Your Guide To Doing HIIT Workouts At Home
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most efficient ways to do exercise at home. HIIT workouts are designed to achieve maximum results through short bursts of intense effort.
HIIT usually requires little equipment and a small amount of space making them a great option for working out at home — particularly if you don’t have access to gym equipment. If you’re new to doing at-home workouts and you have a base level of fitness, HIIT is a training style that might suit you.
HIIT workouts can increase your fitness and improve your overall strength without having to work out for long periods of time. In this article, we’ll break down how to get started with doing HIIT workouts at home.
- What is HIIT?
- How to get started with HIIT at home
- What you need for HIIT at home
- How to do a HIIT workout at home
What is HIIT?
You’ve likely heard of the term ‘HIIT’ before. But if you’re not entirely sure what it is, HIIT is a popular training style that stands for ‘high-intensity interval training’.
It involves working hard for quick, intense intervals, and having short breaks in-between. HIIT is designed to get you sweaty and your heart rate soaring.
The workouts usually last between 10-30 minutes, and include training intervals of anywhere between 20-40 seconds. The aim is to work as hard as you can during the workout intervals, as you’ll be getting frequent short breaks in between exercises.
Usually there is no set number of reps, but instead you complete as many repetitions of exercises as possible. The exercises are typically cardio-based and use just your bodyweight as resistance, but they can also incorporate free weights like dumbbells, kettlebells and a medicine ball.
Get ready to do HIIT at home
If you’re interested in doing HIIT workouts at home there are some helpful tips that will make it easier to get started. From setting up a space for HIIT at home, to what workouts you should be doing to get the best possible results.
Benefits of HIIT workouts at home
There are many benefits to doing HIIT workouts at home, including physical health advantages and lifestyle perks.
Combine strength and cardio in one
HIIT workouts tend to include both full-body strength training and cardio exercises. This means you are able to increase your muscular strength while at the same time improving cardio fitness, all in a single workout.
HIIT is quick and efficient
One of the best things about doing HIIT is the workouts are usually short — between 10-30 minutes. And since you’re doing it at home, you have total control over how long your workouts go for.
This makes HIIT ideal for when you’re feeling time-poor, or if you prefer to do shorter workouts.
You can do HIIT anytime you want
Working out at home has the added benefit of allowing you to train whenever you want. Without the structure of gym classes, you get to choose when and where you work out. If you love working out in the middle of the day, or late at night, you have the option to do that.
Convenient and low-maintenance
Much of the time, HIIT workouts require little to no equipment. Where equipment is required, there are plenty of items you will already have around the house that you can use instead of gym equipment such as large bottles or food cans filled with water or sand as a substitute for dumbbells, or a towel instead of an exercise mat.
You don’t need much space
HIIT workouts are typically self-contained, which means if you don’t have a whole lot of room in your home, you will still be able to complete your workout — whether that’s in your bedroom, living room, backyard, balcony, or even your local park.
Lose body fat while improving cardiovascular fitness
Aside from the lifestyle benefits, HIIT workouts themselves are very effective for decreasing overall body fat, while increasing your cardio fitness. HIIT training has an ‘after burn’ effect, burning more calories after your workout is complete than a longer, lower-intensity training session such as cycling or running.
Choosing and setting up a space at home for HIIT
One of the key benefits of doing HIIT at home is that it requires very little space or equipment. In fact, you can get a variety of HIIT workouts done without the need for a complete home gym setup or equipment.
Choose a space that you can use regularly
One of the best ways to stay consistent with working out is having a space that you can go to in your home to regularly work out. If you are able to pick a space that you know you can routinely work out in, you’ll be more likely to stay consistent with your workouts.
It doesn’t matter if this is in your bedroom or a complete home gym, just as long as you have a dedicated space.
Have somewhere to store equipment
While you don’t necessarily need equipment to get a HIIT workout done, you do have the option of incorporating equipment into your workouts. It helps to have somewhere in your home gym environment to store this equipment.
This will mean you don’t need to leave anything lying around, and you’ll always know where your equipment is before you start working out.
What do you need to do HIIT at home?
While there’s no essential home gym equipment required to do HIIT at home, there are some items you might like to get to you started and allow you to add variety to your HIIT workouts.
A yoga mat is a versatile piece of equipment to have at home for your HIIT workouts. Thick mats can help support your joints when completing high-impact training exercises, and double as a soft surface for post-workout recovery stretching.
A skipping rope is not an essential piece of HIIT equipment. However, it is a great tool to have on-hand for doing short bursts of cardio in your exercise intervals, plus it’s lightweight and packs up small making it easy to store at home.
Light dumbbells or kettlebells
While most HIIT workouts don’t include heavy strength-training, having a set or two of light dumbbells or kettlebells can allow you to add resistance to your workouts once you become more confident with your form. The additional weight adds resistance making HIIT workouts more challenging and increasing your overall strength.
If you don't have access to this equipment, you can substitute these for items you have around the house like food cans or water bottles filled with water or sand.
Resistance band exercises are great for building strength in your HIIT movements. There are several different kinds of resistance bands to choose from, but for most HIIT workouts you can use both long and short loop resistance bands.
Types of HIIT workouts you can do at home
‘HIIT’ is a catch-all term for a number of different workout styles you might have heard of before. What differentiates these types of HIIT is the length of training and break intervals.
Tabata training is a type of HIIT where you work for 20-second intervals and rest for 10-second intervals. Typically the workouts last for only four minutes, which means doing eight rounds of each interval. Tabata can last for longer than four minutes depending on the workout.
EMOM stands for ‘every minute on the minute’, and means working out with one-minute intervals. You have a set number of repetitions you must complete within the minute, and if you complete them within this time frame, the remaining time is your rest period.
AMRAP stands for ‘as many reps as possible’, and means completing as many reps of a set exercise within a given time frame as you can.
How to do a HIIT workout at home
Now you know all about HIIT workout styles, and you know how to get your home set up for your workouts. But how do you actually do a HIIT workout at home as a beginner?
1. Set up and choose your space
For your first HIIT workout at home, choose your space and set up any equipment you are planning on using.
2. Choose your exercise duration
You can then choose how long you would like to work out for, and how long the exercise intervals should be.
For absolute beginners, it’s best to start with a 1:4 work to rest ratio. This means working for one quarter of the time you will be resting for. So, you might like to start with 15 seconds of work, and then rest for one minute.
As for total workout duration, it's best to start with a 10-15 minute workout, depending on your current fitness levels and confidence. This can gradually be increased as you gain more confidence and increase your fitness.
3. Choose your exercises
When it comes to doing HIIT at home, you will need to choose exercises that suit your space and the equipment you have on-hand. Beginners might like to start with a few bodyweight exercises like alternating bodyweight lunges, bodyweight squats, burpees and crunches.
If you already have gym equipment at home that you’d like to use, you might like to try skipping or adding light weights to your bodyweight exercises.
Getting started with HIIT workouts
If you're a beginner to working out, doing HIIT, or working out at home, you might like some additional guidance for getting started with your workouts. You can try this free at-home HIIT workout with SWEAT trainer Chontel Duncan, or read more about HIIT for beginners. Or check out our guide for doing cardio at home.
HIIT is a fun, challenging way to work out and you will reap the benefits of doing it regularly. But if you’re not convinced that HIIT is right for you, there are many different training styles you can choose from. It’s important to find the training style that works best for you and your home.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.