Workout Routines

5 Fun HIIT Workouts to Get You Through the Week

Kick-start your cardio with these unique, fat-burning HIIT routines.


The 10-Minute Workout

HIIT is a training technique which involves intense bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by varied periods of low-intensity active rest, or complete rest. HIIT can be a great option for staying in shape when time is an issue, as you can get an amazing fat-burning workout in 20 minutes or less. The true benefits of HIIT come from its effects post-workout. HIIT has been shown to elevate the metabolism for hours after your workout, essentially turning you into a fat-burning machine if done correctly and with adequate intensity.

When developing HIIT programs, the relationship of both the work and recovery interval is extremely important. You must consider the duration, intensity, and frequency of both the work and recovery intervals. The intensity during the work period should be greater than 80% of estimated max heart rate (the higher the better—it should feel like you're exercising “hard” to “very hard.” A good rule of thumb is to not be able to carry out a conversation while executing the work intervals. Your maximum heart rate can be roughly estimated by subtracting your age from 220. For example if you are 30, your maximum heart rate is around 190 (220 minus 30). The intensity of the recovery period should be less than 50% of your estimated max heart (rest or active recovery—prepares you for executing the next working interval).

The length of HIIT programs can range from 30 mins. all the way down to 4 mins. (commonly known as Tabata-style interval training). You must consider the ratio of work to rest. Remember the key is to work as hard as possible for your level of fitness during the working phase and recover as best as possible before the next working set so you don’t tire yourself out too quickly before reaching your time goal. If you do not allow yourself to recover and decide to take shorter rests periods you could be limiting the effectiveness of this training method (EPOC—explained in detail below).

A few variations can work, including: rest ratios of 1 minute on, 3 minutes off, 1 minute on 2 minutes off, 1 minute on, 1 minute off, and so on. It all depends on how long and how intense the desired session is.

While HIIT workouts may be very short, they are more exhaustive than steady-state exercise. Therefore, a longer recovery period is often needed before starting your next session. If you are fatigued and not fully recovered you will find yourself not working as hard in the session.

These workouts can be tweaked to fit the beginner all the way to an advanced HIIT athlete, and can be done in one week for a fun and unique cardio blast. So get off the treadmill and get moving. Or just try one at a time to mix your cardio and training styles up. Our bodies, after all, can adapt to our training programs quite rapidly and require constant different stimuli to grow and change. 

Try these five great HIIT workouts to keep you motivated and shredded throughout the week.