The best HIIT exercises vary from person to person. Building a routine suited to your individual preferences, abilities, and fitness goals is the key to success.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with short recovery periods.

The primary goal of HIIT is to elevate your heart rate and push your body to its limits, which enhances endurance, strength, and cardiovascular fitness. This approach also positively impacts metabolism and blood pressure.

Beyond its physical benefits, HIIT is linked to mood enhancement and stress reduction, contributing to overall well-being. Importantly, it’s a time-efficient exercise option, and you can design workouts to suit your needs.

If you’re a beginner or prefer low-key workouts, start with these accessible yet effective exercises.

Begin with 2 to 3 weekly sessions for 20 to 30 minutes each. Over time, you can increase time, frequency, and intensity.

Choose between doing exercises for a specified duration or completing a set number of repetitions and sets. For example, you may do three sets of 8 to 20 repetitions.

Options for time rations include 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 1 minute of recovery or 2 minutes of high intensity with 1 minute of recovery.

Safety tips for HIIT workouts:

  • Always include a warmup and cooldown.
  • Choose exercises that suit your fitness level.
  • Consider your daily energy levels and overall readiness, making adjustments as necessary.
  • Challenge yourself while maintaining proper form.
  • Listen to your body, modifying or replacing exercises if you experience pain.
  • Give yourself enough recovery time between intense workouts.
  • Consult a healthcare professional before beginning if you take medications, have injuries, or have health concerns.

Here are a few beginner-friendly HIIT exercises.

Bodyweight squats

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  • Stand with your feet directly under your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Press through your heels to return to the starting position.
  • Continue this movement.


Sprint, and then transition to walking or jogging. For added intensity, do hill or stair sprints.

Once you’ve built a solid foundation of strength and cardiovascular fitness, elevate your workouts with these intermediate exercises.

Do 2 to 4 weekly sessions, each lasting 25 to 45 minutes.

Mountain climbers

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  1. Begin in a plank position.
  2. Draw your left knee toward your chest.
  3. Return your leg to the starting position.
  4. Bring your right knee toward your chest.
  5. Continue alternating between left and right knees.

Kettlebell swings

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  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place the kettlebell about a foot in front of you.
  3. Bend at your hips and slightly at your knees.
  4. Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands.
  5. Drive through your hips, standing up quickly to swing the kettlebell to chest level.
  6. Lower the kettlebell by hinging at your hips.
  7. Continue this fluid motion.

These advanced options may be suitable if you’ve mastered your form and want to challenge your limits.

Advanced HIIT sessions generally last 45 to 60 minutes. You can do 4 to 5 sessions a week.

Clapping push-ups

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  1. Start in a plank or high push-up position with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the ground.
  3. Push up forcefully, lifting your hands off the ground.
  4. Clap your hands together.
  5. Land softly, bringing your hands back to the ground.
  6. Repeat the sequence continuously.

Burpee box jumps

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  1. Start standing in front of a stable box.
  2. Do a burpee by squatting down, placing your hands on the ground, and jumping your feet back to the plank position.
  3. Do a push-up, and jump your feet back to your hands.
  4. Next, jump onto the box, landing softly.
  5. Stand upright on the box.
  6. Step down with control.
  7. Add a jump for more difficulty.
  8. Repeat the sequence at a steady pace.

What type of HIIT is most effective?

The most effective type of HIIT depends on your preferences, ability, and fitness goals. Create a routine that includes high intensity cardio and some form of resistance.

If you want to prioritize cardio, include exercises such as cycling, running, and swimming. Incorporate bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, or push-ups to emphasize strength. You can incorporate weights or resistance bands.

Is 20 minutes of HIIT per day enough?

Doing 20 minutes of HIIT daily can improve metabolism, cardiovascular fitness, and overall health.

The intensity and efficiency of HIIT make it possible to achieve results in less time than traditional workouts. Plus, shorter workouts may help you to maintain consistency.

What is the 30-20-10 HIIT workout?

The 30-20-10 HIIT workout alternates between 30 seconds of low intensity, 20 seconds of moderate intensity, and 10 seconds of high intensity. Repeat this pattern throughout your workout.

You can include a mix of bodyweight exercises and cardio activities suited to your preferences and fitness level.

What are the 5 types of HIIT?

Numerous types of HIIT exist. Experimenting with different HIIT styles allows you to find what works best for you and maximizes overall effectiveness.

Popular types include:

HIIT is an efficient workout method that may enhance weight management, heart health, and overall fitness. It can also boost coordination, strength, and stamina.

Consistency is key when incorporating HIIT into your routine. As you progress, feel free to explore more demanding exercises.

Always prioritize safety and make modifications as necessary. Push yourself without reaching the point of exhaustion, burnout, or excessive soreness.