HIIT Workout Exercises for Beginners – What Is A HIIT Workout Routine

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This HIIT workout exercises for beginners plan not only charts some of the best home workouts, but also explains the different types of HIIT workout routines.

I’m including HIIT workouts for AMRAP, Tabada, and cardio HIIT, providing several options for this routine. If you think you’re in good enough shape, I’ve also included an advanced HIIT exercise routine and even the challenging mini Murph workout routine.

HIIT workouts can be brutal, but there isn’t any other program out there that offers such great results for such a small time investment. So choose the best HIIT workout for your skill level.

What Does HIIT Stand For?

What does HIIT stand for? High-intensity interval training which is exactly what it sounds like. What people don’t know is that it is extremely versatile. Most people think that If you have just half an hour of time, you can squeeze in an extra HIIT workout and that’s all HIIT offers.

But that’s not the whole picture. HIIT can be used to structure your entire workout routine. High-intensity interval training is most effective when your workout goal is to lose weight or get lean. Lean muscle is the best.

HIIT Benefits

What Is The Best Low Calorie Protein Powder - woman with muscular stomach
  • Boosts metabolic rate for a prolonged period after intense workouts
  • It allows you to lose fat much faster
  • Saves you time. Half an hour of HIIT can burn more calories than a full hour and a half of jogging.
  • Increases muscle mass in your legs and lower back.
  • Reduces overall blood pressure and heart rate. (Good cardiovascular activity.)
  • Greatly increases lung oxygen capacity.
  • Can also reduce blood sugar.

Due to HIIT boosting metabolic rates, many athletes use it in their muscle-building workout regimens either on a separate day or after their workouts.

Since most HIIT workouts last between 10 and 30 minutes, instead of hopping on a treadmill some people prefer HIIT. Of course, you will receive the most benefits with a HIIT workout program if scheduled on a consistent basis.

HIIT Workouts At Home

Practically almost any exercise can be implemented in a HIIT routine or workout. However, it is important to note that adding a few weighted compound exercises in a consecutive manner might lead to either injury or a decrease in blood pressure.

What equipment do you need for a HIIT Workout? How about none, but equipment can also be added to give even more options. Athletes mostly use bodyweight exercises during HIIT sessions. For the majority of the exercises, no equipment is needed. That means HIIT workouts at home are easy to do.

There are two approaches that can be chosen when starting HIIT, both can also be combined. They are aerobic and anaerobic.

Types of HIIT routines

Exactly what is a HIIT workout routine? To answer this question, we will have to discuss the different HIIT types, times, reps, and methods. What differentiates types of HIIT routines is how long you rest and whether you use weights or not. Some bodyweight exercises in HIIT routines are practically the same thing as CrossFit or Tabata.

The two main types are Aerobic and Anaerobic (can be weighted) HIIT.

What Is an Aerobic HIIT Workout?

The difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic High-Intensity Interval Training is the intensity to rest ratio. For example, if the exercise you are performing is sprints, a 10-second sprint and a 20-second rest between sprints would be 10:20 or 1:2.

This is a very low rest time, which stresses your lungs and cardiovascular system. That’s why Aerobic HIIT exercise results in more weight loss. A good HIIT cardio workout routine is one of the best ways to get muscle tone.

What Is an Anaerobic HIIT Workout?

Anaerobic HIIT is focused on building explosiveness and power. Typically the rest time here is much longer. The intensity to rest ratio can be 1:4, 1:5, or even 1:6 in some cases.

This would mean sprinting for 10 seconds and resting for 40 or 50 seconds. This allows your muscles and breathing to fully recover, hence stressing muscles more than your lungs and cardiovascular system.

crossfit workout routines - woman crossfit jumping

What Is AMRAP High Intensity-Interval Training?

AMRAP is an abbreviation for “As Many Rounds As Possible”. Some people say it is “As many reps as possible”, but it’s practically the same thing. In order to perform an AMRAP High-intensity interval training, you would need to set a timer of your desired time between 15 and 40 minutes. Adjust this to your energy or fitness level.

Many athletes use the AMRAP HIIT as a benchmark for their progress throughout workout cycles each quarter. AMRAP can be performed with any exercise. A typical AMRAP HIIT workout would look like this:

 ExerciseRepetitions per roundRest time
1.Box Jumps2520 sec
2.Burpees2520 sec
3.Squats4020 sec
4.Push-Ups1520 sec

As you can see above, in Table 1, the number of reps per exercise can vary. The rest between rounds can also be adjusted to be lower than 20 seconds but not higher. If you can perform these exercises without rest between them, that would be the best-case scenario.

Put 20 minutes on a timer. Start with the Box Jumps, and once you finish 25 repetitions, continue with burpees after 20 seconds of rest. Then proceed with squats and push-ups in a similar fashion. It is very important to execute all exercises with caution and proper form. If you find it difficult to reach 40 proper form squats, lower the number to 25 or 20.

Let’s see how many rounds you can perform before the time is up. One full round consists of finishing all 4 exercises in the list.

What Muscles Do Pull Up Exercises Work - Woman doing push ups

What Is Tabata HIIT?

This type of routine is gaining popularity, but what is a Tabata workout? Tabata is a form of HIIT that lasts only four minutes. And as silly as it sounds, four minutes can seem like a long time with a proper workout. It is named after a Japanese doctor who conducted an experiment around two groups of people.

One of the groups conducted moderate exercise for an hour each day, and the other did HIIT Tabata for 4 minutes and a half each day. In the end, the ones who exercised for just 4 minutes had better anaerobic results and increased health.

Do as many rounds as you like. Keep in mind that you will be surprised at just how long 4 minutes feels when hitting this workout hard.

You can perform Tabata with any exercise you like. A good example would be push-ups.

ExerciseRepetitionsTime Per RoundRest Between RoundsTotal Time
Push-UpsAs many as you can20 seconds10 seconds4 minutes and 30 seconds

Set the timer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. You would need to be closely watching the timer, or set-up notifications every 20 seconds since you would be performing 20 seconds of push-ups and 10 second rests between sets.

Perform as many push-ups as possible during the 20 seconds of active time. You can switch this up with any exercise you want. Crunches, squats, pull-ups, or whatever you feel like working on.

what is a squat exercise - woman doing bodyweight exercise

HIIT Workouts At Home

First of all, before starting, you have to consider your overall fitness level. If you haven’t been regularly exercising in the past 6 months, it wouldn’t be advisable to hop right in the HIIT train and give it your maximum.

If that’s your case, start slow. Follow the rest time and the intensity time but don’t push yourself to the limit as it might actually stress your heart too much if it’s out of shape. Execute the exercises at 75 or 80 percent effort instead of 100.

All the equipment you are going to need for the workouts below is a timer, a watch, or a smartphone. (Some can be performed without one).

Basic HIIT Workout Routine

The most basic form of HIIT is sprinting. You can sprint on a bike, you can sprint while running, or you can use a treadmill. HIIT workout exercises don’t have to be fancy to get you in your best shape.

In order to form a proper HIIT workout, you need a timer, a rest time, and an intensity level. For a beginner or a former athlete returning to shape you can start by performing a sprint for 10 to 15 seconds. Your rest time would be 3 times higher than your running time. Thus, if you run for 10 seconds, rest 30 seconds and repeat.

The most natural thing is to simply walk back the distance you ran, as it typically takes you about 3 times longer. Then run again.

Repeat this process 10 times. This is your first HIIT workout. You can even perform this one without a stopwatch, since you can simply measure a distance and sprint it, instead of measuring time.

what is a hiit workout - womans HIIT workout

HIIT Workouts For Beginners

For beginner HIIT workout routines, it’s ideal to implement HIIT in your daily life by performing 3 or 4 HIIT workouts per week. It is a good idea to try all the HIIT approaches mentioned above and see what fits you best.

Since anaerobic and weighted exercises are usually aimed at building muscle mass and power, they are more suitable for advanced athletes. Thus, start with aerobic HIIT, Tabata, or AMRAP.

YOu can make these 30 minute HIIT workouts, or adjust the time to whatever time period works for you.

In the HIIT Workout routine examples given below, you will find a four-day workout regimen, including all three – Tabata, AMRAP, and Aerobic HIIT, divided into separate days.

AMRAPRestTabata #1RestAerobic HIITTabata #2Rest
What Is The Best Home Workout Routine - Bulgarian Split Squat

Day 1 – 15 minute AMRAP

AMRAPExerciseRepetitions per roundRest time
1.Squats2520 sec
2.Lunges2020 sec
3.ABS Crunches1520 sec

Start by warming up your joints, muscles, and tendons. Set a timer for 15 minutes and perform as many rounds as possible with clean form. One round consists of 25 squats, followed by 20 seconds of rest, 20 repetitions of lunged (10 per leg), 20 seconds of rest, and 15 ABS crunches.

After you complete the crunches, rest for 20 seconds and continue with the next round. If 15 minutes don’t seem like enough to you, perform the workout for 20 minutes.

Day 2 – Tabata #1

Day 2 is pretty simple. Remove your T-shirt and take a good look at your body in the mirror. Which major muscle group in your body is the weakest? If you think your shoulders lag behind all other body parts, perform shoulder push-ups. If it’s your chest, perform push-ups.

If your back is lagging and you are unable to perform pull-ups, you can purchase resistance bands and use them to do back rows.

ExerciseRepetitionsTime Per RoundRest Between RoundsTotal Time
Exercise of choiceAs many as you can20 seconds10 seconds4 minutes and 30 seconds

Choose one of these exercises:

  • Push-ups
  • Jump Squats (This is more difficult than it sounds).
  • Shoulder push-ups
  • Resistance band back rows
  • Good mornings

Day 3 – Aerobic HIIT workout

AerobicExerciseIntensity TimeRest timeNumber of Sets
1.Sprints10 seconds30 seconds5
2.Squat Jumps20 seconds30 seconds5
3.Burpees20 seconds20 seconds5
4.Squat Jacks30 seconds20 seconds5
5.Leg Raises20 seconds30 seconds3

The difference here from Day 1 is that you wouldn’t have a time for completion and you wouldn’t be aiming for as many rounds as possible. You already have a predetermined number of rounds per exercise.

Complete these exercises one by one. Start with the sprints. Sprint for 10 seconds, rest 30 seconds, sprint again. Repeat this 5 times, then jump on the next exercise after a short break of 20 seconds.

After you’ve finished the leg raises, the workout is over.

Day 4 – Tabata #2

ExerciseRepetitionsTime Per RoundRest Between RoundsTotal Time
Exercise of choiceAs many as you can20 seconds10 seconds4 minutes and 30 seconds

Perform the exact same Tabata workout from Day 2, but switch up the exercise for another muscle. Make sure you don’t perform leg-intensive exercises during your Tabata workout days in this workout, since you would be needing the strength in your legs for the Aerobic workout and the AMRAP.

Crossfit workout routines - man doing Crossfit burpees

Advanced HIIT Workout Examples

Advanced HIIT routines are typically longer, with higher intensity, and even sometimes feature weight. They can be performed after a weightlifting or bodyweight workout or on a separate day. The example given below should be performed on a separate day.

The Mini Murph HIIT workout

AerobicExerciseRepetitions/ DistanceRest time
4.Running1 mile0

Although this workout is a mixture of HIIT and CrossFit, it is a very good example of how intense HIIT workouts can get. All of these exercises need to be performed in order, starting from the 100 squats and finishing with the 100 squats.

A rest time of 0 means that you should rest as little as possible during the sets and between the sets. Try not to rest at all. The one-mile run should reset your blood flow and allow you to continue with the exercises thereafter.

What is the Murph workout? This is a routine based on the Advanced Murph CrossFit workout which is a benchmark workout among Navy Seals and professional Athletes. Look up the Murph Challenge workout for more information on this and Michael Murphy.

HIIT Workout Exercises for Beginners Wrap UP

If you are ready to get the quickest results for lean muscle, toning as well as weight loss, it is within reach. But these results do come at a price… hard work. The HIIT workout is not an exercise fad or scam developed to pull people in. This is an honest, real program that really works if you work it!

I’ve introduced several different types of HIIT exercise routines including several different HIIT workout options. Just choose which one is best for you based on your experience, conditioning, and exercise goals.

These quick and effective workouts can be done in your small home gym, garage gym, or any commercial gym. HIIT exercises do not require assistance from a gym trainer or fitness coach, and the results are totally up to you.

If you have any questions or comments about any of these HIIT workout routines for beginners, please leave a message below and I will respond.

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Steve Hall

I've been training since I was a teenager and started this site to help others get the most out of their workouts. I look forward to sharing a ton of useful information about this awesome topic.

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