From there, you can apply this concept to your favorite form of exercise, like cardio, strength training, body-weight exercises or plyometrics. And the rep schemes you can use are just as diverse as the types of exercises:
- Tabata: A four-minute workout consisting of eight rounds of 20 seconds at max intensity and 10 seconds of rest. Like this 4-minute Tabata workout.
- EMOM: Perform a set number of reps as quickly as possible every minute on the minute, then rest the remainder of the minute.
- AMRAP: Do as many reps as possible (hence the name) in a given amount of time.
- Circuit Training: Complete a series of exercises back to back, then rest for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Pick any amount of time to rest and work (ex. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off or 45 seconds on, 15 off). Need more inspiration? Here's how to build your own HIIT workout.
About That HIIT Hype...
HIIT is good news for mental and physical health, with loads of benefits that are all backed by science: It improves your cardio fitness, preserves muscle mass during weight loss, revs your metabolism and more.
But HIIT isn't for everyone. If you have heart problems, are brand new to exercise or are injured, you'll want to steer clear. But if you're healthy, injury-free and already exercise consistently, go for it!
HIIT Workouts 101: Where to Begin
OK, we've convinced you to give HIIT a shot. Before you jump into your first workout, though, there are some important things to know. For example, more isn't necessarily better. You should only do HIIT two to three days a week max, and never on consecutive days or you'll risk injury, overtraining and burnout.
Your first several sessions should also focus on full-body, body-weight movements to keep things simple and effective as you adjust to this new form of training.
The Do-Anywhere Body-Weight HIIT Workout
One of the great things about HIIT is that it's fairly easy to develop your own routine, no extra bells and whistles needed. Start with a rep scheme, pick some of your favorite exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups and burpees and get to it!
Running low on creativity? Riley O'Donnell, certified trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City, created this no-equipment plan for inspiration.
A Fast and Efficient 20-Minute HIIT Workout
Very few people have the time (or desire) to spend hours and hours at the gym each week. That's part of what makes HIIT a smart choice, especially for those with packed schedules.
You can fit a calorie-torching workout into your morning routine, lunch break or whenever else you have a little time to spare. From warm-up to cooldown, you're in and out in under 30 minutes.
A Heart-Pumping HIIT Cardio Workout
Though steady-state cardio workouts are perfect for those times you want to go for a long run on your favorite trail or take a bike ride along the beach, sometimes you just want to fly through your sweat session and get back to your to-do list.
On those days, you can hop on the treadmill or elliptical and bust out a few intervals. Or you can throw in some squat jumps and side lunges after a few hundred meters on the rowing machine. Mix it up with this workout from Meghan Hayden, certified personal trainer at Performix House in New York City.
HIIT It at Home
Make sure you clear enough space so you don't bump into furniture, throw down a yoga mat or towel and get sweating. You might be surprised at what you can do in the comfort of your own home.