High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time-efficient workout program that helps improve athletic performance, muscle composition, and cardiovascular health.
You can do HIIT to train your entire body, but if you’re looking for specific workouts to strengthen and tone your legs, this article is for you.
I’ve shared an ultimate HIIT lower body workout guide that includes the best exercises and workout routines.
The quick and explosive lower body HIIT exercises burn significant calories in a short time, strengthen and tone legs and glutes muscles, boost stamina, and improve athletic performance.
Lower Body HIIT Workout At Home
High-intensity interval training primarily includes bodyweight exercises that are fast and heart-pumping, such as squat jump, jumping jack, step-up, and pop squats. You can do them at home or the gym, wherever you work out.
Here’s a quick list of various lower body hiit exercises.
|Squat Jumps||In and Out Squat Jumps|
|Knee Jump||High Knees|
|Forward Lunges||Reverse Lunges|
|Jumping Jacks||Curtsy Lunges|
|Squat Pulses Jump||Sumo Squat|
|Lateral Lunges||Box Jump|
|Jumping Split Lunge||Standard Squat|
|Glutes Bridges||Standing Calf Raise|
|Squat to Calf Raise||Glute Kickback|
Let’s see how to perform the top 10 exercises step by step.
1. Squat Jump
Jump squats improve agility and develop strength in lower body muscles. It burns decent calories and helps you improve your jumping, explosiveness, and momentum.
To perform the jump squat, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, lower into a squat, and then push through your heels to jump explosively in the air. Land into the squat position and repeat for 30 seconds.
2. Standard Squat
The standard squat is less explosive but builds more strength in your legs, especially the quadriceps. You can do it at a quick pace to burn serious calories. I usually do 30 to 45 squats in 30 seconds to feel the burn.
A study has shown that 8-week body mass-based squat exercise training decreased the percent body fat in adolescent boys. 1Takai, Yohei et al. “Effects of body mass-based squat training in adolescent boys.” Journal of sports science & medicine vol. 12,1 60-5. 1 Mar. 2013 So it may be an excellent exercise too if you want to lose fat.
To perform a squat, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and maintain a neutral spine position. Bending your hips and knees, lower into a squat, as deep down as possible. Pressing through your feet, return to the standing position.
3. Forward Lunges
Lunges are an important exercise you can include in your HIIT leg workout. From quads and glutes to hamstrings and calves, lunges strengthen all muscles simultaneously.
To perform a forward lunge, stand in a split stance with your right foot one to two feet from the left foot. Bend your knees until your rear knee touches the floor, and then extend them to return to the start. That’s one rep!
Step-up is a unilateral quad exercise that bolsters one leg at a time, improves balance, and enhances lower body performance. Doing intense step-ups burns approximately 100 calories in 10 minutes.
To perform a step-up at home, stand in front of a bench and step your right foot onto it. Pressing through your right foot, bring your left foot on the bench so your feet are together and you stand upright. That’s one rep.
5. Squat Thrusts
The squat thrust is a high-intensity exercise that works on the entire lower body, especially the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. It burns significant calories in a short time and boosts your muscular endurance.
To perform this move,
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart,
- Lower into a squat position, and place your hands on the floor.
- Kick your feet out behind you so that you come in the top push-up position.
- Reverse the move to return back to the standing position.
6. Alternating Split Jump Squat
Alternate split squat jump can be an incredible addition to the lower body HIIT workouts as it increases strength and torches plenty of calories in a quick time. It helps improve balance, muscle coordination, and vertical jump and maximize your speed and agility.
To perform this movement, stand upright with your feet together. Now, jump into a split stance with your arms swinging back and forth. Perform for the suggested time.
7. Squat Pulses Jump
The squat pulse jump is another lower-body explosive workout that strengthens and tones several lower-body muscles, such as the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It builds muscle, power, and balance and annihilates serious calories.
To perform the squat pulses jumping:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly out.
- With your elbows, hold your arms together in front of your chest.
- Bending your knees, pulse a couple of times, and then jump explosively in the air with your arms swinging back and forth.
8. Jumping Rope
The jumping rope bolsters the core, legs, and arms, enhances stamina, improves cardiovascular health, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves your balance and coordination.
Studies suggest that an active person weighing 155 pounds (70 kg) can burn an impressive 421 calories in a half-hour by jumping rope, which is equal to running at 7 miles per hour for 30 minutes.
9. Standing Calf Raise
Calves are small muscles, but they are as important as other leg muscles, such as quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Whether you do resistance training or interval training, calf raises can be an excellent workout to include in your overall workout regime.
To perform a calf raise, stand upright in front of the wall with your feet hip-width apart. Slightly lean forward and place your hands on the wall with a shoulder-width gap between them. Raise your heels as high as possible, pause for a moment at the top, and then lower your heels back on the floor. Do it as many times as needed.
10. Glutes Bridges
The glute bridge is an isolation workout that stimulates the gluteus maximus and increases hip mobility.
To perform this move, lie on the mat with your knees bent in front of you and keep your arms straight at your sides. Lift your hips off the floor as high as you can, and then lower them back and repeat for the required number of repetitions.
15-Minute HIIT Lower Body Workout (No Equipment)
This 15-minute lower body HIIT workout is suitable for all fitness enthusiasts; whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, or male or female, you can do this workout two to three times a week.
You’ll complete the 15-minute workout in three rounds. The first round is 3 minutes, the second is 5 minutes, and the third is 7 minutes long.
- Workout Type: Bodyweight
- Equipment: No equipment
- Estimated Calories Burned: 150-250
- Intensity: Do each exercise at 75 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Round 1 (3 minutes)
|Squat Jump||15||30-sec||15 sec|
|Standing Calf Raise||15||30-sec||15 sec|
|Squat Pulses Jump||15||30-sec||15 sec|
Round 2 (5 minutes)
|Squat Pulses Jump||15||45 sec||30 sec|
|Step-Up||15||45 sec||30 sec|
|Forward Lunge||15||45 sec||30 sec|
|Squat Thrusts||15||45 sec||30 sec|
Round 3 (7 Minutes)
|In and out Jump||10||30 sec||30 sec|
|Standard Squat||45||60 sec||30 sec|
|Glutes Bridges||20||60 sec||30 sec|
|Alternating Split Squat||15||60 sec||30 sec|
20-Minute HIIT Leg Workout
If you want to do the lower body HIIT workout in the gym, you can follow this routine.
This 20-minute lower body HIIT workout includes a total of 3 rounds- 10 minutes, 6 minutes, and 4 minutes. Each round includes 4-5 exercises.
- Difficulty Level – Intermediate to Advanced
- Equipment: Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Barbell, Stationary Bicycle, Treadmill, Jump Rope
- Calories Burned: 150-250
- Intensity: As quick as possible
|Treadmill Run||—||2-minute||30 seconds|
|Jumping Rope||AMRAP||2-minute||30 seconds|
|Treadmill Run||—||2-minute||30 seconds|
|Jumping Rope||AMRAP||2-minute||30 seconds|
|Squat Pulse Jump||20||60 seconds||30 seconds|
|Step-Up||15||60 seconds||30 seconds|
|In and out Jump||10||60 seconds||30 seconds|
|Squat Thrust||15||60 seconds||30 seconds|
|Squat Jumps||30||45-seconds||15 seconds|
|Dumbbell Lunges||15||45-seconds||15 seconds|
|Standing Calf Raise||20||45 seconds||15 seconds|
|Glutes Bridges||10||45 seconds||15 seconds|
30 Minute Lower Body HIIT Workout at Home
This 30-minute intense lower body HIIT workout will pump your heart, burn serious calories, build muscle and muscular endurance, and scale your fitness to the next level. If you want to speed up your fat loss, you can also follow this workout guide.
- Number of circuits: 3
- Duration of one circuit: 10 minutes
- Rest between circuits: 2 minutes
- Squat Jumps – 30 seconds work, 30-sec rest
- Forward Lunges – 5 reps/side, 30-sec rest
- Box Step-up – 10 reps, 40-sec rest
- Glutes Bridges – 10 reps
- Jumping Jacks – 20 seconds work, 40-sec rest
- Reverse Lunges – 5 reps/side, 30-sec rest
- In and Out Squat Jumps – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Standing Calf Raise – 20 reps
- Step-up – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- 3 Squat Pulses + Jump – 5 reps, 30-sec rest
- Lateral Lunges – 5 reps/side, 30-sec rest
- Knee Jumps – 10 reps
45-Minute Dumbbell HIIT Leg Workout
You can also do weighted lower body HIIIT exercises with dumbbells to build strength and lose fat. The dumbbell is excellent workout equipment that allows you a full range of motion and helps you perform various exercises at home and the gym.
You can do the below workout to maximize your lower body performance.
Perform 4-5 rounds with two minutes of rest in between.
- DB Farmer Walk – 10 steps forward and 10 back, 30-sec rest.
- Dumbbell Forward Lunges – 5 reps/side, 30-sec rest
- DB Squat to Calf Raises – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Dumbbell Step-up – 6 reps/side, 30-sec rest
- Dumbbell Squat Jump – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Dumbbell Reverse Lunges – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
You can check out this dumbbell HIIT workout plan if you want to train your entire body with weights.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does HIIT Build Leg Muscle?
Yes! High-intensity interval training builds muscle and strength in the upper and lower body. A study has shown that HIIT may be an effective program to develop muscle size in overweight and obese individuals.2Blue MNM, Smith-Ryan AE, Trexler ET, Hirsch KR. The effects of high-intensity interval training on muscle size and quality in overweight and obese adults. J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Feb;21(2):207-212. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2017.06.001. Epub 2017 Jun 8. PMID: 28647284; PMCID: PMC7104622. However, if you want to build lots of muscle, you should do leg exercises with barbells, dumbbells, and machines and feed your body proper nutrition.
Can HIIT Reduce Lower Body Fat?
Reducing body fat percentage is one of the pros of high-intensity interval training. Several studies have shown HIIT is an expensive and time-efficient workout program to accelerate fat loss3 Viana RB, Naves JPA, Coswig VS, de Lira CAB, Steele J, Fisher JP, Gentil P. Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Br J Sports Med. 2019 May;53(10):655-664. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099928. Epub 2019 Feb 14. PMID: 30765340, 4 Heydari M, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The effect of high-intensity intermittent exercise on body composition of overweight young males. J Obes. 2012;2012:480467. doi: 10.1155/2012/480467. Epub 2012 Jun 6. PMID: 22720138; PMCID: PMC3375095.
Is it OK to Do HIIT on Leg Day?
You should avoid doing strength and interval training of the same muscles on the same day as it puts more stress on the muscles, increases the risk of injuries, and makes you feel burned out for the next few hours. So take at least one rest day between two lower body workout sessions, whether resistance or HIIT.
How Often Should You Lower Body HIIT Workout?
You can do the lower body HIIT workout one to three times a week. You can also train your upper body on the same day.
- 1Takai, Yohei et al. “Effects of body mass-based squat training in adolescent boys.” Journal of sports science & medicine vol. 12,1 60-5. 1 Mar. 2013
- 2Blue MNM, Smith-Ryan AE, Trexler ET, Hirsch KR. The effects of high-intensity interval training on muscle size and quality in overweight and obese adults. J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Feb;21(2):207-212. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2017.06.001. Epub 2017 Jun 8. PMID: 28647284; PMCID: PMC7104622.
- 3Viana RB, Naves JPA, Coswig VS, de Lira CAB, Steele J, Fisher JP, Gentil P. Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Br J Sports Med. 2019 May;53(10):655-664. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099928. Epub 2019 Feb 14. PMID: 30765340
- 4Heydari M, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The effect of high-intensity intermittent exercise on body composition of overweight young males. J Obes. 2012;2012:480467. doi: 10.1155/2012/480467. Epub 2012 Jun 6. PMID: 22720138; PMCID: PMC3375095