Want to Get In Shape Without The Time Commitment? Try One Of These HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Side Lunges, High-Intensity Interval Training Outdoors.

Time is a precious commodity these days, and carving out a couple of hours for a workout every day or even a few times a week isn't something many of us can afford. Luckily, there's a solution to this particular problem, and it comes in the form of high-intensity interval training or HIIT.

HIIT has been proven to boost metabolism, build strength, and offer the same benefits of a moderate-intensity workout in a shorter amount of time. “A HIIT workout typically consists of short intervals with short rest intervals as well," says Emily Hutchins, a certified personal trainer with RSP Nutrition. "A traditional HIIT class is metabolic, meaning your heart rate is going to be elevated for the majority of the workout, therefore the entire workout might only be 20-30 minutes in duration.”

Another great thing about HIIT? You don't need much equipment, except an exercise mat and a jump rope every now and then. You’re already ready to hit the gym, find a spot at home, or at the park to jump, tuck, press, and pull your way to a healthier way of life. “If you are a beginner, do a high-intensity workout one time per week and low-intensity workouts two to four times per week to supplement until your fitness level improves,” advises Lyuda Bouzinova, ACE-certified personal trainer and co-founder of Mission Lean.

Ready to get started? Here are five 30-minute HIIT workouts for beginners that require little to no equipment. Enjoy!

HIIT Workouts For Beginners

Workout 1: Drills

Hutchins suggests doing drills as a workout twice a week and mixing them up. “Go through this workout three times for 30 seconds each and you’ll crush a solid 200 or more calories,” she says.

Jump Rope

Revert back to your childhood and grab a jump rope. It’s a great way to get in a calorie-burning cardio workout.  “All you’ll need is a rope and you’re set. If jumping rope isn’t your thing, pretend you have a rope and do without,” says Hutchins. Focus on moving your wrists to rotate the rope, and jump when the rope comes down. This exercise tones your shoulders and calves, and strengthens your core.


You’ll need your exercise mat for this exercise to strengthen your core. Planks use multiple muscles to stabilize the spine, including your abs, back, hips, arms, and shoulders. “Face down on your elbows or your hands, hold your body weight up [for 10 to 20 seconds, building up to 60 seconds] and use your core to stay strong,” says Hutchins.


If you’re wanting to work on your arms, then push-ups are a good way to strengthen them and your core. “In a plank position or with your knees on the floor, lower your body weight to the floor and at one time, use your chest, arms and core strength to pick yourself back up,” advises Hutchins.

Air Squats

This exercise requires you to stand with your feet hip-width apart, sit towards the floor and stand back up. “If this isn’t tough enough, add a weight or something heavy to hold and breath in on the way down, exhale on the way up,” explains Hutchins.

Jumping Jacks

This an oldie, but tried and true goodie. Start with your feet together, jump with them apart and move your arms. If you add some speed, Hutchins says that will get your heart rate going.

Related: Boost Metabolism, Burn Fat, and Feel Great with HIIT

Workout 2: More Drills

For this workout, Hutchins advises repeating this set of drills five times for 30 seconds each and then resting for 10 seconds in between.

Walkout to Push-up

Start from a standing position, bend over reaching for the toes, and walk out on the hands into a plank position for one push-up. Hutchins says to hold it for 2 seconds before walking back up to a standing position.

Alternating Step-Back Lunges

Work those legs out. “Step one leg back, bend both knees, isolate the forward leg and step back up together,” says Hutchins.

Tricep Dips

You’ll need a chair for this exercise. “Walk your hands to the edge of the chair and sit tall, from there bend the elbows, lower yourself down until your upper arm is parallel with the ground and push back up,” says Hutchins.

Air Squats

With this exercise, you will work your legs. Feet must be past hip-width apart. Hutchins says to sink back into your heels and lower yourself down before lifting back up.

Mountain Climbers

From plank position, march one knee to the chest, alternate legs and go as quickly as possible. This will blast the core.

Related: Four Squat Mistakes You Might Be Making

Workout 3: Running

Running is a versatile workout that can be done inside or outside, on a treadmill or without one.

“To turn it into a HIIT workout simply intersperse periods of sprinting with periods of jogging, walking, or rest depending on your fitness level,” says Bouzinova. “For example, you could do a five-minute run at a moderate pace to warm up and then head into a 60-second sprint at your absolute fastest speed, then stop and rest for one to two minutes and go again. Remember, HIIT is all about the intensity and not the time spent at that intensity,” she adds.

Related: Sterling K. Brown’s Insane Fitness Routine Includes Burpees, Pull-Ups, and "Butt-Ups"

Workout 4: Bodyweight HIIT 

A bodyweight HIIT workout can also be done anywhere as long as you know ahead of time what moves you plan to do.

“If you are doing this workout at home make sure you are wearing sneakers to prevent injury. The easiest way to do this is to follow along with a list or a video until you learn the moves. If you're looking for extra variety you can use an app like Mission Lean which specializes in HIIT workouts for the lean body,” explains Bouzinova.

Workout 5: Circuits 

Jillian Michaels, the creator of The Fitness App, suggests doing the following workout that includes two circuits. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then take 10 seconds of rest in between. Michaels says to repeat these exercises from the top one time before moving on to the next circuit of exercises. These can all be found on her fitness app.

Circuit 1:

  • Crossover jacks

  • Behind the back jacks

  • Burpees

  • High knees

  • Jog in place

  • Butt kicks

  • Plie pops

  • Speed rope

  • Alt knee thrusts side

  • Alt snap kicks

Circuit 2:

  • Fast feet

  • Running man with lat pull

  • Alternate punches

  • Speed rope

  • Rockstar jumps

  • Modified mountain climbers

  • Uppercut punches

  • Surfer get ups

  • Long jump run around

  • Modified star jumps

After the workout, Michaels suggests a five-minute stretch cool down.

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