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15 Best HIIT Exercises To Burn Fat

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
15 Best HIIT Exercises To Burn Fat December 4, 2017

Nothing burns fat like HIIT. HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardio performed at high intensity for a short duration with an equally spaced resting phase. The main difference between cardio and HIIT is that cardio is aerobic while HIIT is anaerobic. Meaning, in HIIT, the muscles are deprived of oxygen during the small bursts of the intense workout. This, in turn, helps the body burn the fat even 24-48 hours after you have left the gym! So, if you are looking for “The Workout” to lose the flab and tone up, then HIIT it! Here are 15 HIIT exercises that will burn more calories in 4 minutes than 60 minutes of cardio would. Let’s begin.

15 HIIT Exercises For Weight Loss And Building Muscle

Before you begin the HIIT session, you must warm up. Here’s a sample warm-up routine.

Warm-up Routine

  • Head tilt – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Ankle rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Standing touch toes – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side lunge – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Spot jogging – 3 minutes
  • Standing side crunch – 1 set of 10 reps

Now that you have signaled your body to be prepared for some fierce workout, you can start the HIIT exercises. I have designed a full body HIIT workout plan for you. It is of 3 sessions, consisting of 3 rounds of HIIT for 30 minutes that will burn your fat like no other exercise.

Let’s begin with Session 1.

Session 1

HIIT Round 1

All the HIIT exercises you do in Session 1 should be done 3 times in this order – 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 15 reps, 1 set of 20 reps. Also, complete all the exercises before repeating them for the second and third time with a higher number of reps. Take no rest between the exercises.

1. Burpees

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Burpees engage all the muscles in your body.

Target: Calves, quads, hamstrings, core, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, glutes, and lats.

Here’s how to do a burpee.

Steps

  1. Assume a partial squat position. Make sure to keep your spine neutral, your weight on your heels, shoulders pinched back, buttocks pushed out, and arms in the front.
  2. Squat thrust and touch the floor with both your palms. Support your lower body by extending your legs behind. Keep your toes flexed on the floor.
  3. Do a push-up. Flex your elbows and touch the floor with your chest and then get back up to a squat thrust position.
  4. Do a frog jump by bringing both the legs near your palms and then doing a jump squat by raising your hands above your head and jumping up.

Duration: 2-4 minutes

2. High Knees

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The main objective of this exercise is to get your knees as high as you can. This HIIT is surely going to burn a lot of calories.

Target: Lower abs, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and calves.

Here’s how to do high knees.

Steps

  1. Stand straight. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart and look straight ahead.
  2. Jump, bring your right knee up and place your right foot back on the floor.
  3. Jump and bring left knee up and place your left foot back on the floor.
  4. Do this alternately and at high speed. This should look like you are spot jogging, except that your knees are higher. You may keep your arms extended in front of you and let your knees touch your palms when you do the exercise.

Duration: 2 minutes

3. Split Jumps/Lunge Jumps

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Lunge jumps or split jumps are a variation of lunges. They burn a tremendous amount of calories and work on the following muscles.

Target: Calves, quads, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, glutes, and core.

Here’s how to do split jumps or lunge jumps.

Steps

  1. Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Put your left leg in front, keep your spine straight, flex your knees and go down. The femur of your right leg should be perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Jump, and before landing, put your right leg in front, with the left femur perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Jump, and before landing, put your left leg in front.
  5. Do this at a higher intensity.

Duration: 3-4 minutes

1-Minute Rest

HIIT Round 2

All the HIIT exercises in Round 2 should be done 3 times. Do each exercise for 45 seconds and take a 15-20-second break between each exercise. Also, complete all the exercises before repeating them for the second and third time with a higher number of reps.

4. Up And Out Jumping Jacks

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Jumping jacks are fun and non-exhausting. And a little modification can make them HIIT or anaerobic exercises.

Target: Calves, quads, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, glutes, shoulders, lats, and core.

Here’s how to do split jumping jacks.

Steps

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and shoulders relaxed. Look straight ahead.
  2. Jump and move both your feet laterally apart. Simultaneously, move your hands from the sides to over your head.
  3. Jump again and bring your hands and feet back to the starting position.
  4. Jump and move both your feet laterally apart and simultaneously move your hands from the sides to the front.
  5. Jump again and bring your hands and feet back to the starting position.

Duration: 45 secs

Rest – 15-20 secs

5. Mountain Climbers

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Want to shape your core? Do mountain climbers. Here are the primary and secondary muscles that this exercise works on.

Target: Lower abs, upper abs, obliques, shoulders, triceps, lats, hamstrings, glutes, quads, and calves.

Here’s how to do mountain climbers.

Steps

  1. Get into the plank position. Place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and keep your core engaged.
  2. Draw the right knee in, towards your chest, without lifting the hips.
  3. Bring the right leg back to its position and draw the left knee in towards your chest.
  4. Bring your left leg back to its position.
  5. Do this at a higher speed without lifting your hips.

Duration: 45 secs

Rest – 15-20 secs

6. Rope Jumping

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Rope jumping is a great whole body workout. Here are the muscles that this exercise works on.

Target: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, adductor, abductor, wrist flexors and extensors, biceps, and core.

Here’s how to do jump rope.

Steps

  1. Stand straight with your feet lesser than hip-width apart. Hold the rope ends, and keep your elbows close to your torso.
  2. Start with normal rope jumps.
  3. Change these normal jumps to one-legged jumps. Alternate between your right and left legs.
  4. Change, jump forward and backward for a few seconds.
  5. Again, change, jump left and right for a few seconds.

Duration: 45 secs

Rest – 15-20 secs

HIIT Round 3

All the HIIT exercises you do in Round 3 should be done 3 times. Do each exercise for 45 seconds and take 15-20 second break in between each exercise. Also, complete all the exercises before repeating them for the second and third time with a higher number of reps.

7. Push-ups

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Push-ups are one of best core exercises. They are tough if you are a beginner, but you must try doing as many as you can with precision.

Target: Upper abs, lower abs, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, adductor, abductor, wrist flexors and extensors, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.

Here’s how to do push-ups.

Steps

  1. Assume the Cat Pose with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, shoulders in a neutral position, palms flat on the floor, fingers pointing ahead, your head in line with your body, feet shoulder-width apart, and knees on the floor.
  2. Inhale, flex your elbows, and go down until your chest touches the floor.
  3. Exhale and come up to the starting position.
  4. Take your knees off the ground and support your lower body on your toes.
  5. Inhale, flex the elbows, and go down. Exhale and come back up to the starting position.
  6. Make it a little challenging by putting your feet close together.

Duration: 45 secs

Rest – 15-20 secs

8. Walking Lunges With Kettlebell Pass Under

This is a great exercise that works on your lower body.

Target: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, adductor, core, wrist flexors and extensors, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.

Here’s how to do walking lunges with a kettlebell.

Steps

  1. Stand straight. Keep your spine neutral, look straight, and hold a kettlebell in your right hand.
  2. Put your left foot in front, flex both your knees and go down.
  3. As you go down, pass the kettlebell under your left thigh and transfer it to your left hand.
  4. Lift your body up and bring your right foot in line with the left.
  5. Take a step ahead with your right foot, flex both your knees and go down.
  6. Pass the kettlebell underneath your right thigh and transfer the kettlebell to your right hand.
  7. As you lunge and pass the kettlebell, you walk ahead – the reason this exercise is known as the walking lunge with kettlebell pass under.

Duration: 45 secs

Rest – 15-20 secs

9. Explosive Lunges

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Explosive lunges can also be called jumping lunges. Here are the muscles that they work on.

Target: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, adductor, and core.

Here’s how to do explosive lunges.

Steps

  1. Stand straight. Keep your spine neutral, look straight, and keep your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Put your right foot in front, flex both your knees and go down till you almost touch the ground. Make sure the left femur is perpendicular to the floor, and the right femur and shin are at right angles with each other.
  3. Get back up and jump. Put your left foot in the front and right at the back and land softly on the ground. Now, your left foot is in the front and right at the back, knees flexed, and right femur perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Do this at a higher speed but with precision.

Duration: 45 secs

Rest – 2 minutes

This brings us to the end of Session 1. Rest for a minute or two and then start with Session 2.

Session 2

HIIT Round 1

Do each exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Do HIIT Round 1 thrice before moving on to the next round.

10. Incline Sprint

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The incline sprint or running on an inclined plane makes the run 10X effective.

Target: Hamstrings, quads, calves, adductors, glutes, and core.

Here’s how to do the incline sprint.

Steps

  1. Start by slowly jogging on the treadmill for 10 seconds (resting phase).
  2. Set your treadmill incline at 9, speed 12, and start running. Sprint for 20 seconds.
  3. Rest for 10 seconds, where you can walk or jog.
  4. Do this thrice.

Duration: 1-2 minutes

Rest – 20 seconds

11. Renegade Rows

Renegade rows are one of the best torso exercises. Here are the muscles that they work on.

Target: Core, lats, shoulder, obliques, triceps, biceps, wrist flexors and extensors.

Here’s how to do renegade rows.

Steps

  1. Assume the knee push-up position. Keep your spine straight, core engaged, palms flat on the floor, and feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start by touching the inside of your right elbow with your left hand. Then, touch the inside of the left elbow with your right hand. Make sure you resist the side to side swaying of your body when you do this.
  3. Flex your right elbow and bring your right palm near your chest. Do the same for the left hand.
  4. Start the HIIT session by using 5-pound dumbbells. Keep the dumbbells close to each other and in front of you.
  5. Lift the right dumbbell and bring it to the side of your chest. Exhale and bring the dumbbell back on the floor.
  6. Do the same on the left side.

Duration: 20 secs

Rest – 10 secs

12. Russian Twist

Take the Russian twist to the next level by adding a v-sit and speed to it.

Target: Core, obliques, lats, triceps, biceps, hamstrings, and quads.

Here’s how to do a Russian twist with the kettlebell.

Steps

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front.
  2. Flex your knees and assume a v-sit position. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart.
  3. Twist from side to side for 20 seconds.

Duration: 20 secs

Rest – 1 min

This brings us to the last HIIT round of Session 2. Challenge yourself and burn that fat. Here you go!

HIIT Round 2

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Do the HIIT Round 2 twice before moving on to the next round.

13. TRX Pull-up

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Pull-ups require a lot of upper body strength. But TRX pull-ups can be done if you know the right technique. You also need a TRX trainer or suspension trainer to do this exercise.

Target: Triceps, biceps, upper back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and wrist flexors and extensors.

Here’s how to do TRX pull-ups.

Steps

  1. Sit on the floor. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor, and hold the TRX with both your hands.
  2. Exhale and pull yourself up. Squeeze your shoulder blades, and touch your chest against the handles. Make sure you use your upper body strength more and little leg strength.
  3. Lower your body back and repeat the process again.

Duration: 30 secs

Rest – 15 secs

14. Travelling Squat With Kettlebell

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The next exercise is fun and is great for the muscles listed below.

Target: Triceps, biceps, upper back, lower back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and wrist flexors and extensors.

Here’s how to do a traveling squat with the kettlebell.

Steps

  1. Assume a wide squat position. Hold the kettlebell with both hands. Make sure you keep your spine straight and don’t bend down with the weight of the kettlebell. Keep your core engaged.
  2. Bring your left foot close to your right foot, swing the kettlebell up, and as it swings back down, move your right leg away from the left leg and assume a wide squat position.
  3. Do this for 30 seconds. Take 10-15 seconds rest before starting the next exercise.

Duration: 30 secs

Rest – 15 secs

15. Side Jackknife

This is a great way to tone up the sides of your body. Here are the muscles that this exercise works on.

Target: Shoulders, obliques, core, abductors, and quads.

Here’s how to do side jackknife.

Steps

  1. Lie on your left and lean on your left hand. Keep your left hand extended, feet together and a few inches off the floor, and toes pointed forward.
  2. Engage your core and pull your right leg and right arm towards each other.
  3. Drop the right leg and bring back your right arm.
  4. Do this for 20 seconds before changing sides and lying on your right side and bringing your left leg and left arm towards each other.

Duration: 20 secs

Rest – 10 secs

This brings us to the end of an intense HIIT fat burning session. Make sure you have a trainer guiding you initially. Wear the right shoes, knee guards, and wristbands to prevent any injuries. Set your goal to achieve the best out of these exercises. Also, take care of what you eat while you are out and also when you are alone. HIIT will help you be active and fit like no other exercise. So, start today and get fit. Cheers!

FAQs

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How many times a week should I do HIIT to lose weight?

You can do HIIT 3 days a week to lose weight, build muscle mass, and increase muscle strength and power.

Can you do HIIT training every day?

It depends on how fit you are. You can start by doing HIIT thrice a week, and then do it every day after you have built the stamina. Make sure you do not overdo it to prevent the chances of being injured.

How long should you do HIIT training?

HIIT should be a part of your fitness regimen. There is no end to it. You can make HIIT more challenging as you move up the difficulty levels.

Is cardio or HIIT better for weight loss?

A mix of cardio and HIIT is ideal for weight loss. Yes, HIIT is more effective, but if you are a beginner, start with cardio. After two weeks, slowly start incorporating HIIT into your workout regimen.

What should you eat after a HIIT workout?

After you have completed your HIIT routine for the day, you can have a protein shake (if you don’t get enough protein from whole foods) or a healthy meal consisting of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Moreover, you should have a post-workout drink based on your body type. Talk to your dietitian to find out what is best for you.

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Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.
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