You Can Reap All The Benefits Of HIIT In 20 Minutes Or Less

hiit exercises sprawl
The 12 Best HIIT Exercises For Working Up A SweatHearst Owned

There’s a reason HIIT workouts stand the test of time. They’re effective, accessible, and optimize your time. After all, HIIT workouts are an efficient way to combat a sedentary lifestyle, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve your overall health, recent research has found.

“HIIT workouts pack a quick punch and are an easy way to get heart rate elevated while continuing to focus on your exercise form,” says Alex Lyons, CPT, a NASM-certified personal trainer and coach on House Of Athlete Plus. “If you feel like you have hit a wall in your fitness, adding HIIT offers variety and huge rewards when it comes to cardio training, because instead of parking on a treadmill or elliptical, 20 minutes of intense HIIT work can get you to the burn you crave quicker, and you’ll be moving in all planes of motion.”

Meet the experts: Alex Lyons, CPT, is a NASM-certified personal trainer and coach on House Of Athlete Plus, a holistic health and fitness platform, who has taught boxing, bootcamp, and HIIT classes. Tatiana Lampa, CPT, is an ACSM-certified personal trainer, former instructor at Fit House in New York City, and founder of Training With T.

There are all sorts of ways to do HIIT, but the basic principle is this: Instead of going at a steady, moderate pace for the duration of your sweat sesh, you alternate between periods of intense work and recovery, says Tatiana Lampa, CPT, an ACSM-certified personal trainer and founder of Training with T App. The goal is to push at your max capacity and rev your heart rate during those work intervals and use your breaks to rest and get ready to go all-out again.

And whether you're in the gym, at home, have weights handy, or want to sweat equipment-free, HIIT workouts will serve you major rewards.

Benefits Of HIIT

  1. Burn calories. If you’re looking to torch calories, HIIT workouts can burn a lot of cals in a short amount of time because you're hitting your max effort. Your metabolic rate also tends to be higher after a HIIT session, which means you will continue to burn calories post workout, Lyons adds.

  2. Build muscle. “Using a HIIT workout to complement your pure strength workouts will help overall muscle strength and endurance,” says Lyons.

  3. Boost cardio. HIIT improves oxygen and blood flow. “Our lifestyles are so sedentary, so getting our heart rates up and blood pumping is so important for the health of our hearts and circulatory systems.”

  4. Maximize your time. “My motto is movement is best, and if you only have twenty minutes to get your endorphins for the day, HIIT is a great way to do it," says Lyons.

  5. Relieve stress. Sometimes you just need to let it all out, and HIIT workouts are a great way to pump up your endorphins and reduce the negative effects of stress, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Inspired to start a speedy sweat? To make your next HIIT sesh a full-body affair, pick from the below list of trainer-approved HIIT exercises that are home workout-friendly and guaranteed to get your heart pumping and blood flowing.

Time: 20 minutes | Good for: full-body, cardio | Equipment needed: mat, kettlebell (optional), stair or step (optional)

Instructions: Choose five exercises from the list below. Perform each for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before continuing onto the next. Once you've completed all five movements, rest as needed (for up to one minute), then repeat twice more for a total of three rounds.

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