If you’re short on time and need an efficient, effective workout, HIIT workout at home is where it’s at. High Intensity Interval Training is getting a lot of attention. Research demonstrates the effectiveness in increasing levels of human growth hormone, blasting fat, and even reversing the aging process! In addition to burning a high number of calories in a short period of time, HIIT exercise programs will keep your body burning a higher number of calories for the next two days while your body recovers from the demands of your workouts. You can do HIIT circuits using bodyweight or HIIT exercises on your favorite home fitness equipment. While these workouts are intense, they are also scalable for every level of exerciser. Here’s how to get started doing HIIT workouts at home.

Intensity: HIIT exercise programs alternate period of complete exertion with complete recovery in preparation for your next round of work. There’s no way around it. HIIT is not a comfortable form of exercise. To complete HIIT intervals, your heart rate should reach anaerobic levels. This might happen at 85% of your max if you’re new to HIIT exercise. For more seasoned athletes, your work period should exceed 90% of your max heart rate. Because they are intense, work periods are short. In a true HIIT program, you will not be able to maintain your effort for more than 2 minutes. Your recovery periods will be complete rest, providing enough time to repeat your efforts. This can vary from 30 seconds to as much as twice your work period depending on your training goals. A nice rule of thumb is to provide equal rest and recovery in a HIIT workout of 30 minutes or less.

Approach: HIIT exercise programs can be completed using a variety of approaches. Bodyweight or lightweight equipment is an efficient way to complete cardiovascular conditioning and strength training. While it’s efficient, you need to have sufficient core strength and joint stability to complete this type of training at a HIIT level. If you have concerns about your knees or low back, low impact HIIT training is probably your best option. Treadmill HIIT workout at home provides a lower impact version. You can even focus on improving your running form during the short work periods. If you’re not a runner, an elliptical trainer HIIT workout at home or exercise bike is an effective option.

Variation: Starting with a low impact, cardiovascular form of HIIT exercise is a good way to build your stamina and improve your body composition. If you want to continue to get good results from your HIIT training, introduce variations over time. By getting your heart rate up with your treadmill or elliptical, you can include rounds bodyweight HIIT circuits that will build muscular strength. You can also alternate between short, intense runs and HIIT circuits on your elliptical or indoor cycle. Since your work periods are short, you can get good results from a few rounds of higher impact exercise while improving your joint and muscular function. Higher intensity HIIT options that tend to be doable include: running sprints, squats, assisted pull-ups, mountain climbers, and stepping or jumping lunges. Combine these higher impact options with rounds of work on your lower impact exercise equipment for a workout approach that lets you build intensity over time. Try these fat blasting exercises for ideas to include in your HIIT circuits!

Duration/Timing: One of the best things about HIIT exercise is that if you’re doing it right, you won’t be doing it for long. You can get an effective HIIT workout in just 20 minutes. Your upper limit for a HIIT workout is going to be 30-50 minutes, depending on the duration of your recovery intervals. This makes it a time efficient workout for busy days. You can take the guesswork out of your HIIT training by following a pre-programmed workout, such as Sprint 8 provided on many pieces of Vision, Horizon, and Matrix home exercise equipment. You can also get creative with your own HIIT circuits at home.

Create your own HIIT workouts: Understanding the intensity of HIIT training and the need for compelete rest periods between work sets, create your own HIIT workouts using cardiovascular equipment and bodyweight or lightweight training. This article can give you ideas on types of exercises that work well for HIIT training. When working HIIT into your training plan, stick with 2-3 workouts per week. You’ll get the greatest benefit while minimizing risks of overtraining and injury. Feel free to stick to one piece of cardio equipment or to mix it up, as demonstrated in the workout provided here!

The Ultimate 30 Minute HIIT Workout at Home

This low impact, High Intensity circuit will train your entire body while boosting levels of Human Growth Hormone and fat burning for the next 48 hours.

Recommended Equipment: Exercise Bike or Elliptical, Moderate Weight Kettlebell, Moderate weight dumbbells, running/walking area, stopwatch

Warm-up (7 min)
Min 1 min light to moderate load at moderate pace (about 80 RPM)
Min 2, increase load to moderately heavy, allow pace to decrease (about 70 RPM)
Min 3, maintain load, increase pace (about 100 RPM), include 4 jumps (optional) if using exercise bike
30 seconds, increase load to heavy. Decrease pace (about 65 RPM). Include 2 jumps (optional) if using exercise bike
Repeat above
Recover 60 seconds while transitioning to work set 1

HIIT Workout at Home Set 1: 90 second triple sets (minutes 8-17)
Goblet squats 30 seconds
Push-ups 30 seconds
Goblet Squats 30 seconds
Recover 60 seconds

Run: using outdoor space or treadmill; hard run for 90 seconds (option to substitute a farmer’s carry using kettlebell on one side)
Recover 60 seconds

Repeat above including recovery (farmers carry on opposite side)

Bike/Elliptical Round 2 (minutes 18-22)
Use a moderately heavy load at 70 RPM; increase speed to 100 RPM, maintain 45 seconds; rest 60 seconds, repeat 2 more times

HIIT Workout at Home Set 2: Supersets (minutes 23-27)
45 seconds, Kettlebell Thrusters (holding kettlebell at collarbone height, complete a full squat then thrust Kettlebell overhead while returning to standing position, repeat)
45 seconds stepping lunges with bicep curl on each side
Rest 90 seconds;
45 seconds mountain climbers
45 seconds plank hold

Cool Down
3 minutes of cycling, lower intensity each minute

About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.