The first thought on your mind is can you do a HIIT workout at home? That’s understandable because the common misconception is that you need a gym and/or exercise equipment to train HIIT. As this article will show, you can do a HIIT workout at home and without any equipment whatsoever.
HIIT is so effective at treating and managing a range of illnesses and diseases, it's 'now increasingly being prescribed by doctors to patients with all manner of conditions and ailments.'
The second question on your mind, which typically follows hot on the heels of the first, is but will a HIIT workout at home actually be intense? Well, I won’t try to answer that question now. Instead, I’ll let the workout do the talking.
But before we venture into the workout, I’ve answered a few frequently asked questions about home HIIT workouts. If you’re not here for a Q&A session and want to get straight into the workout, HIIT the link.
Is a HIIT workout at home effective?
The short answer to that question is a resounding Yes! HIIT workouts at home can be very effective at improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. As briefly mentioned above, lots of people are under the belief that you can only get a good workout at the gym. That's not even remotely close to being true.
In our two-part article on Outdoor Training, we teach you how to maintain a high level of aerobic and endurance fitness using just your local environment – such as parks and recreational areas.
Furthermore, we’ve created a broad range of workouts that can be completed at home or independently of a gym. And these workouts can help you forge a high level of fitness.
For example, this HIIT Running Workout will ignite your cardiovascular system while incinerating fat. In addition to promoting heart health, it will build stamina in the major muscles of the legs. To complement this CV scorcher, you could interchange it with this Bodyweight Strength Workout. As well as needing no equipment (save a pull-up bar), this workout can improve muscular endurance and definition. Together, these workouts will enhance whole-body fitness conditioning.
Do you need exercise equipment to do HIIT training?
You do not need any exercise equipment to train HIIT. And that goes for the HIIT workout at home below. In the workout explanation, I’ve included a couple of exercise options that you can do if you’ve got the kit at home. However, if your house is destitute of dumbbells, kettlebells, and jump ropes, you can still do this HIIT workout.
Remember, at its essence, HIIT is comprised of short- to medium-duration intervals of intense physical activity followed by periods of rest (HIIT | High-Intensity Interval Training). Sprinting on the spot or up a hill or performing rapid reps of bodyweight exercises all constitutes HIIT.
What exercises can you include in a HIIT workout at home?
The range of exercises that you can include in your home HIIT workouts depends on equipment availability. If you have the luxury of a fully kitted-out home gym, replete with weights and cardio machines, then you will be able to create a different HIIT workout every day of the week.
But if you don’t have access to any equipment do not think that HIIT is off the menu. It is more than possible to create effective HIIT workouts comprised solely of aerobic and bodyweight exercises.
Exercises suitable for no-kit interval workouts
High knee raises (aka sprinting on the spot)
Bastods (burpee followed by a press-up)
Press-ups (and all the different press-up variations)
How to approach this HIIT workout at home
Alright, now it’s time to turn our attention to the HIIT workout. What follows is an overview of the workout mechanics. Included in the overview you will find a summarisation of the key points, a comprehensive warm-up, and a session plan.
The single most important part of any (all!) HIIT workouts is the warm-up. Exercising at a high intensity from cold can impair your performance and put you at risk of injury. The warm-up for this HIIT workout at home is a 2- to 3-mile low- to medium-intensity run. Of course, the distance you select is determined by your current aerobic fitness.
After you’ve run round the block and returned back home, hopefully hot and sweaty, you’re ready to begin the workout. Comprised of 8 exercises, the objective is to sustain a near-maximal output for each 20-second interval. Once an interval elapses, you are entitled to a rest of equal duration.
It's advisable during the recovery period to engage in 'light exercise like walking, gentle jogging or cycling at an easier pace,' (HIIT | High-Intensity Interval Training). As well as preventing blood from pooling in the extremities, an active recovery will keep core body temperature up and reduce the psychological shock of the proceeding interval.
You can approach the workout in one of two ways. First, focus on one exercise until you have completed all six 20-second intervals. When you get to the end of a line, proceed to the next exercise in the list.
The second approach sees you progress through the workout as you would a circuit. The difference here is that you are moving down as opposed to along the list of exercise intervals.
HIIT workout key points
Complete the suggested warm-up. Over the final mile (or 800-metres), fartlek to the finish line!
Select your plan of attack – either focus on an exercise until all intervals are done and dusted, or progress through the plan as you would a circuit.
Use the plan to keep a track of completed intervals.
Final point, you don’t have to stick to the stipulated interval duration – it is a guide only. Depending on your current level of fitness and training experience, decrease or increase the interval duration accordingly.
1- to 2-minutes of mobility exercises: ankle rotations, knee bends, and low-intensity plyometric air squats.
For 2 to 3 miles maintain a steady run pace – over the final mile (or 800-metres) complete a series of progressive-intensity fartlek sprints.
Perform either 5 or 10 reps of each of the eight exercises in the workout plan.
HIIT workout hints and tips
Here are two simple yet super-effective ways to boost training intensity. The first: make a note next to each interval of the number of repetitions you performed. Then, when you’ve recovered after a well-earned rest, try and beat your previous score. The second: recruit a friend (better still a sworn enemy) to complete the workout with you. Punishments for the partner who achieves the lowest combined rep score on each exercise.
If you’ve got exercise equipment at home, and you want to change some of the exercises, I’m not going to stop you. Let’s be honest, high knee raises are a bit, shall we say, militaristic. They’re damn tough though! But let’s say you’re not a high knee raise fan, what exercise could you do instead? If you’ve got space outside, you could complete shuttle sprints instead. Alternatively, if you’ve got an old jump rope kicking about, skipping would make for a terrific substitute – especially if you can do double-unders.
A training timer will dramatically improve your exercise experience. Trying to keep track of the intervals using a stopwatch is just plain irritating. Plus, having to pause mid-interval to check the time will impede performance. Using an automated training timer, one that audibly alerts you of interval transitions, enables you to focus on the exercise as opposed to your watch.
Enjoyed this workout?
Get your hands on 70 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.