High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to raise your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning by raising your lactate resistance and aerobic threshold by increasing your VO2 max.
However, many beginners start too hard without proper programming of work-to-rest intervals, so they are doomed to fail or even injure themselves.
As a certified personal trainer and based on extensive 30-hours research, I pulled all the relevant information regarding HIIT workouts for beginners, their benefits, sets, reps, rest periods, and more.
After reading the article, you will know 3 beginner HIIT workouts and the best HIIT beginner exercises you should always include in your workouts.
- The best HIIT workouts for beginners include a 10-minute HIIT workout, 20-minute MetCon HIIT, and 30-minute MetCon HIIT.
- The benefits of a great HIIT workout include burning more fats and calories during and after the workout, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving your heart health overall.
- The best beginner HIIT exercises include various bodyweight exercises such as burpees and jumping jacks and weight training exercises such as battle ropes.
Beginner HIIT Workouts You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less
Different work-to-rest ratios may apply to intensity interval training HIIT depending on your sports background, fitness level, and morphology .
However, if you follow the percentage of VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption) efficiently, you will still experience numerous cardiovascular and respiratory benefits from HIIT workouts .
Also, remember to include enough rest periods between two intense HIIT workouts so your body doesn’t enter the overtraining state .
It is recommended to space out two HIIT workouts by a minimum of 48-72 hours to fully recover .
"Long workouts are for the birds. Why spend two hours in the gym if you don’t have to? If you’re looking for a way to break out of a mental or physical rut in training, a few good HIIT workouts will do just that. Like most training styles, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be molded to suit your needs, but no matter what your gym goal is, you’re in for an explosive heart rate and a character-testing challenge."
- Eric Bugera, Certified Personal Trainer
10-Minute HIIT Workout
The first HIIT workout requires no gym equipment except your body weight, which is considered equipment of sorts.
The work-to-rest ratio for this 10-minute HIIT workout is 20/10, and you should do it for 1-3 rounds.
Here is the entire 10-minute beginner HIIT workout:
- Jab, cross, front (right side) - Assume a split stance where your right foot is in front of the left, and your hips are facing your left side. Lift your arms and assume a boxing guard. Start the workout by jabbing forward with the right arm and then throw the cross power punch with the back left arm. Ensure your body rotates when throwing the punch with your back arm. Your body weight should be placed over your right foot with your back heel slightly picking off the ground. This is cardio kickboxing.
- Jumping jacks - Assume an upright position with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and your arms placed in the anatomical position. Jump with your feet outward to start the jumping jack motion while raising your arms simultaneously. Repeat this motion as fast as possible.
- Sumo squats - Assume a standing position with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart to enter the starting sumo stance. Ensure your toes are slightly turned outward to achieve a deeper squat position. Start the exercise by simultaneously bending your hips, knees, and ankles to bring your body into the squat position. Ensure your back is flat, your heels are on the ground, and your core is activated during the whole movement.
20-Minute MetCon: HIIT Workout
The 20-minute MetCon HIIt workout will maximize calories burned due to the very high intensity it brings with the whole workout. The workout consists of 5 moves that focus on full-body exercises.
Aim to do as many reps as possible for each 45-second interval and then rest for 15 seconds to recover. So, the work-to-rest ratio for this HIIT workout is 45-15.
Here is the entire 20-minute MetCon HIIT workout:
- Push-ups - Based on your gender and training experience, you can opt-in for the different push-up variations. Choose between regular, kneeling, incline, decline push-ups, or other variations. Ensure your shoulders create 30-degree internal rotation, 45-degree flexion, and 60-degree abduction. This will place the shoulder in an optimal functional position.
- Squats - Assume a standing stance a little wider than shoulder-width apart. During squatting, ensure your back is flat, your heels are on the ground, and your knees don't cave in. You may change the width of the squats based on your preferences.
- Butt kicks - You can perform butt kicks by jogging or walking in place. Kick your left heel up to touch your glutes. Repeat with the right leg.
- Tricep dips - You should perform tricep dips on the parallel bars that aren't too wide and will likely cause excessive pressure on your shoulder joint. Ensure your chest lowers at the level of the bars before starting to come up.
- Side lunges - Perform side lunges alternatively, and ensure enough depth on each repetition to fire those glutes, quads, and adductors.
30-Minute MetCon: HIIT Workout
The 30-minute MetCon HIIT workout is the most advanced HIIT workout of all three.
This workout will challenge your whole-body conditioning and muscular endurance, so I advise using the first two HIIT workouts before trying them.
The work-to-rest ratio is 45-15.
Here is the entire 30-minute MetCon HIIT workout:
- Push-ups - Choose the variation that suits you the most. However, it is best to stick with regular or kneeling push-ups for this workout.
- Squats - Assume a shoulder-width stance and ensure your toes are slightly turned outwards to achieve proper squat depth. Don't round your back or cave the knees in during the whole workout.
- Butt kicks - Perform butt kicks in place by jogging or walking. Alternate between the legs.
- Tricep dips - Ensure you reach the depth that resonates with the level of your chest. Avoid too wide parallel bars for excessive pressure on your shoulders.
- Side lunges - Alternate between the legs and focus on contracting those glutes, quads, and adductors.
- Jumping jacks - Ensure proper frequency and don't stop until the work interval is over. Many prefer here to make pauses, which is not allowed.
- Sit-ups - Don't pump sit-ups immediately. It is better to start slowly to last for the whole work interval.
What Is HIIT?
HIIT or high-intensity interval training is the type of interval training precisely assigned with adequate work-to-rest ratio and intensity of VO2 max, pulse, or other metrics.
High-intensity training is widely used to elicit cardiovascular and respiratory benefits with strenuous work intervals and in a relatively short period.
HIIT workouts can be divided into two categories based on the work-to-rest ratio. When the work-to-rest ratio is 1:1, you mostly exercise your aerobic capacity.
Contrary to that, when your work time exceeds the rest time, like in Tabata workouts, you raise blood lactate levels much faster and primarily exercise your anaerobic glycolytic system.
What Are the Benefits of HIIT?
The benefits of HIIT include burning a lot of calories and fat during and post-workout, lowering blood sugar levels due to increased glucose utilization for energy synthesis, and improving your overall heart health.
Below is the breakdown of all the benefits.
HIIT Can Burn Lots of Calories in a Short Amount of Time
HIIT workouts are hard, intense, and in nature, very short. They burn the most significant amount of calories in the shortest time possible.
This is done by primarily using the glycogen in your muscles to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
However, oxygen and creatine-phosphate also play a major role in synthesizing ATP, so you can quickly use the most energy and burn the most significant amount of calories.
Also Read: Best Fat Burning HIIT Workouts
HIIT for Lowering Blood Sugar
HIIT workouts will lower your blood sugar level because your body will need to break down accessible glucose located in your blood.
Glucose from blood and stored glucose as glycogen in muscle cells is primarily used to create energy or ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
HIIT for Heart Health
HIIT workouts are excellent for heart health because they improve cardiovascular and respiratory functions.
This is because your body will need to pump blood in various places in your body to supply muscle cells with adequate energy.
Doing that will make your heart stronger and more resistant to physical stress, such as high-intensity interval training.
"Note that HIT and HIIT — high intensity interval training — are not the same thing. The difference is actually pretty simple. HIT is about lifting very heavy weights, while HIIT is a conditioning tool. Yes, HIIT can get you stronger, and high intensity lifting can — if you program it right — help out with your conditioning."
- Alex Polish, Certified Personal Trainer
What Are the Best HIIT Exercises?
The best HIIT exercises are burpees, kettlebell swings, and battle ropes.
- Assume a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and arms close to your body.
- Perform a push-up on the floor, return to your feet, and jump.
- Repeat the whole process for the duration of the work interval.
- Pick an appropriate size kettlebell to perform kettlebell swings during work intervals continually.
- Assume a standing stance a little wider than shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell in your hands between the legs.
- Start the exercise by bending in your hips while keeping your knees slightly flexed during the whole motion.
- Move the kettlebell down and back between your legs, and return to the starting standing position.
- Continue to perform kettlebell swings until the work interval is finished.
- Place the battle ropes on the floor so they are at their full length across the home gym floor.
- Pick both sides with each hand and assume a standing position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned outward, and knees flexed.
- Start the exercise by performing alternating waves with battle ropes.
- This is done through shoulder flexion and extension while holding the battle ropes.
- Perform alternating battle rope waves until the finish of the work interval.
How Long Should a HIIT Workout Be for Beginners?
HIIT workout for beginners should be between 5 and 15 minutes. Beginner HIIT workout should include enough rest periods so the beginner can complete it without raising the maximum amount of blood lactate, and so the HIIT training stays beneficial.
How Effective Is 20 Minutes of HIIT?
A 20-minute HIIT workout is very effective. High-intensity interval training lasting more than 10 to 15 minutes is advanced based on some training standards and will induce maximal cardiorespiratory and conditioning benefits.
Should I Do HIIT or Cardio First?
You should do HIIT first. You should always do HIIT sessions before low-intensity cardio sessions since you will have enough energy from creatine-phosphate and glycogen to finish interval workouts, and the rest of the energy used during cardio workouts will mainly be synthesized by oxygen.
How Can I Be More Efficient and Effective During HIIT Workouts?
Using a high-quality creatine product can be more efficient and effective during HIIT workouts.
A good creatine supplement can enhance your energy production by raising the creatine-phosphate (CP) level in your muscle cells.
This is important because CP is the fastest energy source, meaning it will synthesize ATP molecules at the most significant rate compared to glycogen and oxidative phosphorylation.
Read our guide on the best creatine supplements on the market to pick the one that will suit your goals and needs the best.
Let me know your favorite HIIT workout for beginners and why.
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