HIIT Workout With Weights: 8-Minute Strength and Cardio Routine

Written by
Emily @ 8fit
Alba, woman, Russian twists with weight, kettlebell
Written by
Emily @ 8fit
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Adding weights to your workouts is a brilliant way to increase muscular strength, endurance, power, as well as muscle size too. Aside from all of those muscle-centric benefits, weightlifting also helps build bone density, improves heart health, aids postural imbalances and enhances motor performance.

No matter your age or fitness level, we recommend adding resistance training to your routine once or twice per week so you can reap all those health benefits of weight training. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, it can be as simple as incorporating weights to your current 8fit HIIT program. Try holding a kettlebell (or toddler) while doing squats and lunges or dumbbells while performing Russian twists or calf raises.

HIIT workout with weights

If you’re ready to add a full dumbbell workout to your routine, join coaches for a full-body, free weight workout. It’ll take about eight minutes to complete. We suggest you follow along and pause the video any time you need to rest. Next time you try it, see if you can move faster (but, only if you can execute the exercises with proper form).

Here’s what you can expect: nine different exercises broken up by thrusters. A thruster is essentially a squat paired with an overhead press at the top of the movement; a move a lot of our CrossFitters are familiar with. You’ll start with one thruster, then switch to exercise number one. Then, you’ll do two thrusters followed by exercise number two. You with us? Good. Now here’s the workout.

Thruster 1x

Squats | 10 reps

1. Stand straight with shoulders above hips, holding dumbells by your sides
2. Drop hips back and down; keep knees behind toes, hip and ankle in line so knees do not collapse inward
3. Drop hips as low as possible
4. Drive weight into heels to stand back up to start position

Thrusters 2x

Shoulder Press | 10 reps

1. Stand feet hip-width apart holding dumbells with palms facing each other resting on shoulders
2. Slowly press dumbells up towards the ceiling
3. Squeeze shoulder muscles at the top and hold for a second
4. Slowly lower back down to start position

Thrusters 3x

Lateral raises | 10 resp

1. Stand feet hip-width apart, hold dumbbells with palms facing each other
2. Engage core, with slight bend in arms slowly lift arms to the side, palms face floor
3. Once arms reach shoulder-height, pause at the top
4. Slowly lower hands back down to start position

Thrusters 4x

Front raises | 10 reps

1. Stand straight, band under one foot, arms relaxed at sides of body holding band
2. Engage core, keep slight bend in arms and slowly lift arms in front
3. Once arms reach shoulder-height, pause at the top
4. Slowly lower hands back down to start position

Thrusters 5x

Back flies | 10 reps

1. Stand feet hip-width apart
2. Hinge at the hips until chest is almost parallel with the floor, knees slighly bent, hands hang with weights, palms facing each other
3. Lift straight arms out to the side until shoulder-height, palms face floor
4. Lower hands back down to start position

Thrusters 6x

Romanian deadlifts | 10 reps (5 each side)

1. Stand feet hip-width apart, hold dumbells by your sides
2. Ground weight into right foot to create a stable base
3. Lead with chest to lower torso and raise left leg behind until body is parallel to the floor
4. Drive weight into your heel as you slowly return to start position

Thrusters 7x

Back lunges | 10 reps, alternating

1. Stand feet shoulder-width apart, holding weights by sides
2. Step backward with one leg, bending knee to drop hips
3. Descend until rear knee nearly touches floor and front knee is directly above ankle
4. Drive through heel of lead foot and push off rear foot to return back to start position

Thrusters 8x

Tricep extensions | 10 reps

1. Stand feet hip-width apart, hold dumbells behind head, elbows bent and tight to ears
2. Keep elbows tight, straigthen arms to slowly lift dumbells towards ceiling
3. Squeeze triceps muscles at the top and hold for a second
4. Slowly lower hands back down to start position

Thrusters 9x

Renegade rows | 10 reps

1. Begin on floor holding dumbbells with hands directly under shoulders and feet slightly wider than hip-width apart
2. Step legs behind with feet hip width apart and toes curled under and lift hips keeping chest in front of hands
3. Tense every muscle in body to form a straight line from head through heels at all times
4. Ground weight in one hand to lift weight in other hand towards chest, drive elbows behind body
5. Slowly lower weight back to ground and repeat with other side

How weightlifting helps your day-to-day

Adding an extra load to a workout helps build strength and power, but before you do this, it’s important to learn how to lift properly. Learning to lift weights properly will ensure you don’t injure yourself when doing day-to-day activities like unloading the dishwasher, lifting your kids, or moving heavy objects. Keep the rule of threes in mind:

  • 3-second rule: If it’ll take more than three seconds to bend down and pick up what’s on the floor (like a squirmy child), it’s best to perform a squat for this lift.

  • 3 kg rule: A squat is the best position to lift something that weighs more than 3 kg (6lb). This'll help you lift with your legs instead of your back.

  • 3 times rule: If you’re going to bend more than three times in a row, do squats or lunges for these lifts.

  • ⅓ of your height rule: If an object is lower than ⅓ of your height, do a squat or lunge to pick it up. If an object is at knee height or mid-thigh, you could do a deadlift.

Will this HIIT workout with weights make me bulky?

You can rest assured that some of those weight lifting claims you’ve heard just aren’t true. First of all, it is possible to build muscle and increase strength without weights. Bodyweight exercises, like the ones in your 8fit program, are a fun way to do this. For example, you might start with push-ups on the wall and gradually make your way to the floor as you get stronger. Also, weight lifting won’t make you bulky unless that’s your goal. Getting bulky requires high-calorie and high-protein nutrition. Finally, weightlifting isn’t bad for your joints. In fact, it could be good for them (especially as you grow older).

Before you add any weight...

We always suggest practicing movements without weights first, only including weights once you perfect your form. It’s important to feel the movement first. Use a mirror to check in. When you do pick up some weights, start light. Once your form is correct and the movement feels good, increase the weight load. How much weight is enough? Learn how to choose a weight in our strength building article.

Want to learn more about HIIT? Here's everything you need to know about HIIT Training.

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