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High-Intensity Short-Duration Workouts

author image Rebecca Wylie
Rebecca Wylie has more than 10 years experience in health and fitness. She has worked as a personal trainer, exercise instructor, competed in a fitness competition and has several half marathons under her belt. She also holds a master's degree in sport and health science.
High-Intensity Short-Duration Workouts
You don't need a lot of time or room to break a sweat. Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

After setting your alarm for the fifth time this, and still not getting out of bed early to work out, you realize once again you're not going to workout. Don't give up just yet. With a few minutes of your time, its still possible to increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping.

Lets Get It Started

Before starting your workout, begin with at least a five minute warm up. Your warm up should include a low intensity cardiovascular activity or activities such as jogging in place, jumping jacks or a light jog. Create a warm up that is specific to your program by using exercises that target specific muscles. An example would be using high knees, butt kicks, or lunges. There are many benefits to warming up including increased blood flow, increased heart rate, and warming up your muscles.

Nothing But The Basics

When you’re short on time but still need to work out, grab a jump rope. Try various techniques when jumping rope such as high knees, side to side, and squat jumps. If it has been a while since you have jumped rope, start slowly aiming for 30 seconds. Try and perform as many 30 second sets as you can but, be sure to rest in between. If you don’t have access to a jump rope, that’s okay jumping jacks will do just fine. For more intense exercises try adding mountain climbers or bear crawls, these full body movements not only get your heart pumping but also work your entire body. Slowly increase your time while decreasing your rest time. A few sets and you’ll be sweating in no time.

Go Outside

There are many activities you can do outside, including sprints and running. If you normally run outside, try changing your program. Instead of running long distances all week, use one day to run short distances for time. For example, instead of running a few miles, run one mile as fast as you can run. Sprints can also be added to your program including shuttle runs or running for a specified distance such as 40 yards 10 times. To increase your intensity add pushups in between your sprints.


Plyometrics have been shown to improve power, strength and endurance. Squat jumps, burpee’s, single leg hops, scissors, and box jumps are movements that you can do just about anywhere. For box jumps, use a stair if you don’t have access to a box. Before beginning plyometrics be sure to try the movements first in order to practice the technique and form. You may find your heart rate increasing rapidly with these full body movements. Start slowly aiming for five to 10 repetitions, increasing the number once you’re able to perform 10 repetitions with resting.

Variety Is The Key

Don’t be afraid to change your program often. If you’re lifting weights, try using these exercises in between sets to increase your heart rate. On a strictly cardio day, aim for at least 25 to 30 minutes, if you don’t have enough time, exercise for long as long as you can. Any amount is better than nothing.

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