Outdoor HIIT Workouts for More Time in the Sunshine

If you don't feel like going to the gym when the weather is nice, own it.

Do these outdoor HIIT workouts to break a sweat without the gym. (Image: Getty Images / Maskot)

Doctors have prescribed spending time outside for a long time, and recent research agrees: Spending just two hours in nature a week can help boost your health and well-being, according to a June 2019 article published in Scientific Reports. It doesn't matter how you slice up that time — it can be a half hour or even 15 minutes at a time — the health benefits are the same.

Why You Should Do a HIIT Workout Outside

HIIT, which stands for high-intensity interval training, involves short workouts, about 15 to 30 minutes long, and relies on short bursts of work combined with brief recovery periods. You can do HIIT just about anywhere, anytime and without equipment, which makes it a natural choice for outdoor workouts.

Selena Samuela, a tread instructor for Peloton, is a big fan of HIIT and loves the creativity that comes with using the landscape around you to add resistance to your sweat session. "When designing a HIIT workout of your own outside, take into consideration your surroundings," she says. "Body weight is definitely the easiest and most user-friendly way to work out outside, but I love using nature as props."

Tip

Be creative: Use a rock as medicine ball to slam on a sandy beach, or a tree in place of a wall for wall sits.

Need more inspiration? Here are some HIIT workouts you can do outside.

Outdoor HIIT Workout 1: Work Your Endurance

If you do this regularly, you'll start to see improvements in your body and endurance within one to two weeks, says Monique Crous, a New York-based certified personal trainer and creator of the exercise program HOT HIIT.

Warm-Up

  • 3 minutes of light jogging (in place, if you want to)
  • 1 to 2 minutes of jumping jacks

Exercises

  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 30 seconds of squats
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 6 times total
  • 20 seconds of squat thrusts
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 30 seconds of bicycle crunches
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 6 times total
  • 20 seconds of plank up-downs (commandos)
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 30 seconds of hip ups (lie on your back with your legs in the air and lift your hips off the ground)
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 6 times total

Cooldown

  • 3 to 5 minutes stretching

Outdoor HIIT Workout 2: Target Your Lower-Body and Abs

"Always be aware of your form and make sure your movement stems from your core, even if that means slowing it down a bit," says Crous, who also designed the following routine.

Warm-Up

  • 3 minutes of light jogging (in place, if you want to)
  • 1 to 2 minutes of jumping jacks

Exercises

  • 20 seconds of plank jacks (from a plank, jump feet apart and together)
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 30 seconds of chair pose squats
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 20 seconds of high knees
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 30 seconds of flutter kicks
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 6 times total
  • 20 seconds of cross-body mountain climbers (knee goes toward opposite elbow)
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 8 times total
  • 30 seconds of glute bridges
  • Rest 10 seconds and repeat 6 times total

Cooldown

  • 3 to 5 minutes stretching

Outdoor HIIT Workout 3: Build Up to Burpees

"The best place to do a HIIT outdoor workout is a park," says Ali Stamler, creator of LivFit With Ali, a HIIT circuit-training studio in Miami. "Usually parks will have benches, areas to run, climbing stations for pull-ups and dips and different objects to get creative with."

Warm-Up

Do 30 seconds of each of the following exercises:

  • Knee to chest pull (alternate legs)
  • Leg swings (15 seconds on each leg)
  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • Side shuffles
  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Fire feet (bend knees, crouch slightly forward and run in place)

Circuit 1

Do 40 seconds of each, resting 15 seconds between exercises.

  • Jump squats
  • Forearm plank
  • Mountain climbers
  • Repeat 4 times total
  • Rest 1 minute

Circuit 2

Do 40 seconds of each, resting 15 seconds between exercises.

  • Walking lunges
  • Sit-ups
  • Speed skater to high skip
  • Repeat 4 times total
  • Rest 1 minute

Circuit 3

Do 40 seconds of each, resting 15 seconds between exercises.

  • Push-ups with shoulder taps
  • Supermans
  • Burpees
  • Repeat 4 times total

Cooldown

  • 5 minutes of stretching

Outdoor HIIT Workout 4: Start Sprinting

This 15- to 20-minute HIIT routine, designed by Samuela, will get your heart pumping and create an optimal cycle of energy bursts and brief rests so you can make the most of your workout. The best place for this circuit is a flat, open area with room for sprints and a tree or wall you can use as a prop.

Warm-Up

Do 3 rounds of each.

  • 30 seconds of big jacks/little jacks (become as compact as possible, then explode into the standard star shape, with arms and legs out)
  • 10 seconds of jab-cross punching
  • Rest

Circuit 1

Do 3 rounds, 30 seconds of each, resting between exercises.

  • Bear plank
  • Wall squat hold (on a tree trunk)
  • Rest

Circuit 2

Do 3 rounds, alternating sprints and both types of planks, resting between each circuit.

  • 50-yard sprint between two points or two trees
  • Stop at one end and drop down into a plank, holding for 10 seconds
  • 20 seconds of plank taps, tapping the tree one hand at a time

Repeat each circuit at least once.

Cooldown

  • 3 to 5 minutes of light walking and stretching
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