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The Perfect HIIT Workout For Beginners

The Perfect HIIT Workout For Beginners

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The Perfect HIIT Workout For Beginners
HIIT Workout For Beginners

There’s certain questions every fitness beginner asks and one of the most common ones is: what’s the most efficient workout I can do to achieve my health goals faster?

With Sweat’s 12 Week Challenge now here, we want to help you get started on your fitness journey the right way and make the most of your workouts. That’s why we’re providing you with a quick HIIT workout for beginners, as well as giving you a little insight as to why HIIT training is such an effective workout.

If you want to make the most of your workout time, then a HIIT workout is one of the best forms of exercise that you can start doing! No matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, incorporating a HIIT workout into your fitness routine can help you to improve your fitness. In fact, HIIT is considered to be one of the best kinds of workouts that you can do to burn fat, tone and improve your cardiovascular health. 

What is a HIIT workout?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and has become popular because, when done correctly, it can burn a high number of calories in a short period of time. 

Generally, a HIIT workout involves short, intense circuits. In a HIIT workout, you push yourself to your capacity for short bursts of time, with short rest periods in between. Because of the high level of intensity involved, it encourages your body to continue burning calories even after your workout is done — this is known as EPOC or the ‘afterburn effect’. 

20-minute HIIT workout for beginners

This HIIT bodyweight circuit is the perfect HIIT workout for beginners. It doesn’t require any equipment, which means you can do it in the comfort of your own home! 

This  is an AMRAP-style workout — what this means is that you do ‘as many reps (repetitions) as possible’ for each exercise in the set time frame. AMRAP-style workouts are great for beginners, as your progress over time can be quite obvious. As you exercise for a set time frame, you will be able to track your progress through the number of reps you can squeeze into each set period.

Remember to pace yourself to begin with. You should be pushing yourself hard and try to do as many reps as possible but you don’t want to overdo it — especially if you’re just starting out with fitness. 

Remember that it is important to do a good warm up before your HIIT workout, in order to prepare your muscles and help reduce the risk of injury.

HIIT workout instructions:

  • This HIIT workout has 3 circuits that you will need to complete. Complete 2 laps of Circuit 1, before moving on to Circuit 2, and so on. 
  • There are 3 exercises within each circuit. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and do as many reps as you can within that time frame. When the 30 seconds is over, rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. For example, in Circuit 1 do as many squats as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, then move on to do as many commandos as you can for 30 seconds, and so on. 
  • Between each circuit of the HIIT workout, you get a 60 second break before moving on to the next circuit.

Circuit 1

Squat

HIIT Workout Squat
  1. Plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains within a 45- to 90- degree angle to your hips.
  3. Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Commando

HIIT Workout For Beginners
  1. Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) on a yoga mat and extending both of your legs behind you while resting on your knees. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. 
  3. Exhale. Release your right forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your right shoulder and push up onto your right hand. Release your left forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder and push up onto your left hand. Ensure that you keep your core activated to prevent your hips from swaying.
  4. Inhale. Release your right hand and lower your forearm to the mat, then release your left hand and lower your forearm to the mat to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this exercise, starting with your left arm. 
  6. Continue alternating between right and left for 30 seconds.

Heel tap

HIIT Workout Bodyweight Circuit
  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat hip-width apart. Slowly lift your head and shoulder blades and arms off the floor and engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.
  2. Bend your torso to the right to allow your right hand to touch your right ankle.
  3. Return to starting position and bend your torso to the left to allow your left hand to touch your left ankle.
  4. Continue alternating between right and left for 30 seconds, inhaling for four repetitions and exhaling for four repetitions.

Rest for 60 seconds before moving on to Circuit 2.

Circuit 2 

Alternating lunge

HIIT Workouts For Women
  1. Plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. Carefully take a big step forwards with your left foot. As you plant your left foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90-degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. When done correctly, your front knee will be aligned with your ankle and your back knee will be hovering just off the floor.
  3. Exhale. Extend both knees and transfer your weight completely onto your right foot. Step your left foot backward to return to the starting position.
  4. Inhale. Carefully take a big step forwards with your right foot. As you plant your right foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90-degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. When done correctly, your front knee will be aligned with your ankle and your back knee will be hovering just off the floor.
  5. Exhale. Extend both knees and transfer your weight completely onto your left foot. Step your right foot backward to return to the starting position.
  6. Complete alternating between left and right for 30 seconds.

Glute bridge

HIIT Workout Glute Bridge
  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat, ensuring that they are hip-width apart and your spine is in a neutral position. Allow your arms to rest by your sides on the mat. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. 
  3. Exhale. Press your heels into the mat, activate your glutes and raise your pelvis off the floor until your body forms one straight line from chin to knee, resting on your shoulders.
  4. Inhale. Lower your pelvis to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Bent-leg raise

HIIT Workout Kayla Itsines
  1. Start by lying on your back on a yoga mat with your hands beneath your coccyx. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine and elevate your legs off the mat slightly. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. Bend your knees and using your abdominals, draw them in towards your chest, ensuring that your feet stay together.
  3. Exhale. Slowly extend your legs to return to the starting position.
  4.  Repeat for 30 seconds.

Rest for 60 seconds before moving on to Circuit 3.

Circuit 3

Sumo squat pulse

HIIT Workout Sumo Squat
  1. Plant both feet on the floor further than hip-width apart. Point both feet slightly outward. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains within a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. This is called full squat position.
  3. Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your legs slightly.
  4. Bend your knees again to return to full squat position.
  5. Continue this pulse action for 30 seconds.

High knees

HIIT Workout High Knees
  1. Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart.
  2. Keeping your weight on your left foot, bend your right leg to bring your knee into your chest.
  3. Lower your right leg and plant your foot on the floor. Keeping your weight on your right leg, bend your left leg to bring your knee into your chest.
  4. Once you are comfortable with this movement, increase your speed so that you are hopping from one foot to the other.
  5. Continue alternating between right and left legs for 30 seconds. 

In-and-out plank

HIIT Workout Plank
  1. Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) firmly on the mat, ensuring that your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Extend both legs behind you and elevate your hips off the mat, resting on the balls of your feet, with your feet together. Brace your abdominals and ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position. This is your starting position.
  2. While keeping your hips as still as possible, step your left foot outwards slightly, followed by your right foot, so that your feet are hip-width apart.
  3. While keeping your hips as still possible, step your left foot inwards, followed by your right foot, to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.
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Modifying the HIIT workout

If you want to make this HIIT workout more difficult, here are some things you can do:

  • Increase your work-to-rest ratio: This means increasing the time you work out for and either limiting or keeping your rest time the same. For example, instead of working out for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds, you can increase your workout time to 40 seconds on and reduce your rest time to 20 seconds.
  • Extend the workout: Increase to 3 laps per circuit if you want to extend your workout to a 30-minute session.

If you want to make the workout less difficult, or shorter:

  • Decrease the workout: Complete 1 lap per circuit if you want to reduce your workout to a 12-minute session, or if you are really struggling to get through 2 laps of each circuit.

Do this HIIT workout and improve your fitness fast!

HIIT workouts for women are becoming increasingly popular — and this is for good reason. One of the great things about these kinds of workouts is that you can change them up to do anywhere. If you’re travelling or away from home, doing a HIIT bodyweight circuit is a quick and easy way to get your blood pumping and stay healthy when you’re busy.

If you enjoyed this HIIT workout and are keen to give another HIIT workout a go during this 12 Week Challenge period, be sure to check out our other high-intensity moves that you can incorporate into your routine, either at home or on-the-go!

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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