The Comprehensive HIIT Exercises List
Table of Contents
Welcome to the ultimate HIIT exercises list, where you’ll discover an extensive range of high-intensity interval training workouts that cater to various fitness goals and individual needs. As a certified Level 3 personal trainer based in Bicester, Oxfordshire, UK, with expertise in HIIT, I’ve curated this comprehensive collection of exercises designed to help you burn calories, increase strength, and improve endurance. Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or targeted workouts for beginners, runners, over 50s, kids, women, bad knees, or belly fat reduction, you’ll find the perfect HIIT exercises right here.
HIIT workouts involve alternating between short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief recovery periods, which can be either active or passive. This training method has been proven to be incredibly effective for improving cardiovascular fitness, torching calories, and promoting overall health. The beauty of HIIT is that it’s adaptable to any fitness level and can be tailored to target specific goals.
How to Create a HIIT Workout
To create your personalized HIIT workout from our HIIT exercises list, choose 4-6 exercises from the relevant section in this HIIT exercises list. For example, if you’re focusing on weight loss, pick exercises from the “HIIT Exercises for Weight Loss” section. Next, set a work-to-rest ratio suitable for your fitness level, such as 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest. Beginners may prefer a 1:2 ratio, with 20 seconds of work and 40 seconds of rest. Complete the chosen exercises in a circuit format, repeating the entire circuit 3-4 times, with a 1-2 minute break between each round.
By incorporating these HIIT exercises into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your desired fitness outcomes. So, dive into this extensive list and find the perfect combination of exercises to suit your unique goals and preferences. Let’s get started on your HIIT fitness journey!
1. HIIT Exercises for Weight Loss
Jump-start your weight loss journey with these high-intensity HIIT exercises that are designed to burn calories, boost metabolism, and improve overall fitness. By incorporating both cardiovascular and strength training components, you’ll create a well-rounded workout plan that maximises fat loss and helps you shed those extra pounds more efficiently.
Begin in a standing position, squat down, place your hands on the ground, and jump your feet back into a plank. Jump your feet back to your hands, then jump up with your arms overhead. This full-body exercise torches calories, builds strength, and improves cardiovascular fitness.
1.2. Jump Squats
Perform a regular squat, then explosively jump into the air, landing softly back into a squat. This plyometric exercise targets your lower body while elevating your heart rate for increased calorie burn.
1.3. Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position and alternate driving your knees towards your chest. This dynamic exercise works your core, upper body, and lower body while keeping your heart rate elevated for maximum fat loss.
1.4. High Knees
Run in place while lifting your knees as high as possible. This cardiovascular exercise improves endurance and helps to burn calories quickly.
1.5. Push Up Jacks
Perform a push-up, then jump your feet out to the sides and back in, similar to a jumping jack. This compound exercise strengthens your upper body, core, and lower body while boosting your metabolism and promoting weight loss.
2. HIIT Exercises for Muscle Gain
Build lean muscle mass and increase your strength with these HIIT exercises designed to target various muscle groups. By combining high-intensity intervals with resistance training, you’ll create an effective workout plan that promotes muscle hypertrophy and improves overall physical performance.
2.1. Goblet Squats
Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at your chest and perform a squat, maintaining an upright torso and driving your hips back. This exercise targets your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, helping to build lower body strength.
2.2. Renegade Rows
Begin in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Perform a row by lifting one dumbbell towards your ribcage, then switch sides. This exercise engages your back, shoulders, and core for a well-rounded upper body workout.
2.3. Dumbbell Thrusters
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, squat down, then explosively stand up and press the weights overhead. This compound exercise works your lower and upper body, promoting muscle gain throughout your entire physique.
2.4. Plyometric Push Ups
Perform a push-up and explosively push off the ground, creating enough height to clap your hands before landing back into the push-up position. This advanced variation targets your chest, triceps, and shoulders while building explosive power.
2.5. Weighted Lunges
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and step forward into a lunge, lowering your back knee towards the ground. Push back to the starting position and alternate legs. This exercise strengthens your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, contributing to overall muscle gain.
2.6. Pull Ups
Using a pull-up bar, grip the bar with your palms facing away from you, and pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Lower back down with control. This exercise works your back, shoulders, and biceps, promoting upper body muscle development.
2.7. Box Jumps with Dumbbells
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and jump onto a sturdy box or platform, landing with both feet, then step or jump back down. This exercise combines plyometric training with resistance, helping to build power and muscle in your lower body.
2.8. Kettlebell Swings
Hold a kettlebell with both hands and perform a swinging motion, using your hips to drive the weight forward while maintaining a strong core and straight back. This full-body exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, back, and shoulders, contributing to overall muscle growth.
3. HIIT Exercises for Beginners
If you’re new to HIIT workouts or just starting your fitness journey, these beginner-friendly exercises provide a solid foundation to build upon. These exercises are designed to be accessible, low-impact, and easy to modify, allowing you to gradually progress and improve your fitness level over time.
3.1. Modified Push Ups
Perform a push-up with your knees on the ground, maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. This modification reduces the difficulty of traditional push-ups while still targeting your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
3.2. Step Ups
Using a sturdy bench or step, step up with one foot, followed by the other, then step back down. This low-impact exercise targets your lower body and can be easily adjusted to match your fitness level.
3.3. Plank Shoulder Taps
Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Tap one shoulder with the opposite hand, then switch sides. This beginner-friendly core exercise helps improve stability and balance.
3.4. Seated Russian Twists
Sit on the ground with your knees bent, lean back slightly, and twist your torso side to side, tapping the ground next to your hip. This exercise works your obliques and is a great introduction to core training.
3.5. Modified Jumping Jacks
Instead of jumping, step one foot out to the side while raising your arms overhead, then step back in and alternate sides. This low-impact variation of jumping jacks provides a cardiovascular workout without excessive stress on your joints.
3.6. Stationary Lunges
Stand with one foot in front of the other and lower your back knee towards the ground, keeping your front knee at a 90-degree angle. Push back up and repeat for the desired number of repetitions before switching legs. This exercise targets your lower body and is suitable for beginners.
3.7. Standing Leg Lifts
Stand with your hands on your hips and lift one leg out to the side, then lower it back down. Repeat on the other side. This exercise works your outer thigh muscles and helps improve balance and stability.
3.8. Wall Sit
Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for the desired amount of time, engaging your core and lower body muscles. This beginner-friendly exercise builds lower body strength and endurance.
4. HIIT Exercises for Runners
Boost your running performance and prevent injury with these HIIT exercises tailored to the specific needs of runners. Incorporating these exercises into your training regimen will help improve your endurance, speed, and overall running efficiency while targeting essential muscle groups for a well-rounded workout plan.
4.1. Skater Jumps
Start in a slight squat position, jump to the side, and land on one leg, swinging the opposite leg behind you. Then, jump to the other side, alternating legs. This plyometric exercise targets your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, improving lateral strength and stability crucial for runners.
4.2. Hill Sprints
Find a hill with a moderate incline and sprint up it for a set distance or time. Walk or jog back down to recover, then repeat. Hill sprints build leg strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and increase running efficiency.
4.3. Single-Leg Deadlifts
Stand on one leg, holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in the opposite hand. Hinge at the hip and lower the weight towards the ground while keeping your back straight and raising your free leg behind you. Return to the starting position and switch sides. This exercise strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back while improving balance and stability.
4.4. Lateral Bounds
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump sideways, landing on one foot while swinging your arms in the opposite direction. Quickly switch sides and continue to alternate. This exercise enhances lateral strength and agility, which is vital for injury prevention and improved running performance.
4.5. Tuck Jumps
Start in a standing position and explosively jump into the air, bringing your knees up towards your chest. Land softly and immediately jump again. Tuck jumps increase power and explosiveness in your lower body, translating to faster running speeds.
4.6. Plank with Leg Lifts
Begin in a plank position and lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight. Lower it back down and alternate legs. This core exercise strengthens the muscles responsible for stabilising your hips and spine during running.
4.7. High Knee Sprints
Run in place, driving your knees as high as possible and pumping your arms. This exercise helps develop your hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings, essential for maintaining proper running form.
4.8. Butt Kicks
Jog in place while kicking your heels towards your glutes. This exercise stretches your quads and helps improve your running stride and efficiency.
5. HIIT Exercises for Over 50s
Maintaining an active lifestyle and staying fit as you age is crucial for overall health and well-being. These HIIT exercises are tailored for individuals over 50, focusing on low-impact movements and exercises that promote strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness while accommodating any physical limitations.
5.1. Chair Squats
Stand in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Lower your hips towards the chair, stopping just before you sit down, then stand back up. This low-impact exercise targets your lower body while providing support and stability.
5.2. Side Leg Raises
Stand with your feet together and hands on your hips. Lift one leg out to the side, then lower it back down. Repeat on the other side. This exercise strengthens your hip abductors and improves balance.
5.3. Modified Plank
Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your knees resting on a mat. Hold this position, engaging your core muscles. This modification reduces the strain on your lower back and shoulders while still working your core.
5.4. Arm Circles
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms out to the sides. Make small circles with your arms, first in one direction, then in the opposite direction. This exercise targets your shoulder muscles and improves mobility.
5.5. Seated Bicycle Crunches
Sit on the edge of a chair, lean back slightly, and place your hands behind your head. Bring one knee towards your chest while twisting your torso to bring the opposite elbow towards your knee. Alternate sides. This low-impact core exercise engages your abdominal muscles without stressing your spine.
5.6. Standing Calf Raises
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise your heels off the ground, balancing on the balls of your feet. Lower back down with control. This exercise strengthens your calf muscles and improves balance and stability.
5.7. Seated Leg Extensions
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise your heels off the ground, balancing on the balls of your feet. Lower back down with control. This exercise strengthens your calf muscles and improves balance and stability.
5.8. Standing Rows with Resistance Bands
Secure a resistance band around a sturdy post or railing. Stand facing the anchor point and grasp the ends of the band with your palms facing each other. Pull the band towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then slowly release. This exercise strengthens your upper back and shoulders while promoting good posture.
6. HIIT Exercises for Kids
Encouraging an active lifestyle in children is essential for their physical and mental well-being. These kid-friendly HIIT exercises are designed to be fun, engaging, and adaptable for various fitness levels. They promote cardiovascular fitness, coordination, and overall strength while keeping kids entertained and motivated.
6.1. Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet together and hands by your sides. Jump your feet out to the sides while raising your arms overhead, then jump back to the starting position. This classic exercise is a fun way to increase heart rate and improve coordination.
6.2. Crab Walks
Sit on the ground with your feet flat and your hands behind you. Lift your hips off the ground and walk forward and backward using your hands and feet. This fun and challenging exercise works the whole body and improves coordination.
6.3. Bear Crawls
Start in a tabletop position with your hands and feet on the ground. Crawl forward, moving your opposite hand and foot simultaneously while keeping your hips low. This playful exercise engages the entire body and helps develop coordination.
6.4. Frog Jumps
Begin in a squat position with your hands touching the ground. Jump forward, propelling yourself with your legs and landing back in the squat position. This energetic exercise targets the lower body and increases cardiovascular fitness.
6.5. Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Bring one knee towards your chest, then switch legs quickly, mimicking a running motion. This exercise helps improve cardiovascular fitness and engages the core and lower body muscles.
6.6. Bicycle Crunches
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs in the air. Bring one knee towards your chest while twisting your torso to bring the opposite elbow towards your knee. Alternate sides. This exercise engages the abdominal muscles and improves core strength.
Using a jump rope, skip in place, alternating feet or jumping with both feet together. Skipping is an enjoyable way to increase cardiovascular fitness, coordination, and agility.
6.8. Hula Hoop
Use a hula hoop and move your hips in a circular motion to keep the hoop spinning around your waist. This fun activity improves core strength, balance, and coordination while providing a cardiovascular workout.
7. HIIT Exercises for Women
These HIIT exercises are specifically designed for women, focusing on building strength, endurance, and flexibility while targeting common areas of interest, such as the lower body and core. Incorporate these exercises into your routine for a well-rounded workout plan that promotes overall fitness and well-being.
7.1. Squat Jumps
Start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Jump up explosively, extending your legs and reaching for the sky. Land softly back in the squat position. This dynamic exercise targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings while improving cardiovascular fitness.
7.2. Curtsy Lunges
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Step one foot diagonally behind the other, bending both knees to form a curtsy motion. Push back up and alternate sides. This exercise targets the glutes, hips, and thighs while improving balance and stability.
7.3. Push Up to Side Plank
Perform a push-up, then rotate your body to one side, extending your arm towards the sky in a side plank. Rotate back to the starting position, complete another push-up, and switch sides. This compound exercise works the chest, shoulders, arms, and core, promoting overall upper body strength.
7.4. Glute Bridges
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top, then lower back down. This exercise targets the glutes and lower back, helping to shape and strengthen the posterior chain.
7.5. Reverse Crunches
Lie on your back with your hands by your sides and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Lift your hips off the ground, bringing your knees towards your chest, then lower back down with control. This core exercise focuses on the lower abdominal muscles for a stronger and more defined midsection.
7.6. Tricep Dips
Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with your hands gripping the edge, fingers pointing forward. Lower your body down by bending your elbows, then push back up to the starting position. This exercise targets the triceps, shaping and toning the back of the arms.
7.7. Lateral Lunges
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Step one foot out to the side, bending the knee and pushing your hips back while keeping the other leg straight. Push back up and repeat on the other side. This lower body exercise targets the inner and outer thighs, improving overall leg strength and flexibility.
7.8. Russian Twists
Sit on the ground with your knees bent, lean back slightly, and hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands. Twist your torso side to side, tapping the weight on the ground next to your hip. This core exercise engages the obliques and helps sculpt a strong, toned midsection.
8. HIIT Exercises for Bad Knees
Exercising with bad knees can be challenging, but it’s essential to maintain an active lifestyle and strengthen the muscles around your joints. These low-impact HIIT exercises are designed to be gentle on the knees while still providing an effective workout that targets multiple muscle groups and improves overall fitness.
8.1. Modified Squats
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Lower your body into a shallow squat, ensuring your knees don’t extend past your toes. Stand back up and repeat. This modification reduces stress on the knees while still targeting the lower body.
8.2. Side Lying Leg Lifts
Lie on your side with your legs stacked and your head resting on your arm. Lift the top leg towards the ceiling, keeping it straight, then lower it back down. Repeat on the other side. This exercise strengthens the hip abductors without straining the knees.
8.3. Seated Leg Press
Using a leg press machine, sit with your back firmly against the pad and place your feet on the platform. Push the weight away from you by extending your legs, then slowly return to the starting position. This controlled exercise targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes without putting undue stress on the knees.
8.4. Bird Dog
Begin in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground. Extend one arm and the opposite leg, keeping them straight and aligned with your body. Return to the starting position and switch sides. This exercise strengthens your core and lower back without putting pressure on your knees.
8.5. Low Impact Step-Ups
Using a low step or sturdy platform, step up with one foot and bring the other foot up to meet it. Step back down and alternate sides. This low-impact version of step-ups reduces knee strain while still engaging the lower body.
8.6. Resistance Band Kickbacks
Secure a resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Kick one leg straight back, keeping your foot flexed and engaging your glutes. Return to the starting position and switch sides. This exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings without stressing the knees.
8.7. Modified Plank
Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your knees resting on a mat. Hold this position, engaging your core muscles. This modification reduces the strain on your knees while still working your core.
8.8. Standing Knee Raises
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Lift one knee towards your chest, then lower it back down. Alternate sides. This low-impact exercise helps maintain hip mobility and engages the core without aggravating the knees.
9. HIIT Exercises for Belly Fat
Burning belly fat requires a combination of cardiovascular exercise and targeted strength training. These HIIT exercises are designed to elevate your heart rate, engage your core muscles, and help you shed excess fat in the abdominal region. Incorporate these exercises into your routine to see visible results and achieve a leaner, more toned midsection.
9.1. High Knees
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise one knee towards your chest, then quickly switch to the other knee. Continue alternating at a fast pace, pumping your arms in sync with your legs. This cardio exercise engages the core and burns calories.
9.2. Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Bring one knee towards your chest, then switch legs quickly, mimicking a running motion. This full-body exercise raises your heart rate and targets your abdominal muscles.
Begin in a standing position, squat down and place your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, perform a push-up, jump your feet back to your hands, and jump up, reaching for the sky. This compound exercise boosts your metabolism and works the entire body, including the core.
9.4. Plank Jacks
Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and feet together. Jump your feet out to the sides, then jump back to the starting position. This dynamic exercise engages the core and increases cardiovascular fitness.
9.5. Bicycle Crunches
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs in the air. Bring one knee towards your chest while twisting your torso to bring the opposite elbow towards your knee. Alternate sides. This exercise targets the entire abdominal region, including the obliques.
9.6. Flutter Kicks
Lie on your back with your legs straight and your hands under your glutes. Lift your legs slightly off the ground and alternate raising and lowering them in a scissor-like motion. This exercise targets the lower abdominal muscles and helps to reduce belly fat.
9.7. Russian Twists
Sit on the ground with your knees bent, lean back slightly, and hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands. Twist your torso side to side, tapping the weight on the ground next to your hip. This core exercise engages the obliques and helps to tone the waistline.
9.8. skater Hops
Start in a standing position, hop to one side, landing on one foot while sweeping the other leg behind you. Push off with the landing foot and hop to the other side. This lateral movement increases cardiovascular fitness, burns calories, and engages the core for stability.
In conclusion, this comprehensive HIIT exercises list offers a variety of workouts designed to meet your specific fitness goals and needs. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, start as a beginner, improve your running, cater to the over 50s, engage kids in fitness, focus on women’s fitness, protect your knees, or target belly fat, these HIIT exercises have you covered.
As a certified Level 3 personal trainer based in Bicester, Oxfordshire, UK, with expertise in HIIT, I can assure you that incorporating these exercises into your routine will not only increase your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and endurance but also help you achieve the desired results. So go ahead and explore these high-intensity interval training exercises to find the perfect combination that works best for you and your fitness journey.
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