High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are becoming increasingly popular as they boast numerous benefits which include burning fat, boosting endurance, building strength and being seriously quick to complete. HIIT workouts are based on the principle of blending low intensity ‘rest’ intervals with high intensity intervals. HIIT workouts are great for all, and no matter what your health or fitness goal, by including HIIT into your workout routine you can be sure to gain some serious benefits.
Before completing any HIIT workout, make sure to do a complete a thorough warm up. Start with 10-15 minutes of low intensity work such as jogging or cycling. Then do some dynamic and static stretches such as toe touches, lunges, high knees, side bends and arm circles. Also remember to get the right pair of shoes. If you need help, check out my review of the best hiit shoes.
Here are 6 of the best HIIT workouts for females:
#1: Best HIIT Workout for Beginners
HIIT workouts are great for those who are just starting out on their fitness journeys as the workouts are short, and results are gained quickly. When you just start out with HIIT it is a good idea to keep the sessions short in order to keep the intensity high. A great HIIT workout to try if you are a beginner is the following 10 minute session:
Complete 3 rounds of: punches, jumping jacks, sumo squats, press ups
- Each exercise should be completed for 20 seconds at the maximum effort possible
- After each exercise rest for 10 seconds (this can be static recovery, or active i.e. jogging on the spot, or marching)
- Take 1 minute of recovery between each round
#2: Best HIIT Workout for Post Pregnancy
After having a baby it can seem impossible to get rid of the pregnancy weight especially when you don’t feel like you have the time to go to the gym for hours on end. However, with HIIT loosing that excess weight can become easy and achieved really quickly. HIIT not only helps increase your endurance and boosts your muscle tone, but also increases your metabolism to burn fat. This simple HIIT workout will take you just minutes to complete, can be completed at home, or in your local park and is guaranteed to boost your caloric burn big time so that you will get back to your pre pregnancy weight in no time:
This HIIT workout involves doing an exercise at as high intensity as you can for 20 seconds, and following it with 10 seconds of rest. You should then do the same with another 7 exercises so that you complete 4 minutes of all out work which is one round. When you first start out aim to complete one to two rounds, with 2 minutes of rest between each round. As you get fitter and stronger you can add more rounds- up to a maximum of 5.
Great exercises to try include: press ups, sit ups, sumo squats, side lunges, punches, burpees, star jumps, mountain climbers, high knees, tricep dips, squats, spider-man plank, crunches.
#3: Best HIIT Workout for Fat Loss
Research has found that HIIT workouts can boost fat burn far more effectively than low-intensity exercise like jogging, or walking. In fact, recent research has suggested that the increased fat burning boost can be by over 50%. What is more, HIIT can also help to speed up the metabolism post training which helps to burn more calories. This post workout burn effect is not achieved with low intensity training.
Here is a super simple, but seriously effective HIIT workout that you can complete in less than 15 minutes, and reap the fat burning benefits all day: (You can do this on a treadmill, around a running track, or even on a static bike) 30 second easy effort followed by 30 seconds of max effort. Repeat this set 11 more times. Ensure that the 30 max seconds are at an intensity at which you feel like you could not go on for any longer once the 30 seconds are up.
#4: Best HIIT Workout for Boosting Endurance
HIIT workouts can improve both of the energy systems needed for endurance, and can also help to increase the size and number of mitochondria. As a result, HIIT is a great way to boost your endurance, and overall fitness. Here is a great HIIT workout that you could complete in less than 30 minutes (perfect for a lunch break sweat session):
Complete 15 rounds of: 30-seconds of max effort cycling or running sprints, followed by 30 seconds of recovery. Take a 1 minute recovery period between each round. Ensure that the max efforts are at a pace at which you cannot talk, and could not go on at that pace any longer if asked to do so.
#5: Best HIIT Workout for Building Muscle
When you want to build muscle and bulk up a bit, it is important to take on board enough calories. It is also important that you continue to train your cardiovascular system, and boost your overall fitness. HIIT is a great addition to your workout routine when you want to build muscle as the training method can help boost fat loss, and help you to tone up.
When you want to build muscle you should complete fewer HIIT reps, but make sure to complete them at an intensity that is as high as you can make it. You want to complete the session and feel like you could not have completed another 30 second rep. For this muscle building workout complete the following: 40 second low intensity jog, or 40 seconds of standing still, followed by 20 seconds of maximum intensity sprint. Repeat this all 7 more times. You can complete this workout on a treadmill or on any other piece of equipment that takes your fancy- just make sure that you can go all out during the max effort reps.
#6: Best HIIT Workout for the elderly (Over 50’s)
Even as you get slightly older there is no reason why HIIT should not form a part of your exercise routine as HIIT is great for boosting strength, mobility, endurance and overall health. HIIT is also great because it can so easily be adapted for the individual. For example, if you struggle with some exercises because of the impact that they put on your joints then it is easy to switch them out, or amend them in order to ensure that you can complete the session, and reap the rewards.
Alternatively, you could do a HIIT session in the pool consisting of: 8 rounds of 40 second low intensity swim or standing still, followed by 20 seconds of maximum intensity swim or kick sprint, with 1 minute between each round. This pool session is great if you really want to reduce the impact on your joints.
However, if you are capable of an on land session then this is a great HIIT workout that you can complete in less than 30 minutes:
Complete 3 rounds of: punches, side lunges, tricep dips, sumo squats
- Each exercise should be completed for 20 seconds at the maximum effort possible for you
- After each exercise rest for 10 seconds (this can be static recovery, or active i.e. marching on the spot)
- Take 1 minute of recovery between each round (if you feel like you need more recovery to enable you to properly catch your breath and allow you to train at a high intensity then you can take up to 3 minutes of recovery between each round).
HIIT can help you to accomplish your fitness goals. It is an especially great training method if you want to boost fat loss and improve your endurance. HIIT can help you to achieve your results really quickly and this is why HIIT has been gaining in popularity. Of course the results that are gained may vary from person to person but if you follow an 8-week cycle of HIIT in addition to general weight training and good nutrition then you should see great improvements in terms of your fitness as well as significant changes to your body for example in terms of tone, and fat loss. If you are a runner, or any other type of athlete, then HIIT is also great for you as it will help you to perform better in your given sport and boost your endurance to help you outperform your competitors.