Even if you're not a workout buff, you've probably heard of HIIT workouts — aka high-intensity interval training. It's comprised of quick bursts of activity followed by short recovery periods. HIIT is the workout du jour for a number of reasons.
In today's busy world, the most appealing one is that it's seriously efficient, with each workout delivering the benefits of cardio and strength training in a shorter session. See for yourself with this 17-minute, full-body workout from Farouk Houssein, an instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City.
How to Do This 17-Minute HIIT Workout
First, you'll do 5 rounds of 8 reps of each of the first 5 exercises. Because the workout is for time (doing as many rounds as you can under a set amount of time), the times of completion can vary per person. However, the goal is to not exceed 10 minutes. "It's a race against the clock," says Houssein.
Then you'll take a 2-minute break before the second part. During that portion, you'll set a timer for 7 minutes and complete as many rounds of the second 3 exercises as you can, performing 10 reps of each.
Move 1: Dumbbell Renegade Row
- Start in a high plank. Instead of resting your palms on the ground, you’ll grip a set of dumbbells, which will slightly elevate your upper body.
- Row one weight by lifting it to your chest while squeezing your upper back muscles.
- Set it down, then repeat on the other side.
- Do 8 reps on each arm.
“This move is technically meant to strengthen your back,” Houssein says, “but because you’re using your abdominal muscles to stabilize yourself, you’ll feel it in your core.”
Move 2: Push-Up on Dumbbells
- Start in high plank while resting each hand on a dumbbell.
- Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle away from your body to lower your chest to the floor (or as far as you can do).
- Press back up into a plank.
You don’t have to use the dumbbells for this exercise if you don’t want to, says Houssein. “But if you want a deeper range of motion while working your chest and triceps, the weights allow that.” You can also drop to your knees if you need to modify.
Move 3: Romanian Deadlift
- While standing, hold a set of dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing your body.
- Keep your back straight and your legs slightly bent.
- As you lean forward, push your butt out and keep your weight in your heels.
- Bend until your shoulders are at hip level.
- When you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings, return to starting position.
Move 4: Dumbbell Forward Lunge
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells at your shoulders with your elbows pointing out in front of you.
- With a straight back, step forward with your left foot into a lunge and bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle.
- Return to standing and repeat on the opposite leg.
- Do 8 reps on each leg.
You’ll know you’re doing this exercise right when you feel a burn in your leading leg, particularly in the thigh, quad and glute muscles, Houssein says. “And make sure your left knee doesn’t go past your toes, otherwise you’ll put stress on it.”
Move 5: Dumbbell Curl to Press
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a set of dumbbells at your sides.
- Bend at the elbows to curl both weights to your shoulders.
- Flip your palms outward, then press them together over your head (with your arms fully extended). Your elbows should be straight and next to your ears.
- Do 8 reps, then do these first 5 exercises for 4 more rounds.
This move works your biceps and shoulder muscles. “And by standing instead of sitting, you’re also engaging your core,” Houssein says.
Move 6: Dumbbell Thruster
- Stand holding a set of dumbbells at your shoulders with your elbows pointed out in front of you.
- Squat down, keeping your butt, back and your chest up.
- On the way back up, exert a burst of energy and bring the weights up overhead by fully extending your arms.
- Pause for a second, lower the weights back down and repeat.
Warning: This move requires some enthusiasm! “This is one fluid movement where you’re thrusting the ground away from you on the way up,” Houssein says. “If you’re slow, you won’t feel the proper stimulus and dynamic force of the movement.”
Move 7: Burpee Tuck Jump
- Begin standing, then lower into a squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Kick both feet back so you’re in a high plank.
- Lower your chest to the floor, then bring it back up.
- Jump your feet forward into their original position (squatting).
- Finish by jumping in the air and bringing your knees as close to your chest as possible.
“The burpee tuck jump engages your entire body,” says Houssein, who offers this mental trick for boosting your energy: “Picture yourself oversleeping and jumping out of bed, like, ‘I gotta get to work!’”
Move 8: Alternating Jackknife
- Lie on your back (and don’t get comfortable!) with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the floor.
- Reach your left arm over your head and keep your right arm by your side, palm facing the ground.
- Now reach your left hand and right foot to meet in midair.
- Return them to the floor and alternate hands and feet to do both sides.
- Do 20 reps (10 with each leg) before returning to move 6 and going through as many rounds as possible in the span of 7 minutes.