While crushing a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout can leave you with a feel-good endorphin rush and sense of accomplishment, these workouts can get repetitive over time. After all, there are only so many squat jumps, push-ups and lunges you can do before you burn out both mentally and physically.
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Whether you've hit a plateau or are simply bored of your usual workout, adding some variety can keep you coming back for more. Luckily, certified personal trainers Maillard Howell and Nathan Hess have compiled a few unique exercises to incorporate into your next HIIT session. Pick and choose the moves you like the most or perform these in succession as a grueling circuit.
1. One-Arm Dumbbell Snatch and Sprint
- Hold a medium weight dumbbell in one hand at hip height.
- Hinge at your hips, and bend at the knees slightly, much like a deadlift, holding the dumbbell in front of your body.
- Drive through the legs and use your momentum to bring the dumbbell up along the front of your body until it's overhead, arm extended straight.
- Do 15 reps on each arm, moving as quickly as possible without breaking form.
- Next, hop onto a treadmill but keep the machine off.
- Hold the sides of the machine for leverage and push the belt manually for 20 seconds as quickly as possible.
- Repeat this combo for three rounds total.
If you're at home and don't have a treadmill, swap for 20 seconds of sprints across the yard. Too cold to take it outside? Opt for high knees, jogging in place with your knees lifting up toward your chest.
2. Side-to-Side Plyo Box Ball Slam
- Stand to one side of a plyo box or short stool, hold a medicine ball at your chest.
- Squat down slightly, then hop over the box to the other side and slam the ball down into the ground. If you can't jump that high, jump without the box.
- Hop back over to the other side, repeating the slam.
- Repeat for 30 seconds before resting. Perform this move for three rounds total.
If you're at home and don't have a medicine ball, use a heavy cushion. You'll still get your heart rate up with the slam motion but protect your floor from damage!
3. Single-Leg Jump Rope
- Stand with legs hip-width apart, jump rope handle in each hand.
- Put all you weight in your right leg and lift your left foot off the floor.
- At a steady, sustainable pace, jump rope on one leg.
- Aim for at least 50 hops, then switch legs.
No jump rope? Grab a roll of toilet paper (or if you're up for it, a paper towel roll) and place it on the ground. Hop over the roll on one leg, then jump back for 50 hops on each leg. At the very least, you can always pretend to use an invisible jump rope.
4. Sand Bag Step Up to Bag Slam
- Stand in front of a 12- to 24-inch step or box, holding a 12- to 20-pound sandbag.
- Step up onto the step with the sand bag either in front of your chest or overhead.
- Step off and slam the bag into the ground.
- Squat down and pick the bag back up.
- Repeat for 30 seconds and do three rounds total.
If you don't have a sand bag, fill a duffel bag with a water bottle or two (or some clothes or bags of sand). If you want to avoid slamming anything onto your floor, perform a squat instead of a slam, holding the weight in front of you.
5. Kettlebell Farmer's Carry Climbers
- Hold two heavy kettlebells or dumbbells at your sides, shoulders back, back flat.
- Take six to eight steps forward.
- Squat to set the weights down.
- Bring your hands to the ground and come into a high plank, hands directly beneath your shoulders.
- Do mountain climbers by bringing your right knee to your right elbow, then back. Then, bring your left knee to left elbow, then back.
- Alternate legs as quickly as possible for 15-20 seconds.
- Come back to a squat and pick up the weights before returning to standing.
- Take six to eight more steps and repeat.
- Perform this move for four to five rounds total.
If you don't have dumbbells or kettlebells, you can use two filled gallon water bottles. And for an added challenge, make the steps forward lunges, rather than simple steps forward.
6. Hollow Rockers
- Lie down on a mat and find a hollow position by raising your shoulders up off the ground and extending your arms above your head, biceps along your ears.
- Extend your legs straight out, six to eight inches off the floor.
- Rock back and forth like an upside-down turtle, keeping the body stiff from your finger tips to your toes.
- Rock 12 to 15 times for four to five rounds total.
This move is sneaky in a good way, Howell says. Avoid breaking at the hips or collapsing the shoulders to the floor. These are especially good for a good core sting after a circuit (like the moves above).