HIIT, short for High-Intensity Interval Training, has always been a very popular workout routine for people who want to build muscle endurance or lose weight.

This fitness routine has gained so many supporters because of the many benefits it can do for your body in just a short time. So what does this famous fitness training stand for?

Read on to learn more about this regimen, its benefits, and some easy workouts you can do.

What is HIIT?

HIIT is a cardio workout that involves alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity periods. You can do HIIT with any type of cardio exercise such as jumping rope, rowing, squatting, or running.

You will be sweating in no time in just a short period because of working out at an intense level and then cooling off for a slower recovery time and another round of high intensity afterwards. The work and rest intervals can last however you want, but each session lasts no longer than 20 minutes.

Doing this will help you burn fats, boost metabolism and build muscle endurance. Your body will also burn calories even after your workout—no wonder why this cardio training is trendy amongst fitness enthusiasts.

Benefits of HIIT Workouts

HIIT has become very popular in the fitness world because this training can give you lots of benefits in just minimal time. It can also be tailored for people of all fitness levels or those with medical conditions. Here are some proven benefits of why HIIT workout works.

1. Increases metabolic rate for hours after HIIT workout.

One of the known benefits of doing a HIIT workout is that it can help you burn calories even after you are done working out. Some studies have shown that it can boost metabolic rate for hours after a HIIT exercise. Researchers also found that HIIT could change the body’s metabolism to using fat for energy instead of carbs.

2. Can help retain muscle mass.

Though HIIT is not the best exercise to build lean muscle, it can help in retaining muscle mass. These workouts allow a person to preserve muscle while ensuring weight loss comes from fat stores.

3. Helps burn calories.

Performing HIIT workouts can burn more calories than a steady-state cardio exercise such as running, where your heart rate stays stable. It can burn 5 to 30% more calories than other forms of workouts.

HIIT can also burn calories even when you are done exercising. This occurrence is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply known as EPOC. EPOC happens when your body burns more calories rebuilding the wear and tear from intense training.

4. Enhances oxygen and blood flow.

HIIT workouts can enhance oxygen and blood flow. This is because your heart pumps blood through your circulatory system to transport oxygen to your organs and muscles.

A 7-week study in 2017 split two groups of children between doing a HIIT workout and a traditional exercise. The result was that the children who performed HIIT training improved their cardiorespiratory capacity compared to the ones who did a more conventional workout.

5. Reduces blood pressure and heart rate.

People who are overweight or obese can benefit greatly from doing HIIT because it can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Some studies found that HIIT is a more effective exercise to lower blood pressure than moderate-intensity exercise.

If you want to improve your heart health, HIIT may be a significant part of your treatment plan. On the other hand, incorporating HIIT into your fitness routine may help maintain a healthy blood flow for people with normal blood pressure.

6. Saves time.

One of the good things about doing HIIT is it saves time. If you are a person who finds it a challenge to make time to work out, HIIT is a perfect option for you.

HIIT only takes a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes, and it is ideal for people who can only commit a few minutes of their time to exercise. You will get many health benefits in a shorter time than you would in a longer workout.

What Does a Typical HIIT Routine Look Like?

A typical HIIT routine will take about 10 to 30 minutes in duration. Even though it is a shorter form of workout, the benefits you can gain from it are the same or even twice as much as a moderate-intensity workout.

There are various ways to do HIIT, such as biking, sprinting, bodyweight exercise, or other cardio exercises. One example of a HIIT workout is by using a stationary bike that involves 30 seconds of cycling with high resistance and then easy cycling afterwards with low resistance. This is considered one round of HIIT; you will usually complete it by doing 4 to 6 repetitions in one session.

Remember that a HIIT workout involves short periods of intense exercise that will make your heart rate accelerate, followed by a slow recovery period. The particular time you exercise and rest period varies depending on the type of activity you choose and how strongly you exercise.

Types of HIIT Workouts

HIIT workout can be any type of exercise as long as you do intense movements for a short period followed by a more extended period of slow recovery. There are different HIIT workouts, including cardio HIIT, HIIT with weights, bodyweight HIIT, and full-body HIIT.

Let’s know more about these different types below.

Cardio HIIT

Cardio HIIT exercises are good for your glutes, lower back, hamstring, and quadriceps. Some benefits of doing cardio HIIT include burning calories and improving the cardiovascular system and bone density.

Cardio HIIT elevates the heart rate, so you must consult your doctor first if you have some medical condition. There are no particular exercises for any fitness level. It is all about doing an intense exercise and alternating it with a low-intensity recovery period.

If you are just starting with cardio HIIT, you may try doing bear crawls, side kicks, or push-ups. If you think you can do more challenging exercises, then you can do a plank with hip dips, crusty lunges, or handstand push-ups.

HIIT with Weights

HIIT with weights exercise is an excellent combination of cardiovascular and strength training. Working in high intensity does not mean you need to lift heavier objects.

What is important is to look after your form and make sure that you guard yourself against getting injured. Focus on the bursts of intense exercise for about 40 seconds and then take a minute recovery period. Some of the best examples of HIIT weight workouts include:

  • Kettlebell swings
  • Deadlift & row
  • Squat thrusters
  • Power press
  • Med Ball slams

Bodyweight HIIT

Bodyweight HIIT is the perfect workout if you don’t have access to weights. This is especially good for individuals who have difficulty lifting weights while doing HIIT. All you need is your body weight while doing an intense workout. Some of the bodyweight HIIT examples you can easily do at your home are as follows:

  • Burpees
  • Jumping jacks
  • Lunge jumps
  • Mountain climbers
  • Squat jumps
  • Push-ups
  • High knee

Full-body HIIT

A full-body HIIT workout is great for any fitness level. This is perfect for people who want to lose weight and a great exercise for toning the muscles. It targets multiple muscle groups, including your core, shoulders, quadriceps, and glutes.

To effectively attain a full-body HIIT workout, you can try to incorporate it with any exercise or combine them into a circuit. Below are some sample exercises you can do.

  • Power press (30 seconds + 1-minute rest)
  • Push-ups (30 seconds + 1-minute rest)
  • Lunge jumps (30 seconds + 1-minute rest)
  • Burpees (30 seconds + 1-minute rest)

How Long Does It Take to See Results from a HIIT Workout?

To earn the benefits of HIIT workouts, you must do them 2 to 3 days a week, and you may see results in 6 to 8 weeks. You should also do some strength training to lose fat and build muscle.

Losing fats depends on your ability to put yourself in a calorie deficit. So you must also maintain a healthy diet while doing HIIT to gain top results.

Easy HIIT Workouts You Can Do When Short on Time

Squeezing a workout into your busy schedule is truly very challenging. Good thing HIIT workouts are ideal for individuals who want to stay active yet have little time to spare for good exercise. Whether you only have 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 20 minutes for exercise, HIIT workouts have something for you.

10-Minute HIIT Workouts

Staying fit is hard when you have no time to exercise. But no more excuses because you can spare just 10 minutes of your precious time to do a great HIIT workout. Here is a good example that you can do anywhere. You just need to have a timer and a space and expect to be sweating in no time.

10 minute-Cardio Bursts

  • Jog in place for 1 minute then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1-minute squats then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1-minute push-ups then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1-minute wall sits then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1-minute sit-ups then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1 minute of planks then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1 minute of side planks, 30 seconds on each side then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1- minute high knees then rest for 10 seconds
  • 1-minute jog in place then rest for 10 seconds

10-minute Run-Sprint-Walk Intervals

  • Run at a relaxed and steady pace for 3 minutes
  • 1-minute sprint
  • 1-minute walk
  • Run again for 3 minutes
  • 1-minute sprint
  • 1-minute walk

15-Minute HIIT Workouts

Getting fit does not mean you have to stay long hours in the gym. You can have a good workout in just 15 minutes. Try this 15-minute HIIT workout that will surely make a difference in your fitness journey.

Single-Dumbbell Workout

Perform these exercises for 30 seconds each, followed by 15 seconds of break. To have a complete 15-minute workout session, repeat it three times. You can use water bottles or canned goods if you do not have dumbbells available.

  • Squat with a cross-body knee raise (left and right side)
  • Reverse lunge w/ twist (right side)
  • Deadlifts
  • Walkouts
  • Push-ups
  • Cross-body mountain climbers
  • Walkouts
  • Deadlifts
  • Reverse lunge w/ twist (left side)
  • Squat with a cross-body knee raise (left and right side)
  • 1-minute break

15-minute Bodyweight HIIT Workout

For this workout, all you need is your body weight and an exercise mat to make you feel comfortable while working out.


  • Mountain Climber
  • Skater
  • Squat Jack
  • Burpees


Perform each exercise for 20 to 30 seconds. Then have 15 to 30 seconds of rest before moving on to the next activity. Once you have completed all four movements, you can take a break for 1 minute. Then repeat the circuit for 3 to 4 rounds to complete a 15-minute HIIT workout.

20-Minute HIIT Workouts

Reap all the good benefits of a good workout in just 20 minutes. Try these hill sprints and bodyweight burnout and get a leaner, stronger, and overall better body in no time.

Hill Sprints and Bodyweight Burnout

Interchanging bodyweight workouts and sprints is a great way to assess your cardiovascular fitness. Go out and look for a 40-meter hill on a suitable grade. You can take a break as much as you can between sets, but you need to complete the eight sets within 20 minutes.


Sets 1-4
40-meter hill sprint plus 20 push-ups

Sets 5-8
40-meter hill sprint plus five hand walkouts

Make sure that you have some reserve in your tank. You can go very fast, but remember that you will be repeating this for eight rounds, and you must have something to sustain your efforts.

Push and Pull Ladder

If you want to have an amazing upper body, you may want to try the push/pull ladder HIIT workout.


To perform this workout, you need to do a superset of push-ups to pull-ups inverse-ladder style. You will be decreasing the push-up reps and increasing pull-ups for every set. Do two rounds of this ladder for a 20-minute HIIT workout.

  • Set 1 Ten push-ups, one pull-up
  • Set 2 Nine push-ups, two pull-ups
  • Set 3 Eight push-ups, three pull-ups
  • Set 4 Seven push-ups, four pull-ups
  • Set 5 Six push-ups, five pull-ups
  • Set 6 Five push-ups, six pull-ups
  • Set 7 Four push-ups, seven pull-ups
  • Set 8 Three push-ups, eight pull-ups
  • Set 9 Two push-ups, nine pull-ups
  • Set 10 One push-up, ten pull-ups

Make sure that you do some warm-ups before doing any HIIT workout. It is also important to consult your doctor first if you have any medical condition such as a cardiovascular disorder or if you have any injuries.

1. Can you do HIIT using fitness machines?

HIIT workouts can be done without any fitness machine. However, you can have the option of using cardio machines such as exercise bikes, rowing machines, or elliptical trainers.

2. Is HIIT workout good for beginners?

HIIT workout is good for beginners or any fitness level. HIIT is a great form of exercise for improving your fitness regardless of where you are in your fitness journey. There are many easy HIIT workouts that beginners can do at home without using any equipment.