High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has exploded in terms of popularity over the past decade or so, and for good reason. These workouts are not only fun and challenging, but they also burn a ton of fat and can be performed almost anywhere.
Although many HIIT workouts require cardio equipment or more complex gear that can only be found at the gym, you can enjoy a super-effective fat-blasting session at home, in your backyard, or even at a nearby park if you can’t access a fitness center.
Let’s get into some of our favorite high-intensity interval workouts that you can learn quickly and take with you everywhere you go. With these routines in your arsenal, you’ll never have another excuse to avoid working out ever again! Let’s check it out.
1. Squats, Pushups, and Burpees
The most basic exercises are the easiest to learn but the most difficult to master. Consider the squat, for example. Anyone can bend their knees and perform a simple squat motion a few times in a row, but things get much more difficult when pace and volume ramp up.
That’s the beauty of HIIT exercise: you maximize the benefits of simple movements through repetition and intensity, allowing anyone to participate and get in great shape without ever setting foot in a gym.
With these three movements — squats, pushups, and burpees — you can create a winning HIIT workout that meets your exact needs and skill level.
Here’s an example of a circuit routine you can pull off anywhere you have space:
- 1 Pushup, 1 Squat
- 2 Pushups, 2 Squats
- 3 Pushups, 3 Squats
- So on and so forth
This pyramid routine can be done up to a total of 10 movements each, then you can descend back down the ladder and take a minute of rest before your next go-around.
Try it once and spike that heart rate while building strength in the upper and lower body. It takes five minutes and can be modified for any ability level. Can’t do a pushup? Just lower yourself down to the ground and use your elbows and knees to stand back up.
Once this routine is a breeze for you, graduate to burpees. This movement combines the two core components from above and adds a jumping jack on top for good measure.
It may take some time to master the art of the burpee, and it isn’t an easy road, but your physique and mental fortitude will benefit tremendously if you stick with it.
These movements all have one thing in common: they can be done anywhere, at any time. For a quick burst of energy or to set fire to the metabolism, just do a quick set of these exercises and enjoy the benefits of HIIT instantly.
2. Kettlebell Swings
Okay, this one requires some equipment, but trust us when we say that a kettlebell will be one of the best investments in your health you’ll ever make. You can use them practically anywhere to go hard on a HIIT workout.
The classic kettlebell swing may look easy from afar, but try them out and you’ll quickly see what all the hype is about. Prepare to feel the burn everywhere in your body, from the glutes and hams to the lower back, shoulders, and arms.
There is also a cardio component to k-bell swings, and you’re going to be huffing and puffing before long, even if you’re using a relatively light weight.
If you want to try out this legendary workout for yourself, be sure to watch plenty of instructional videos and practice safely before ramping up the intensity.
Again, you should begin with a manageable weight and slowly work your way up the rack to heavier bells. You’ll be surprised how difficult a light bell can be if you push the pedal to the metal with each workout.
3. Martial Arts
You don’t need to have black belts in multiple disciplines to enjoy the numerous benefits of a high-intensity martial arts workout. Punches, kicks, deep stretches, and static poses are all part of the routine, and they activate every part of the body.
To perform a martial arts style workout, you only need yourself and maybe some guidance in the form of an online video or DVD.
Don’t expect to be delivering flying side kicks out of the gate. Ramp up very slowly at first and get used to the motions at your own pace. These workouts are excellent for balance, allowing you to use both sides of the body equally and boosting mental focus.
With martial arts workouts, you also get the undeniably awesome feeling that you’re ready to kick butt at any time! Never a bad side effect.
Look for an old-school martial arts workout DVD or see what’s streaming for free on the internet. Once you learn the various punches, kicks, and poses, you can create a routine of your own and share it with friends.
Much like dancing, martial arts routines are about expressing your creative side and pushing yourself to the physical limits, so go all-out!
4. Jump Rope and Sprints
Want to feel like an Olympic athlete or world-class boxer? It’s time to focus on cardio, which is where the magic happens in terms of rapid fat loss.
Jump rope might seem like an old-school workout method, but there’s nothing outdated about it. It’s just as effective for working up a sweat as it was back in the day of Ali and Frazier.
Sprints, on the other hand, are designed to push you to the limit in a matter of seconds, challenging your body and mind like nothing else.
Combine these two types of cardio and you have a fat-burning masterclass that you can pull off in any parking lot, field, or open outdoor area.
Remember to stick to the basic principles of HIIT and catch your breath between sprints and high-intensity jump rope bursts. You want to replenish your energy so you can go for longer and keep that fat furnace burning!
5. Group Dance Workouts
We all reach a point in our workout regimen when things start to become stale and motivation takes a nosedive. This is when we may start getting back into bad habits like overeating, skipping workouts, and hitting the snooze button in the morning.
A normal person can only do so many pushups before it gets old. When boredom sinks in, it’s time to add some pizzazz to your routine with something fun, dynamic, and fully engaging: a group dance workout may be exactly what you’re looking for.
If you love to move and shake, an at-home dance workout gives you the chance to express your physical creativity while shredding fat and building strength in classic HIIT fashion.
Led by high-energy instructors and set to heart-pumping beats, it’s impossible not to get into the groove!
The best part is that you can find dance workouts for your exact experience level, so you never have to worry about falling behind the pack. Start slow and simple, then work your way up as you get more lean and mean in just a few weeks.
You can even participate in a 30-day group fitness challenge if you need a bit of extra accountability and support from people trying to make similar changes in their lives.
Physical transformation and healthy habits can be a tough road to go alone, so that extra motivation and encouragement can make all the difference.
Make dance workouts your go-to exercise method or sprinkle them in a few times a week to keep things fresh. Versatility and variety are what make HIIT workouts so great.
The truth about the gym is that it takes up a lot of time, any way you slice it. Driving to and from the facilities, checking in and out of the club — it all adds up.
That’s why we love HIIT more than anything. High-intensity interval training is arguably the most time-efficient workout method available, and its versatility can’t be beaten.
Consider its tightly structured format, the ability for you to burn a ton of fat, and not to mention the strength gains you can achieve for your muscles and nervous system.
The other huge advantage of HIIT is the diversity of workouts at your fingertips, and the minimal equipment required. Gravity is the only ingredient needed for bodyweight exercises, and everyone can buy a simple jump rope or kettlebell. Need some extra motivation from a group setting? Just pop in a DVD or stream a dance workout online. So simple, and so fun!
There are truly no downsides to HIIT, and it’s something you need to try yourself to fully experience the benefits. The question is: which workout will you do first? Test them all out at least once and create the perfect HIIT routine for your needs!