HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, consisting of vigorous workouts with little rest in a short time. This cardiovascular training can work wonders for you in losing the extra kgs.
HIIT workout raises and maintains your heart rate, allowing you to burn more fat in less time. A HIIT workout will typically last 10–30 minutes.
Studies show that despite its brief duration, the workout can provide health advantages comparable to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.
These are intense exercises to be done before a small break. These cardio workouts are the best way to burn fat in a short period. Keeping a tab on your weight has become increasingly easy with technological advancements such as smart scales in the market today.
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Table of Contents
10 Best HIIT Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
Before you start your HIIT routine, there are a few points to consider for your safety:
Choose a low-intensity modality that you are acquainted with. For example, if you haven’t jogged in a while, don’t go all-out on running.
Begin with a few sessions twice a week. HIIT exercise is quite taxing, especially when using higher-impact modalities.
Work sessions should not exceed 30 seconds. Work intervals of more than 30 seconds will be challenging to maintain at the requisite intensity to qualify as HIIT.
Allow for enough relaxation time. Only by taking rest for minutes equivalent to or longer than your work periods will you be able to sustain the appropriate intensity for HIIT.
If you have joint pain, start with a low-impact activity like cycling or swimming.
It is a two-part exercise that involves a push-up, followed by a leap in the air. Although burpees engage all the muscles in your body, it mainly targets the calves, chest, triceps, shoulder, biceps, glutes, and lats.
How to do Burpees?
Burpees are very easy to perform as it requires no machinery or weights. To perform Burpees, get into a partial squat position and bend down.
Keep your spine straight and touch down the ground with your chest. Push-up, bring both legs together with a frog jump and then jump up by raising your hands in the air. Get back to the starting position and repeat.
2. High Knees
This one is another easy exercise with no requirement for training equipment. High knees help strengthen leg muscles while increasing your heartbeat, which further improves coordination and flexibility in the body.
How to do High Knees?
To perform high Knees, open your feet to a hip-width and then lift your left knee towards your chest and then repeat the same thing with the other leg at a running speed. Try keeping your arms extended letting the knees touch the palms when you perform the exercise.
3. Lunge Jumps
Lunge jumps are an advanced variation of a normal walking lunge exercise. The exercise accounts for jumping high in the air and switching to your other foot ahead before landing. This exercise requires no equipment and burns a tremendous amount of calories. It also helps in boosting your heart rate.
How to do Lunge Jumps?
To perform Lunge Jumps stand with your legs at least shoulder width apart. Move a leg forward with your spine straight. Now flex your leg and go down, make sure your leg is perpendicular to the floor. Now at last jump and put the other leg forward and repeat the exercise.
4. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks, also called side-straddle hop, is a full-body exercise that can be done almost anywhere owing to the fact that no training equipment is required.
How to do Jumping Jacks?
To perform Jumping jacks, stand straight with your feet at least hip-width apart. Make sure that you keep your shoulders relaxed and look straight ahead.
Now jump and move your feet laterally apart. At the same time, move your hands up and down over your head. Repeat the steps by following the same.
5. Mountain Climbers
Climbing mountains isn’t easy. But what if the mountains become plain ground? Well, that’s pretty much the mountain climbers exercise for you.
This exercise is well known for benefits like building cardio endurance and agility while focusing on the entire body.
How to do Mountain Climbers?
To perform Mountain climbers, get into the straight arm plank position. Make sure to place your hands a little wider than your shoulders-width.
Now bring the right knee towards your chest without lifting your hips. Then move it back and bring the other knee forward. Now repeat the steps as fast as possible.
6. Rope Jumping
Rope jumping, also known as skipping, is preferred by thousands of people over running because of its many benefits. It’s comparatively easy to perform, burns a lot of calories, and it’s fun indeed.
How to do Rope Jump?
To perform skipping, all that you need is a rope. Stand straight and keep your legs close to each other with your elbow near your stomach. Now jump and let the rope go in a circle around your body from head to toe and repeat.
Even though pushups may be tough for beginners they are one of the most common bodyweight exercises. They are best for building the upper body. It helps form the chest, shoulders, and triceps,
How to do Push-ups?
Push-ups require no training equipment. To practise push-ups, one needs to get into a cat position with palms and toe tips touching the ground. Now go down on your chest and touch the ground. Make sure your spine doesn’t bend, and the legs are straight. As you gain experience, you can challenge yourself by putting your toes close to each other.
8. Side Jackknife
The Side Jackknife is an exercise that targets obliques, shoulders, and quads. It also involves the glutes & hip flexors.
How to do Side Jackknife?
To perform Side Jackknife, you need to lie down on your side with one leg on top of the other and place one hand behind your head with the elbow flared out.
Put the other hand on the ground in front of you to balance your weight. Now try to bring your upper leg and elbow together and then take it back to the original position. Now repeat the steps to implement training.
9. Russian Twist
The Russian Twist is a simple yet very effective way to train your core and hips. It is a popular exercise among athletes– all thanks to after-effects that help them in twisting movements and quickly change direction.
How to do a Russian Twist?
To perform the Russian twist, sit on the ground with your knees up in a v position. Make sure to keep both your legs shoulder-width apart from each other. Now, twist from one side to another. Repeat it several times to train the body.
10. TRX Pull-up
TRX pull-ups need a lot of upper body strength. But it can be easy if you know the right technique and have practised a lot. To perform this, you would also need a TRX trainer.
How to do TRX Pull-up?
To perform TRX Pull-up take a grip of TRX. Now use your back and arms to pull your body upwards with both legs shoulder-width apart.
You should aim to get your chest to the same level as the handles and hold your body in that position for seconds. Gradually lower your body and repeat the steps to follow the same. Don’t worry if you can’t match the handle level initially. It’ll demand a few days of training for you to reach there but you eventually will. Patience and determination are the keys.
Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workout
Research says that HIIT cardio workouts can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
HIIT cardio workout has an impressive ability to increase your body’s metabolic rate for hours even after exercise. One study has shown that HIIT can continue improving your metabolic rate for hours after training. As a result, it helps burn calories even after a workout session. Another research indicates that HIIT might shift the body’s metabolism away from consuming carbohydrates and toward using fat for energy.
HIIT cardio workout also helps increase muscle mass if done with the right weights and technique in specific individuals.
HIIT cardio workout also improves an individual’s oxygen consumption capacity. One research indicated that participants who did 20-minute HIIT workouts four days a week for five weeks increased their oxygen intake by 9%.
Research suggests that high-intensity exercise may benefit people at risk of type 2 diabetes. HIIT cardio workout also lowers blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals. HIIT also improves insulin resistance compared to normal exercise.
Research suggests that HIIT can lower heart rate and blood pressure in those who are overweight or obese groups where high blood pressure is widespread.
The HIIT cardio workout does not usually require any training equipment. The above-suggested ten exercises do not need any expensive heavy equipment other than the rope, which is easily available at home.
HIIT cardio workout is one of the best ideas to train without spending much on costly equipment. However, it is highly recommended to seek expert advice to perform it right and avoid injuries.
Make sure to wear the right shoes along with other guarding elements. Along with the training, you should also take care of the proper dietary requirements of your body for the training to be effective. Have a cheerful start!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is HIIT Safe?
Generally yes, but this will depend on your own fitness level and circumstances. If an aerobic endurance base is developed over time and the training protocols are followed properly, then HIIT can be a safe and effective method of exercise. Individuals who are just starting to work out or have serious heart conditions should get the approval of their doctor before beginning the strenuous activity. HIIT should not be the only form of exercise that you do during the week, but it can help you when you are crunched for time and need to work out quickly.
Q. Can I do HIIT more than once a day?
We would not recommend trying to do HIIT more than once per day for an average individual. The purpose of a HIIT workout is to give 100% effort during the workout and then allow proper time for recovery (ranging from 24-48 hours depending on your fitness level). A second HIIT workout would not be as efficient or effective as your first workout and can lead to injury if you are over-exhausting yourself. Instead of two HIIT workouts, you can add power walking or low-intensity cardio later in the day for active recovery. You don’t need to constantly give maximal effort to get the benefits of HIIT.
Q. Can I do HIT at home?
Yes, HIT can be performed very effectively at home, or even whilst travelling with less equipment. Simple and effective bodyweight HIT routines can be structured for example, using the following exercises:
Push up variants
Chin ups/ Pull ups
Q. Is HIIT useful for athletes?
HIIT can play an excellent role as the general strengthening and general conditioning stimulus for athletes involved in sports and other challenging physical activities. There are some additional considerations that athletes need to make when applying HIIT, such as appropriately scheduling workouts alongside skill and specific conditioning training and their competitive events. A huge advantage of HIIT for athletes is its safety: the likelihood of getting injured whilst performing proper HIIT is exceptionally low.
Q. Do I need to warm up before HIIT?
Many physical activities, especially those in which an individual is exposed to high/sudden forces require a warm-up. HIIT is however different. The forces that the musculoskeletal system is exposed to during a HIIT workout are relatively low and there is never a sudden increase in force during HIIT exercise. Even so, there is still a hidden warm-up for each exercise in HIIT. The initial 30 or so seconds of a properly applied HIIT set is the warm-up for the more intense, later part of the set to come- the efficiency of HIIT shines through again.
Q. I have painful knees can I still do HIIT?
Due to the focus on safety and controlled exposure to forces HIIT is as safe as exercise gets. However, if you have painful knees we recommend you get them checked out by your doctor and then work initially with a HIIT personal trainer if at all possible.
Q. How will HIIT help me?
HIIT improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness, cardiovascular health increases fat oxidation, maintains muscle mass, improves blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.
Q. Will HIIT help me lose more weight than traditional endurance training?
There are two components of losing weight, they are diet and exercise. Losing weight requires you to be in a calorie deficit and diet and exercise will help you achieve this. If you go on a 2-hour run, you will probably burn more calories than completing a 20-minute HIIT session, however, if you are short of time, then a HIIT session will provide you with the best results. A combination of HIIT and the correct diet will be very effective at helping you lose weight rather than exercise or diet in isolation.
Q. How long should of HIIT workout last?
We suggest keeping HIIT workouts between 30 and 45 minutes for optimal effectiveness, but the length ultimately depends on your fitness goals.
Q. Will HIIT help me lose weight?
HIIT can play a role in fat loss as well as in lean tissue gain. If an individual has excess fat to lose, applying HIIT at the same time as following an appropriate diet will result in a reduction in body fat. The utilization of stored glycogen, the release of fat-burning hormones and the increase in metabolic rate stimulated by HIIT, all support the individual aiming to reduce body fat levels. In this scenario, scale weight will usually decline between weigh-ins, although it is also possible for scale weight to remain the same for a period of time if body fat has reduced by the same amount as lean tissue has increased during that time period. Conversely, an individual who does not have excess body fat to lose will likely increase their scale weight due to the acquisition of lean tissue.
Q. Can everyone perform HIIT?
HIIT can be applied to any type of population as long as it’s well-programmed and managed. There is evidence that every single type of person can benefit from HIIT
Q. How can we do HIIT safely?
Always check with your trainer before starting a new workout routine, especially if you have not been working out. Keeping HIIT workouts low-impact, in the beginning, is a great way to stay safe. Once you feel good enough to add jumps or more movement into your exercises you will be confident. Also, if you feel any pain, please stop the workout and talk to your trainer.
Q. Which are the main body parts that HIIT focuses on?
While most HIIT exercises focus on overall agility and strength, many target the core, arms, legs, glutes and biceps.