HIIT Training Workouts

Cut Your Hour-Long Workout in Half With These 5 Metabolism-Boosting HIIT Moves

Tehrene Firman

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Wouldn’t it be nice to get all the benefits from your workouts in half the time? Well, it’s completely possible—you just need to do the right exercises. According to Kirsty Alexander, a Kansas City, Missouri-based trainer and instructor at Health House, there’s one surefire way to get a major burn from your quick workout at home: high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

HIIT exercises are so intense that you don’t need an hour-long workout to get the results you’re looking for. “HIIT will give you the best workout in the least amount of time,” she says. “The short bursts of intense intervals mixed with periods of lower-intensity active recovery allow you to achieve benefits that are equal to—or greater than!—the benefits achieved during longer-duration workouts.” Not only do HIIT moves tend to work multiple muscle groups at once, but HIIT workouts have been proven just as beneficial for cardiometabolic health as exercise sessions five times as long.

If you want to shave time off your workouts, these are some of the best HIIT exercises to try. Warning: Get ready to sweat, because you can’t get all the benefits in half the time without some seriously hard work.

Only have time for a quick workout at home? These are the best HIIT exercises to cut your exercise time in half.

1. Burpees

Why Alexander loves them: “We all have a love-hate relationship with these bad boys. Burpees are a full-body exercise that sends your heart rate through the roof.”

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Lower into a squat by shooting your hips back and bending at your knees. Your weight should be in your heels.
  3. Place your hands on the floor in front of you. With the weight in your hands, jump your feet back, landing on the balls of your feet in a high plank position. Make sure you’re engaging your core and keeping a straight line from your head to your feet.
  4. From your high plank, jump your feet forward again. They should land outside of your hands. At the same time, reach your arms overhead and jump into the air.
  5. Do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for a total of 8 rounds.

Added challenge: When you’re in your high plank, lower down into a pushup for extra muscle-building benefits.

Need some extra guidance? Follow along with this video:

2. Jump squats

Why Alexander loves them: “There’s a good reason why jump squats are one of the best HIIT exercises. They activate your lower body muscles instantly and increase your explosive power. RIP to your quads.”

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower into a regular squat by slightly hinging at your hips, bending at your knees, and engaging your core. Your weight should be in your heels.
  3. Explosively jump up off the ground and land back into the previous squat position.
  4. Do 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off, for a total of 5 rounds.

3. Mountain climbers

Why Alexander loves them: “Mountain climbers don’t just give you a full-body workout—they’re also great for building cardio endurance and increasing your core strength. I love the burn mountain climbers give your shoulders and how quickly they raise your heart rate.”

How to do it:

  1. Start in a high plank position, keeping a straight line from your head to your feet. Make sure you’re always engaging your core.
  2. Keeping your hips and glutes low, bring one knee to your chest then back out to plank, alternating legs. As you go, increase your speed.
  3. Do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for a total of 8 rounds.

Make sure your form is on point with this video:

4. Jump rope

Why Alexander loves it: “Using a jump rope allows you to get in some cardio from anywhere, and you don’t even need an actual jump rope to do it—you can simply act out the motion. The key is having a tight core and being light on your feet with consistent bounding.”

How to do it:

  1. Keep your head and chest up and shoulders back. As you’re jumping, keep the space between your feet and the ground to a minimum.
  2. Make sure the jump rope rotation is being generated by your wrists—not your elbows and shoulders.
  3. Your toes should be slightly pointed down, and there should be a slight bend in your knees. Land softly on the balls of your feet.
  4. Jump 15 seconds at a fast pace then 15 seconds at a slow pace for a total of 2 minutes. Then, do your favorite ab exercise for one minute. Repeat up to 5 times.

Added challenge: When you master the basic jump, you can add different variations, like the boxer step, alternate foot step, side swing, and double under.

Here are some more tips on how to jump rope correctly during your quick workout at home:

5. Sprints

Why Alexander loves them: “HIIT sprints can be done indoors on a treadmill or outdoors. Aside from getting your heart pumping during your workout, they also increase your metabolic rate after your workout.”

How to do it:

  1. Keep your torso upright, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, and core engaged.
  2. As you’re sprinting, drive your knees up and down with your thighs parallel to the ground.
  3. Make sure you’re landing softly on your forefoot and pushing off from your toes. The shorter and quicker your strides, the faster you’ll run.
  4. Do 20 seconds on, 50 seconds off, for a total of 6 rounds. You can increase your rounds weekly.

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