For those of you short on time but brimming to the rim in fitness motivation, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is your new best friend! Whether you’re new to HIIT or finding your way back to exercise after some time off, our HIIT workout for beginners will get you fighting fit in just under 20 minutes.
This four-pronged workout may be simple, but it’s by no means easy. Follow Alice as she leads a HIIT workout for beginners, guiding you through three classic bodyweight exercises that target all your major muscle groups and keep your heart rate up. Continue to burn calories hours after the workout is over and, best of all, do it from the convenience of your own four walls.
And as a strong core is pivotal to good exercise form, we’ve thrown in an extra plank sequence to end your workout on a high. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
HIIT workout for beginners: Exercise breakdown
It’s all well and good to follow a workout as is, but it’s even better to know the exact benefits each exercise you perform delivers. So let’s drop a little knowledge about each exercise in this HIIT workout for beginners.
Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, spinal erectors
Benefits: Squats are a popular go-to exercise, not only because they work your core and lower body for a popping booty in one elegant movement; but they also improve day-to-day functional movements e.g., sitting down, getting up and picking up heavy objects.
Variation: If you don’t have the control yet to dip as low as Alice in the video, then you can either perform the exercise with your toes turned slightly further out or dip as low as you can while maintaining proper form. Eventually the more your practice, the lower you’ll go.
Muscles targeted: Pectorals, deltoids, triceps, abdominals
Benefits: There’s a reason this bodyweight exercise never goes out of fashion. This powerful exercise recruits most of the muscles in your arms, chest, and torso, leading to a strong core, defined arms and shoulders, as well as improved all-around posture. Quite effective wouldn’t you say?
Variation: In the video, Alice executes an elevated push-up on a small stool about hip-height. However, if you want to make the exercise more challenging then you can do a regular push-up. Still not challenging enough? Then elevate your feet on a prop like a coffee table or stool.
Remember only challenge yourself to the harder variations if you can execute your push-ups throughout all four rounds with proper form.
Muscles targeted: Triceps, deltoids, pectorals, abdominals
Benefits: Tricep dips are the exercise that’ll help you to develop sculpted arms and shoulders. This compound exercise can be done on any surface (bench, steps, coffee table etc.) and will help you develop increased stabilization of shoulder girdle. Make sure your butt is as close to the prop you’re dipping from, and keep your chest open and head neutral (no slouching!)
Variation: If you’re new to dips, you can start with your knees bent at a 90° angle. Too easy? Then stretch your legs out straight with your feet together creating a straight line from your heels to your hips throughout the exercise.
Muscles targeted: Abdominals, deltoids, glutes, obliques, quadriceps, hamstrings
Benefits: The plank is the Swiss Army Knife of exercises, employing almost every muscle in your body when done correctly. It also champions a powerful core when done regularly, laying the foundation for most exercises and movements. In the above video, Alice demonstrates three types of planks: the standard high plank hold and two dynamic planks — one with knee dips and the other pulsing forward lightly.
Variation: If you have a wrist injury or aren’t quite ready for a high plank, then you can perform the exercise on your forearms as well.
Your 8fit HIIT workout for beginners routine
You’ll be completing four rounds of the following sequence of exercises back-to-back without a break — squats, push-ups, and tricep dips. Marching on the spot for 30 seconds indicates the start of the next round.
Remember to execute all the movements slowly and with control, breathing steadily throughout.
Arm rolls: 20 secs forward, 20 secs back
Inchworms: 5 reps
Slow mountain climbers: 20 secs
Repeat entire sequence four times and drop five reps every following round
Marching in place: 30 secs
Squats: 20-15-10-5 reps
Push-ups: 20-15-10-5 reps
Tricep dips: 20-15-10-5 reps
Bonus plank sequence
Congratulations, you made it through to the end of this wonderful workout! And as sharing is caring, we’re tagging an additional bonus plank sequence onto this HIIT workout for beginners to get that core of yours revved and feeling that sweet, sweet burn. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
Plank hold: 30 secs
Break: 10 secs
Plank with knee dips: 30 secs
Break: 10 secs
Plank forward pulses: 30 secs
Now you’re done, high-five! ✋