Last Updated on August 5, 2020 by Milo Martinovich
Want to do a HIIT workout at home without equipment but don’t know how or where to start? I’ve put together this simple guide with a list of useful exercises and 3 sample workouts to get you going.
HIIT is one of the most popular health and fitness trends, simply because it is highly effective at burning calories and improving cardiovascular fitness in a short amount of time.
How do you do HIIT at home?
You might see your favorite fitness influencers doing HIIT with fancy equipment like sleds or on cardio machines. But, you don’t need equipment for an effective HIIT workout. Just like those who are looking to build muscle at home, those looking to get some great HIIT work at home are in luck!
All you need for a good HIIT workout at home is a few quality bodyweight exercises and the right program design for your fitness level.
The best exercises for slimming while performing HIIT will be the ones that challenge you each workout. They shouldn’t be too hard to complete all the intervals and they shouldn’t be so easy that you could go for longer durations on the high-intensity intervals.
HIIT exercises list
My favorite exercises for HIIT without equipment are:
- Squat Thrust/Burpees
- Mountain climbers
- Tuck jumps
- Frog jumps
- MMA Roll
- Side To Side Shuffle
- Super Mario
- Jumping Jacks
- Jump Lunges
There are variations of each of these loves to make them easier or harder, depending on your fitness level. You can design an awesome HIIT workout at home with just these exercises but there are hundreds, maybe thousands more that you can use.
HIIT workouts at home without equipment
You are limited only by your available workout space and imagination for a HIIT workout at home without equipment. Here are 3 workouts that I put together to try out using some of my favorite moves.
Quick HIIT workout at home
You are going to use a Tabata layout for this quick 9 minute HIIT workout (learn more about Tabatas here). Pick two of your most effective exercises that aren’t highly technical, since your rest times on this workout are very low. Here is a good example:
Tabata #1 – Jump Lunges
8 sets, 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.
Rest 1 full minute
Tabata #2 – Mountain Climbers
8 sets, 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.
If you chose your exercises properly, you are going to be very tired at the end of this quick HIIT workout at home.
20 Minute HIIT Workout at Home
Stepping up the duration means you can, and should, add some more rest time between intervals since a huge part of the benefit of HIIT is gained when heart rate is allowed to recover enough from each interval.
This workout we are going to use 5 movements. We are going to do a simple set up of 1 minute on, 1 minute off, with the circuit repeated twice.
Here is my example workout:
Each exercise is performed for 1 minute, followed by 1 minute of rest. The circuit takes 10 minutes, so you’ll repeat it twice.
30 minute HIIT workout
If you are looking to complete a long HIIT workout at home, you can add in the benefit of a warm-up and cool-down period for added benefit.
For the warm-up and cool down, you’ll perform 5 each movement for 1 minute each, making sure you keep the intensity easy enough to not need a break.
Then, the 20 minutes of intervals can be designed just like the 20-minute HIIT workout.
The warm-up will serve to raise your heart rate a bit and get your muscles and joints prepared to work hard for 20 minutes.
The cooldown will help you burn more fatty acids since HIIT makes your body release a ton of fatty acids from fat energy stores. But, the HIIT itself can be too little volume to burn them all off. The cooldown will allow more volume and create an environment to burn more of those free-floating fatty acids instead of letting them store in body fat again.
5-minute warm-up and cool down
Jogging in place, light jumping jacks, alternating lunges, air bike, birds dogs
All exercises are performed for one minute with no rest between.
20-minute HIIT layout
Same as the previous workout using your favorite 5 moves or 10 different movements completed once each.
HIIT workout Plan – how can I design a full program?
You should be mixing your HIIT workouts in with regular resistance training to create a complete program for strength and conditioning.
Alternating each training modality every other day is an easy way to set it up. It will allow ample recovery between workouts and give each training day a sole focus. Perform each workout 3 times a week with 1 full rest day per week and you have a simple design that can be highly effective.
HIIT workouts for beginners
What about HIIT workouts for beginners? Nothing changes except the exercise selections! Only pick movements that get your heart rate high during the intervals. They shouldn’t be so challenging that you can complete the intervals. So, advanced trainees might use Burpees, but you might only need Jumping Jacks for the same training effects.
What are the best HIIT exercises?
The best exercises are the ones that challenge you sufficiently. They shouldn’t be too hard or too easy. There is no definitive list for the best HIIT exercises because every trainee is different.
How many times per week should you do HIIT training?
You should do HIIT enough that it continues to build your cardiovascular endurance. Or, you should complete just enough to keep burning fat and losing weight, if that is more your goal. Never increase the volume just for the sake of doing more. Save that for busting through plateaus.
Is 15 minutes of HIIT effective?
Yes, as long as you perform it at the right intensity, it is very effective.
Is a 20 minute HIIT workout enough to lose weight?
Losing weight is more about calorie intake than exercise. But 20 minutes of HIIT can promote more of the weight loss to be from fat instead of muscle. Never focus on exercise as the main driver of weight loss.
Does HIIT help lose belly fat?
It can, but without the proper diet, it won’t do much of anything for fat loss.
Is Hiit better than cardio?
HIIT is cardio. It’s just a different style than traditional cardio, like jogging for a sustained period. It is more efficient, but it isn’t much more effective when equating the total calorie expenditure. It’s just a great time saver and can be less monotonous.
Can too much HIIT make you gain weight?
Too much cardio can release excessive amounts of Cortisol, which can make fat storage more likely. However, most people won’t approach the amount of HIIT needed for real overtraining. Besides, your diet is a bigger driver of weight gain or loss than cardio will ever be.
How long does it take for HIIT to see results?
You can start seeing cardiovascular fitness improvements within a couple of weeks. For fat loss, it’s dependent on your diet.
Can we do HIIT every day?
You can, but it isn’t necessary for beginners. Like I said earlier, only complete the necessary volume to make fitness improvements. Increase the volume as you plateau. Most people never need to perform HIIT every day, but some form of exercise daily is a good idea.
What is the best HIIT workout to burn fat?
No such thing, sorry…
If you want to burn fat, your nutrition is priority number one. Then, the HIIT workouts can be the icing on the cake. They can help burn more fat, but saying which HIIT workout is the best is like saying what pizza place is the best, we all have different likes, wants, and needs.
How many calories does a 20 minute HIIT workout burn?
It depends on your fitness level and the workout performed. Besides, focusing on the calorie burn of your workout is pretty pointless, since most trackers are highly inaccurate.
Can I do 30 minutes of HIIT every day?
You can, but I don’t recommend it unless it is your only form of exercise and you aren’t in a calorie deficit. This will take a toll on your recovery, and it’s not the tactic to combine with a diet to lose weight.
Are 20 minute HIIT workouts effective?
Yes, they are great for cardiovascular fitness and can help fat loss efforts when combined with the proper diet.
Ready for your next HIIT workout at home?
I hope this article sparked some interest for your next HIIT workout. Have any ideas for HIIT workouts at home? Tell us with a comment below!