One of the best things about high-intensity interval training, HIIT for short, is that you don’t need any equipment to do it. All you really need is some space, a workout mat, and a Gymboss interval timer. Armed with these essentials, you have everything you need to create fat-burning workouts that you can anywhere – even in your own home.
To create your own HIIT workouts, just select a handful of exercises and apply one of the HIIT timer options outlined later in this article.
The best at-home bodyweight HIIT exercises
The best HIIT exercises involve multiple muscle groups at the same time to elevate your heart rate and burn lots of calories. Here are 12 of the best!
Burpees – this is arguably the best at-home bodyweight HIIT exercise you can do. Entire workouts have been written around burpees! No other bodyweight exercise involves so many different muscle groups or burns so many calories. Burpees aren’t easy, but that’s why they work.
Squat jumps – this is one of the simplest but hardest bodyweight exercises around. Simply squat down, jump up into the air, and repeat. And yes, burning thighs are entirely normal.
Lunge jumps – if squat jumps are not hard enough for you, try lunge jumps instead. From a deep lunge, leap up and swap your legs while in mid-air. You’ll feel this one tomorrow!
Sprawls – run on the spot and then drop down into the push-up position. Jump back up to your feet and start running again. This exercise is a favorite with football and soccer players.
Jumping jacks – a physical education class staple, this is a good substitute for jump rope, especially indoors when space is limited.
Squat thrusts – good for your core and legs, this simple exercise will drive your heart rate sky-high. From the push-up position, jump your feet up and into your hands and then jump them back out again. Simple but effective.
Mountain climbers – this exercise is like squat thrusts but done with an alternating leg action. Keep your core tight and pump your legs as fast as you can.
Push-ups – the humble push-up is one of the best upper body exercises you can do. A workout without push-ups is not really much of a workout! Regular push-ups too easy? Ramp up the intensity with clap push-ups or by raising your feet.
Squats – this functional exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen and tone your legs. Squat down as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Put your hands behind your heads to open your chest and turn regular squats into more demanding prisoner squats.
Step-ups – use a knee-high step to work your lungs and legs. Alternate legs step-by-step for best results.
Bulgarian split-squats – this single leg squat and lunge hybrid is ideal for exercisers who find regular squats and lunges too easy. Place your rear foot on a chair or bed, hop forward into a split stance, and then bend your legs. Keep your torso upright and look straight ahead.
High knee sprints – sprint on the spot, making sure you lift your knees up high. Your thighs should come up to parallel to the floor. Keep your torso upright. Pump your legs as fast as you can.
Gymboss HIIT timer options
HIIT is one of the most versatile workout methods around. Combine any of the exercises listed above with one of the following interval timer options to create an almost unlimited number of effective workouts.
1. Regular intervals
For this workout, choose an appropriate work period such as 30-60 seconds, and then a rest period such as 45-60 seconds. Choose 4-6 exercises and then do 3-5 rounds of your HIIT circuit. For example:
3. Jumping jacks
5. Lunge jumps
6. High knee sprints
Tabatas only take four minutes but, done right, that could be the longest four minutes of your life! Developed and popularized by Japanese sports doctor Izumi Tabata, this HIIT workout is perfect for when time is short. Set your Gymboss interval timer for 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds rest, for 8 rounds. Tabatas work great with burpees, squat jumps, and high knee sprints.
3. P.A.U.L HIIT circuits
P.A.U.L stands for plyometric, abs, upper body, lower body, and is an effective way to design your next HIIT workout. Simply slot your chosen exercises into the P.A.U.L framework and then do 30-seconds of each one. Rest for 30 seconds, and then go again. Do four to six laps to total 10-15 minutes.
Example P.A.U.L workout:
P. Lunge jumps
L. Prisoner squats
4. 5x5 30/30 intervals
For this workout, set your HIIT timer for 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest for 25 rounds. Choose five exercises and then do five sets of each one before moving onto the next. Avoid putting similar exercises next to each other. Squats followed by lunges would make lunges harder than they need to be. Squats followed by push-ups would be much better, allowing you to do more reps and work harder.
5. Density blocks
For this workout, set your Gymboss interval timer for five minutes and then pick an exercise. Start your Gymboss HIIT timer and do as many reps of your chosen exercise as you can in that time with good form. Rest when you have to but try to keep pumping out the reps.
When the time is up, choose another exercise and go again. Do as many density blocks as time allows. As a minimum, try and do an upper body exercise, a lower body exercise, and a core exercise so that you work all of your main muscle groups.
Whether you are short on time or just prefer short, sharp workouts, HIIT is a great way to get fit, lose weight, and tone up. Just grab your Gymboss timer and get to work; you don’t even need to go to the gym!