High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an extremely effective form of exercise for those looking to get more of a workout (and burn more calories) in less time. It’s the perfect form of exercise for people who are busy and short on time. But it is extremely strenuous on your body so it is not for everyone. For those that have been pondering about HIIT and wanting to get into it, here are some routines for you to try. These are routines for beginners to HIIT. They are design to minimalize the risk of injury and ease you into doing full blown HIIT workout routines. These are workouts I have personally tried. And always remember, warm up and cool down with a light jog and stretch a bit before and after each HIIT workout routine. This is extremely important. There is a big risk of hurting yourself if you do not warm up beforehand. A 5-10 minute warm up and a 5-10 minute cool down should suffice.
HIIT Beginner Workout One
- 60 seconds jump ropes
- 60 seconds box jumps
- 60 seconds burpees
- 60 second farmer carries
Repeat set twice. Rest for 30 seconds between each set (every 4 minutes).
HIIT Beginner Workout Two (M100s)
- Squat thrusts
- Mountain climbers
- Squat jumps
Do all three until you’ve reached 100 total reps (not 100 total for each exercise). I got this from Mike Chang and it is extremely effective and extremely tiring. The reason I put this as a beginner’s workout is because the exercises don’t expose you to injuries. But if you”re not in good shape, you will most likely need to rest between sets. See the original M100 video here.
HIIT Beginner Workout Three
This workout alternates between sprinting and jogging. And by sprint, I really mean sprint—run as fast as you can. Jogging is basically running slowly. This exercise can be done on a treadmill or it can be done outside—your choice. I prefer a track outside while using a timer.
1. 15 seconds sprinting
2. 30 seconds jogging
Repeat this set about 10 times. If you are not in great shape and you are really sprinting, you should be ready to collapse by the 7th or 8th set.
HIIT Beginner Workout Four
1. Squat jumps (30 seconds)
2. Planks (15 seconds)
3. Pushup burpees (30 seconds)
4. Planks (15 seconds)
5. Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
6. Planks (15 seconds)
Repeat the set 5-7 times
HIIT Beginner Workout Five
For this exercise, it would be ideal to have a heavy bag (preferably 80lbs or more) to create resistance. But if you don’t that’s fine. I learned this exercise from my MMA class—and I was absolutely gassed out within 5 minutes. So if are a beginner and you don’t gas out within the first 5 minutes, you’re not working hard enough.
1. Ten Muay Thai roundhouse kicks as fast as you can
2. Rest for 10-15 seconds
Repeat until you can’t do it anymore.
Here are a few tips for doing this kick:
- Pretend you are aiming at your opponent’s thigh or midsection. The more advanced and flexible you are, the higher you can kick.
- As soon as you kick, get your leg back.
- Use your hips to propel the kick. Your hip should be the first thing to move—then your legs will follow.
- Swing your arms downward to kick. If you are kicking with your right leg, swing your right arm down and back as soon as you kick. If you are kicking with your left leg, swing your left arm down and back as soon as you kick.
- Keep the hand that is not swinging up and in front of your face.
For those of you experienced in martial arts, this kick is a little bit different than karate/tae kwon do roundhouse kicks. With Karate or Tae Kwon Do, your legs extend fully and kick with your foot. In Muay Thai, you do not fully extend your legs and you make contact with your shins. This kick is one of the most powerful kicks in Muay Thai’s arsenal and can be extremely vicious. I will post a video soon of this exercise routine.
HIIT Beginner Workout Six
This is another workout I got from my martial arts class. You will need a heavy bag for this. It’s better if the bag is an MMA bag instead of a boxing bag. You will exhausted after 10 minutes.
1. 20 seconds of punching and kicking the bag as fast as you can
2. 20 seconds rest
After about ten minutes, you should have done 15 sets. Trust me, if you’ve punched and kicked as fast as you can, 10 minutes is more than enough to tire you out.
HIIT Beginner Workout Seven
This is HIIT workout is really easy. If you don’t have a lot of room, this is the perfect exercise; it doesn’t require you to move anywhere. Here is the exercise:
- Do high knees for 30 seconds
- Rest for 30 seconds
See how long you can go. If you can go for about 5 minutes, you are really fit.
If you don’t know what high knees are, check out our bodyweight exercise guide to see how to do them.
I will add more beginner HIIT workouts as I do more. But for now, try these. Any of these will be extremely effective if you are willing to put in the work. Any form of exercise is self-regulated. You will get out of it however much you put in. So if you want to get maximum output from these HIIT workout routines, put in maximum input. Good luck!