10 Best HIIT Exercises List and HIIT Workout Plan

I hope you may have heard a lot about High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) such as how effective it is in terms of overall health and fitness. The HIIT workout is a full-body, fast-paced workout program designed to burn maximum calories throughout the training session while ensuring skeletal muscles development. In this article, I’ve covered a specific topic related HIIT program. For instance, best HIIT exercises list, HIIT workout plan and routine, and benefits of HIIT workouts.

This article is based on research and analysis and created with a purpose to help you get in shape and improve your overall fitness. So keep reading this.

What is HIIT Workouts?

The High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) means any type of workout; that alternates between high-intensity training and least intensity training for a fixed amount of time. HIIT workout program designed to perform at a higher intensity, usually at more than 80 per cent heart rate.

Let’s take an example of HIIT circuit training. A circuit includes a total of 4 exercises performed in the interval.

  1. Do as many High Knees as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
  2. Do as many Burpees as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
  3. Perform as many Squats as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
  4. Do as many Push-ups as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.

The above circuit training is just an example. Even if you do only sprinting into two intervals for many rounds is considered as HIIT. Or Running at a higher intensity for 2 minutes then 1 min walk is also considered as HIIT.

The selection of HIIT exercises entirely depends on one’s health and fitness. One HIIT workout plan doesn’t work for all because everyone’s body responds in different ways. But the HIIT workouts I’ve included in this post may work for all and help you achieve great fitness.

Content

  • Best HIIT Workouts List
  • Benefits of HIIT Exercise Program
  • The HIIT Workout Routine

10 Best HIIT Exercises List


1. Running

Outdoor running and the treadmill running both are effective and good for overall fitness in the long run. Depending on the time and lifestyle you can chose any of them.

You can include running in other HIIT exercises or you can also do HIIT running for 30 minutes into different rounds. The selection of HIIT workouts depends on what do you want to accomplish.

The best thing about outdoor running is that its equipment-free bodyweight HIIT workout that can be done by anyone as per their fitness level. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or an experienced you can include running in your overall fitness regime.

Here’s how you can perform 30 minutes HIIT running exercise:

Warm-up and stretch before doing this high-intensity activity.

  • 4 Minutes Jog or Walk at a Low Intensity( At 50 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 6 Minutes Run at Higher Intensity ( At 70 to 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 4 Minutes Jog or Walk at a Low Intensity( At 50 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 6 Minutes Run at a High-Intensity ( At 70 to 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 4 Minutes Jog or Walk at a Low Intensity( At 50 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 6 Minutes Run at a High-Intensity ( At 70 to 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate)

20 minutes HIIT running exercise

  • 2 Minutes Jog or Walk at a Moderate Speed ( At 50 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 5 Minutes Run at Higher Intensity ( At 70 to 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Jog or Walk at a Moderate Speed ( At 50 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 5 Minutes Run at a High-Intensity ( At 70 to 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Jog or Walk at a Moderate Speed ( At 50 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate)
  • 4 Minutes Run at a High-Intensity ( At 70 to 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate)

The recovery period is less in 20 minutes session because its shorter than 30 minutes session. And shorter the session lesser the recovery period.

According to an article published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, A 150 pounds person may burn approximately 500 calories in 30 mins and 350 calories in 20 minutes.

The above two high-intensity running sessions are just an examples, you can create your own HIIT running workout.


Benefits of HIIT Running

According to an article published in the Runner’s World, High-intensity running improves elasticity and improve coordination between your nervous system and muscles.

Running on a regular basis also improves heart and brain health as well as It fights with ageing hormone and keeps you young. Many studies have also shown that running is the best exercises for long and healthy life.

How often should you do High-intensity running?

If you’re a beginner go for at least two times a week, and if you’re an intermediate go for at least 4 days a week.

Should I adopt this HIIT routine?

Well, if you’re goal is body-building or muscle gain then just leave it because this will not help you much to achieve your fitness goal. But if you want to lose weight, build endurance, improve running speed and enhance elasticity then this will be the best option for you.


2. Jumping Rope

The Jumping rope is a high-intensity fat-burning one of the best HIIT workouts. It works on the entire body throughout the movement. The leg muscles work to help us jump, the arms engage to rotate the rope and the core engages to keep us balanced during the movement.

Best HIIT Exercises and Workouts

You can do the jump rope along with other HIIT exercises or you can only do jumping rope for 15 to 20 minutes or more than that depending on your endurance.

The good thing about jumping ropes exercise is that it doesn’t require much space. You can do at home, on the ground or the sideways. And this exercise is for all, whether you’re overweight or underweight.

To improve endurance and metabolic rate you should definitely include jumping ropes in your overall HIIT workout routine. Below I’ve shared two different HIIT jumping rope session just for examples.

20 Minutes High-intensity interval training (HIIT) Jumping ropes Routine

Total 7 Rounds (Increase your heart rate as the round increases)

Do as many as reps possible in each rounds (Warm-up and stretch before doing this high-intensity activity.)

  • 1-minute high-intensity jump rope then 20 seconds rest
  • 2 minutes jump rope then 30 seconds rest
  • 2 minutes jump rope then 30 seconds rest
  • 3 minutes jump rope then 45 seconds rest
  • 3 minutes jump rope then 45 seconds rest
  • 4 minutes jump rope then 45 seconds rest
  • 150 Seconds Jump rope at maximum heart rate to complete session.

15 Minutes HIIT Jumping ropes Routine

Total 5 Rounds (Do as many as reps possible in each rounds)

  • 1-minute jumping then 20 seconds rest
  • 2 minutes jump rope then 30 seconds rest
  • 3 minutes jump rope then 45 seconds rest
  • 3 minutes jump rope then 45 seconds rest
  • 220 Seconds Jump rope at maximum heart rate to complete sessions

The 20-min High-intensity jumping session burns approximately 400-500 calories while 15-min session fire between 300 to 400 calories depending upon one’s health and fitness.

Benefits of High-intensity jumping ropes workout session

  • Burn more calories than other exercises
  • Improve Metabolism Rate
  • Enhance coordination between your nervous system and muscles
  • Increase bone density
  • Improve heart health
  • If you maintain calorie intake it will also help you lose weight. (You may like: Best Low Calories Foods)

3. Bicycling HIIT workout

Do you love cycling? I assume many of you like cycling and the most you of love outdoor cycling than just doing stationary bicycling.

After running and the jogging cycling is the best exercise which burn a lot of calories and keep your heart rate high during the session.

Best HIIT workouts
Photo by John Torcasio

The only disadvantage of cycling is that you must have access to the cycle whether it is a real bicycle or a stationary one. If you don’t have access don’t worry because you still have plenty of HIIT exercises to do at home.

I personally love outdoor bicycling because it’s not only good for health but it’s also exciting and adventurous.

Below I’ve shared two HIIT bicycling routine just for examples. You can either do outside cycling or stationary cycling.


20 minutes HIIT Bicycling exercise

  • 1 Minute Stretching
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 40 to 55 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 3 Minutes Moderate Intensity Cycling (At 55 to 65 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 45 to 55 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 3 Minutes High-Intensity Cycling (At 60 to 75 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 45 to 55 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 4 Minutes High-Intensity Cycling (At 65 to 80 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 40 to 55 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 1 Minute High-Intensity Cycling (At 75 to 90 per cent maximum heart rate)

15 minutes HIIT Bicycling routine

  • 1 Minute Stretching
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 40 to 50 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 3 Minutes Moderate Intensity Cycling (At 55 to 70 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 40 to 50 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 4 Minutes High-Intensity Cycling (At 65 to 80 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 2 Minutes Low-Intensity Cycling (At 45 to 55 per cent maximum heart rate)
  • 1 Minute High-Intensity Cycling (At 80 to 95 per cent maximum heart rate)

How often should you do bicycling HIIT?

It depends on your lifestyle and fitness goal. However, twice a week is good for beginners but more than that even better. Sleeping, eating and resting all are very important. And don’t force your body as well because overtraining sometimes cause muscles soreness and injuries.

Should I do high-intensity bicycling?

Yes, bicycling is for all irrespective of age, gender, and physique. But if you have any illness or disorder, I advise you to consult your doctor before doing this exercise.


4. HIIT Sprints Interval Training

Sprinting is really the highest intensity anaerobic activity that helps you burn more calories than any other exercises as well as it improves endurance and boost metabolism.

One can do different sprints such as 100 meter, 200 meters, 400 meter and maximum 500 meters. You’ll have put all of your energy during the sprints, leaving nothing else in the gas tank.

Sprinting is also one of the best ways to lose weight faster. If you don’t have a breathing problem then sprinting will be a great option to burn a plethora of calories in just 5 to 10 minutes.

Despite the several advantages of sprinting, I would still not recommend to everyone. Because of its intensity, it may cause problems for some people. That is why I would suggest you consult your doctor before doing this.

Important points to do before doing the sprint interval HIIT

  • Stretch your hamstrings, quads and other body parts so that your body won’t get any cramps.
  • You’ll have to do a long warm-up, approximately 10 minutes. You can increase the warm-up time because I’ve written 10 minutes just for example.
  • You can do high-knees, jump squats or the moderate jogging before sprinting.

30 Minutes HIIT Sprint Intervals

TimeIntensity/Speed
5 minutesJogging at an easy-moderate pace
5 minutesSlowly increase the intensity of your jog
30 secondsSprint all out as fast as you can (Sprint 1)
5 minutesThis is your recovery time but you don’t have to sit, take a walk or jog at low to moderate intensity.
30 seconds Sprint all out as fast as you can (Sprint 2)
5 minutesWalk or jog at low to moderate speed for recovery
30 secondsSprint all out as fast as you can (Sprint 3)
5 minutesWalk or jog at low to moderate speed for recovery
30 secondsSprint all out as fast as you can (Sprint 4)
3 minutesIt’s time fully cool down at an easy pace
This workout is great for intermediate and advanced exercisers who love challenges.

5. HIIT High Knees workout

High Knees is one of my favourite bodyweight HIIT workouts that I always include in my overall HIIT circuit routine.

High knees also work great as a warm-up exercise before weight lifting or powerlifting session because doing high-knees increase your heart rate and blood flow that helps your lungs to take oxygen efficiently.

How to do High-knees:

Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart, keep your hands straight in front of your thighs. Now Lift up your right knee toward your chest then switch to lift right knee toward your chest. That’s one rep!

Do as many reps as possible in 30 seconds then take rest for 30 seconds. That’s one interval. For better result do 10 intervals of HIIT High-knees.


6. Burpess

The burpee is a high-intensity and one of the best HIIT fat-burning exercises that work on the entire body. They help you gain muscles and lose weight both at the same time. Not only this but burpees also improve muscles coordination, body balance, stability, posture and overall muscle strength.

Doing burpees on a regular basis boost metabolism, increase stamina, enhance breathing capacity, and improve heart health.

How to perform Burpee:
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your arms at your sides.
  • Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower yourself into a squat position.
  • Place your hands on the floor directly in front and below of your feet.
  • Shift your weight onto your hands. extend your legs back, softly land on the floor.
  • Your body should be in a plank position.
  • Now, jump your feet back just outside of your hands.
  • Extend your arms fully over your head and jump up into the air. That’s one rep!

Do as many burpees as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds to complete one interval. 10 High-intensity burpees intervals will be great 10 minutes HIIT workout.


7. HIIT Moutain Climbers and Sit-ups Exercises

The mountain climber strengthens your core and increases your stamina. This exercise is a great way to warm up the body. This works on several muscles at once especially the abdominal muscles. This exercise might help you lose weight as it burns more calories during the movement.

How to do Mountain Climbers
  • Position yourself into a plank position and hold your body through hand and feet.
  • Brace your core and pull your one leg knee into your chest as close as you can.
  • Follow with another leg, by pulling knee out and bringing the other knee in.
  • Don’t bend your elbows and try to keep your back flat during the movement.

Along with mountain climbers include planks and crunches in your overall HIIT workout routine. Crunches and planks are great exercises for core strength. And having a strong core is quite essential for the overall physique.

Do as many mountain climbing as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. Then do sit-ups for as many reps as possible for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. Then do the plank for 1-minute and take 1-minute rest. Repeat this for the desired number of intervals.


8. HIIT Boxing Circuit

Boxing is another superlative and one of the best HIIT fat burning exercises. According to a study conducted and published by BMC Sports Science, Medicine And Rehabilitation journal. A group of 10 men participated in a boxing high-intensity interval training or boxing HIIT programme for the period of 12-weeks. After the competition of time period, the result showed that reduced body-fat levels by 13.2%, their waist by 5.3% and total body mass by 4.1%, which are quite impressive, aren’t they?

Not only that, but boxing is one of the best ways to boost metabolism, improve VO2 max, enhance power and strength. So, whenever you see a punching bag, don’t just leave it without punching it for a couple of minutes.

20 Minutes HIIT Boxing Interval:

Warm up and stretch for at least a couple of minutes before hitting the punches.

  • Alternating left/right jab-cross– Hit as many as times as you can in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds
  • Alternating left/right hook– Hit as many as times as you can in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds
  • Freestyle– Combine any moves you want and do it for 60 seconds then rest for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat this for 5 times to complete 20 minutes HIIT boxing circuit.

9. HIIT Squats Exercises

The squats are the great exercise not only for our legs but also for our whole body. Some fitness experts suggest that squatting regularly can increase your lower-body muscles strength that helps you in running and jumping.

Steps to do Squats:
  • Stand with your feet should-width apart and keep your back straight.
  • Brace your core, bend your knees and lower your body by bending your hips backwards.
  • Keep your entire body tight during the movement.
  • Do as many as reps you can and then move to another exercise after 15 seconds rest.

10. HIIT Push-ups Exercises

High-intensity push-ups are great for fat burning and muscles gain. The 5 minutes HIIT push-ups session burn around 100 calories.

Push-ups is best bodyweight workout that works on various muscles group at once such as chest, arms, shoulders, back and the core. Doing push-ups on a regular basis increase strength, power and promote muscles growth.

How to Do Correct push-ups
  • Start with keeping your body in the high plank position.
  • Then tighten your abdominal muscles and glutes and keep your body in line from top to bottom.
  • Now bend your elbows and start pushing your chest toward the floor.
  • Then press back up powerfully by extending your arms. That’s one rep!

In high-intensity interval training, Your form will be imperfect while doing the push-ups. But that doesn’t matter a lot.

Here’s how you can do 5 Minutes HIIIT push-pups sessions:

Warm up and stretch for at least for 2 minutes before start

  • Do as many push-ups as possible for 30 seconds then rest for 60 seconds.
  • Do as many push-ups as possible for 30 seconds then rest for 60 seconds.
  • Perform as many push-ups as possible for 30 seconds then rest for 60 seconds.
  • In the final set, do as many push-ups as you can in 30 seconds to complete 5 minutes High-intensity session.

HIIT Exercises Benefits

  1. Improve elasticity and improve coordination between your nervous system and muscles.
  2. Improve heart and brain health.
  3. They fight with ageing hormone and keeps you young.
  4. Increase the life span.
  5. Improve Metabolism Rate
  6. Increase bone density
  7. Burn more calories than other training programs.

30-Minutes Mix Beginner To Advanced HIIT Workouts Routines

Day-1-3-5 (HIIT No equipment Workout Routine 1)Day 2-4-6 (HIIT Workout Routine 2)HIIT Exercises Routine 3
Running- 2 minutes run and 1 minute recovery period x 5 roundsCycling- 2 minutes cycling at higher intensity and 1 minute recovery period x 5 roundsJumping Rope- 2 Minutes jump ropes and 1 minute recovery period x 4 rounds
Burpees- Do as many burpees as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 roundsMountain Climbers- Do as many burpees as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 roundsBurpees- Do as many burpees as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 rounds
Squats- Do as many burpees as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 roundsSprints Interval– 2 Sprints of 30 seconds with 4 minutes recovery period. (Total time 5 minutes)Squats- Do as many burpees as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 rounds
High Knees- Do as many reps as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 roundsPush-ups- Do as many reps as possible in 30 Seconds then take 60 seconds rest x 3 roundsMountain Climbers- Do as many burpees as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 rounds
Crunches- Do as many crunches as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 2 roundsSide Planks- 90 seconds (45 each side) plank and 30 seconds rest.Crunches- Do as many crunches as possible in 30 Seconds then take 30 seconds rest x 3 rounds
Planks- 1 minute plank then 1 min rest x 2 sets______Planks- 1 minute plank then 1 min rest x 2 sets
Side Planks- 90 seconds (45 each side) plank and 30 seconds rest.
This is just a sample of HIIT workout routines. You can make changes in these HIIT plans according to your need. I’ve not included boxing in this routine but you can do if you feel.

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