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June 22, 2020 / Emily Polson

How To Create Your Own HIIT Workout At Home

man in an orange shirt checking a fitness watch

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to burn calories, build muscle, and gain endurance; and it’s a great option if you’re trying to fit a workout into your day.

Ready to get started with HIIT training at home? If you’ve never tried HIIT before, or you’re looking for a sweat-inducing workout to mix in with your other at-home activities, we’ll walk you through how to make your very own HIIT workout for beginners. Even if you’re not a beginner, this simple routine is a great foundation that you can easily customize to your fitness level and time constraints

What is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout style that involves expending maximum effort for short periods of time, followed by short rest periods. You can do HIIT workouts at home, at the park, or in the gym, and during COVID-19 they are an ideal way to stay physically active when you can’t leave the house.

One of the great things about HIIT workouts is that they use your body weight, so you don’t need any special equipment. If you’re giving it your all during HIIT intervals, you can complete a productive HIIT training at home in just five to 30 minutes.

Interval training has plenty of benefits. It boosts metabolism and heart health and may even help balance blood glucose levels, making it a good preventative health practice for those at risk for type II diabetes.

The Basics of an Interval Training Plan

Like we mentioned above, HIIT is an ideal at-home exercise because it doesn’t require any equipment. Bodyweight exercise like HIIT is accessible for all fitness levels and a great way to strengthen your core. As with any new workout routine or lifestyle change, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning.

Ready to create your own HIIT workout at home? Here are the basics.

1) Choose your exercises

First, decide which bodyweight exercises you want to do for your HIIT training at home. To get a full body workout, make sure you choose moves that focus on different muscle groups such as arms, core, legs, and glutes. Here are some common exercises to choose from:

When putting together your moves in your interval training plan, alternate muscle groups so you don’t tire out too quickly. For example, instead of doing three leg-focused intervals in a row, switch between upper and lower body to reduce muscle fatigue.

2) Choose Your Intervals

A common interval is 30 seconds of activity followed by 30 seconds off, but you can vary it based on your fitness level. If you are new to interval training, work your way up in both time and intensity to keep your body safe and enjoy your progress.

Start off with a solid five to 10-minute HIIT workout at home, balancing 30 seconds on with 60 seconds off. Work your way up slowly, challenging yourself each time without overdoing it. If you are short on time but still want extra intensity, try doing 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off.

You can also download apps that time your intervals for you, making it easier to keep track of your timing between intervals. Check out these 10 great interval training apps.

3) Give it 100%

You’ve made your training plan for a HIIT workout at home, now follow through with it! HIIT works best when you give 100% effort during your active periods. Breathe and recuperate during your rest periods, then get right back at it with full intensity until the time is up.

4) Don’t Forget Recovery

Because of the recovery time your muscles need between high intensity workouts, it’s recommended that you complete this type of exercise twice a week max. Wait at least 48 hours between each HIIT training at home.

Also, don’t forget to stretch after your workout. You may experience soreness in the days that follow a HIIT workout, but stretching immediately afterward helps to reduce lactic acid, which makes muscles feel like they're burning.

At-Home HITT Workout for Beginners

Let’s take the basics for HIIT training and get to the workout. Try this simple 10-minute routine at home to get you started.

Not a beginner? No problem. Customize your HIIT workout at home by adjusting interval times, lengthening the time of your entire workout, or challenging yourself with more advanced moves.

Rounds: 3 Intervals: 20 seconds of activity, 10 seconds of rest

1. Traditional Squats

Young athletic woman doing traditional squats in her home

Start with your legs at shoulder width apart. Bend your knees until your shins and thighs create a 90 degree angle, but be sure to keep your knees directly above your heels.

For more advanced version, turn it into a jump squat, jumping up every time you stand up.

2. Bicycle Crunches

Young athletic woman doing bicycle crunches in her home

Start in a standard crunch position with your hands behind your head. Lift up your right elbow so that your right shoulder blade is off the ground while simultaneously bringing in your left knee toward your chest. Alternate between your left and right sides to engage your core.

Challenge yourself by keeping both your shoulder blades off the ground the entire time.

3. Forearm Plank with Hip Dips

Young athletic woman doing planks with hip dips in her home

From the forearm plank, dip hips right and left without letting them touch the ground. Keep your torso engaged and lifted above the floor.

For beginners, stay on your knees; for the advanced version, keep knees lifted.

4. High Knees

Young athletic woman doing high knees exercise in her home

Lift your knee up as high as possible toward your chest. Alternate with your opposite knee once you’ve reached your peak. Challenge yourself by picking up the speed.

With these four exercises, your beginner HIIT workout at home is done! Make sure to leave five minutes at the end of your workout for a recovery stretch.

How Does HIIT Work and Why?

You can burn a lot of calories while doing cardio or regular aerobic exercise, but a HIIT workout at home keeps the burn going for up to 24 hours. That’s because HIIT training uses more of your body’s oxygen stores, which means that after your workout, your body goes into overtime rebuilding those stores.

This “afterburn effect” is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which helps raise your metabolic heart rate following a workout, which allows your body to continue burning calories hours following your HIIT workout.

Regular interval training, like HIIT, can boost your body’s VO2 level (your ability to use oxygen while exercising). This is what helps you build up endurance for other forms of exercise or activity, or even just more intense interval training. Additionally, higher VO2 levels may have other health benefits like increased quality of life, reduced risk for chronic disease, and mental health improvements.

Even if you’re not actively trying to increase your VO2, a simple HIIT workout for a beginner at home may have amazing benefits. Coupled with a balanced diet, it’s a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even if you can’t get to the gym.

The Takeaway

Working out is definitely an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but don’t forget about what you eat. Combining your at-home HIIT workouts and other activities with a clean eating meal plan is a great way to keep your body and mind working its best. If you need help crafting the perfect menu to pair with your new HIIT workouts, check out PlateJoy’s meal planning app. Save yourself valuable time with customized meal plans made to fit your preferences, smart grocery lists, and online grocery delivery straight to your door!

Emily Polson

Emily is a writer, reader, and traveler from Iowa who has visited twenty-one countries and lived in three. Her first publication was an article in Muse magazine about her summer job as a corn detasseler. She’s a Slytherin, an amateur ukulele player, and a Peter Pan enthusiast. You can follow Emily on Twitter @emilycpolson.

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