs.
  4. Runner’s lunge:
    1. Step back into a reverse lunge with the left leg.
    2. Push through the right heel to stand, raising the left leg to 90 degrees.
    3. Repeat with the other leg.
  5. Walkout:
    1. Position feet flat on the floor with hands close to feet.
    2. Walk hands away from legs, transitioning into a high plank position.
    3. Walk hands back towards feet.
  6. Walkout with push-up:
    1. Perform a walkout into a high plank position.
    2. Lower into a push-up, then return to high plank.
    3. Walk hands back towards feet.
  7. Speed skaters:
    1. Cross the left leg behind the right and lower into a half-squat.
    2. Quickly hop to the left, switching legs and arms.
  8. High knees:
    1. Stand with arms bent at 90 degrees, elbows tucked into sides, palms facing the floor.
    2. Run on the spot, lifting knees as high as possible.
  9. Air squat:
    1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, lower into a squat with knees over toes.
    2. Push through heels and stand, squeezing glutes at the top.
  10. Jump squat:
    1. Lower into a squat position with feet hip-width apart.
    2. Explosively jump upwards, extending legs fully.
    3. Land in a squat position.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a highly effective workout method that provides numerous benefits in a time-efficient manner. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, you can tailor HIIT workouts to your fitness level and goals. With its accessibility, flexibility, and potential to improve both physical and mental well-being, HIIT is an excellent choice for anyone looking to enhance their fitness regime.

This article was written by Emily Clarkson and is copyrighted to OMG I Yoga. All rights reserved.

Share This Article