Choose Your Own Adventure With This Customizable HIIT Workout

Mix and match upper-body, lower-body and core exercises to create the perfect, 20-minute HIIT workout for you.
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Next time you're uninspired by your regularly scheduled workout, swap it out for a short-and-sweet HIIT circuit. To get you going, Mark Schneider, personal trainer at The Movement Minneapolis, offers this "choose your own adventure" workout plan.

Any combination of the following exercises will force you to engage your core and move outside your normal patterns, Schneider says. The result is a fresh, fun interval workout that can be done in less than 20 minutes. Enjoy your adventure!

Step 1: Pick Your Time

The basic principle of HIIT workouts is this: You give it your all for a set amount of time (usually 20 to 60 seconds), then you rest or actively recovery for a set amount of time (usually 15 to 60 seconds).

The length of your active intervals depends on your fitness level and goals. For example, if you're a beginner, you might start out with 20 seconds of activity and 40 seconds of rest. Or if you're more advanced, you might opt for 45 seconds of movement and 15 seconds of active recovery.

Not sure where you fall? Cycle through your three chosen exercises (see below for your options), alternating 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest for 6 rounds. And if you want to focus on muscular endurance, don't pause during the movements. By doing so, you'll maintain constant tension on the muscles involved, which boosts your burn.

Step 2: Pick Your Moves

You have 6 exercises to choose from, outlined below. The movements are categorized by focus: lower body, upper body and core. If you want a full-body workout, pick one exercise from each category. Alternately, if you want to focus primarily on your upper body, lower body or core, perform the two moves in that section and add in one move from another.

Tip

Don't forget to add 3 to 5 minute of light cardio and dynamic stretching beforehand as a warm-up and 3 to 5 minutes of static stretching afterwards to cool down.

Lower-Body Move 1: Curtsy Lunge

Lower-Body Move 1: Curtsy Lunge
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Activity Kettlebell Workout
Region Lower Body
  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest with both hands.
  3. Keeping your weight on your left leg, step your right foot back and across the left leg until you end in a lunge.
  4. Return to start.
  5. Alternate legs for 30 seconds.

Lower-Body Move 2: Goblet Shooter Squat

Lower-Body Move 2: Goblet Shooter Squat
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Activity Kettlebell Workout
Region Lower Body
  1. Begin in a staggered stance with your left toe a few inches away from your right heel. The left heel should be lifted off the floor, knees close to touching.
  2. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest with both hands.
  3. Keeping your weight on your right leg, bend at your knees and hips to lower into a squat.
  4. Stand to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the same leg for 30 seconds, then switch to the other leg for your next set.
  6. Alternate legs for 6 rounds to complete 3 rounds per leg.

Upper-Body Move 1: Walking Plank

Upper-Body Move 1: Walking Plank
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Upper Body
  1. Assume a forearm plank position with your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders.
  2. Press up on one hand at a time to straighten your arms.
  3. Slowly lower back down to your forearms.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Tip

To make this move easier, elevate your hands on a box or bench or perform the movement on your knees.

Upper-Body Move 2: Push-Up Crawl

Upper-Body Move 2: Push-Up Crawl
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Upper Body
  1. Get into a high plank with your feet wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Lower your body down into a push-up.
  3. Bring your right hand out to the side, allowing your body to shift to the right.
  4. Press up to straighten your arms.
  5. Reverse the motion, then repeat in the other direction.
  6. Continue to alternate side for 30 seconds.

Tip

To make this easier, elevate your hands on a box or bench or perform the movement on your knees.

Core Move 1: Plank Tuck

Core Move 1: Plank Tuck
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Core
  1. Begin on your hands in a high plank.
  2. Jump both feet forward so your knees touch the insides of your elbows.
  3. Jump your feet back to the starting position, keeping your butt down throughout.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Core Move 2: Seated Roll

Core Move 2: Seated Roll
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Core
  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent.
  2. Keeping your body tight, roll backward.
  3. Use your core to roll yourself back to a seated position.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Tip

Use a mat to protect your tailbone.