How to Do a HIIT Workout at Home When the Gym Just Feels Too Far Away

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Photo: Courtesy of Derick McKinney

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves exercise that’s performed at 90 percent of your maximum heart rate (anaerobic state) during a short period of time, followed by a rest period. The entire workout is typically 30 minutes long and, more often than not, you’ll feel pretty wiped out by the end of it. But it’s worth it; HIIT is incredibly effective at improving your athletic capacity and glucose metabolism. 

Another benefit of HIIT is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), more commonly known as the “afterburn.” It refers to your body’s increased oxygen consumption after strenuous activity, used to restore the body to homeostasis. In other words, it’s how many calories your body burns before it gets back to its pre-exercise state.

Although HIIT is very effective at burning fat in a short period of time (and recommended for people who have a limited amount of time to train), it is not advisable to do it every day. Ideally, you should practice HIIT twice a week at most to provide your body with enough time to recover.  

Here are six exercises that can easily be done at home, in a hotel room, or a gym. Wherever you are in the world, this workout is short, effective, and requires zero equipment. No excuses.

Levels of HIIT

Complete three sets of the below exercises. Depending on your fitness level and your experience with HIIT, follow these guidelines:

– Beginner: 20 seconds on and 40 seconds off
– Intermediate: 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off
– Expert: 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off

The Warm-Up: Stride Jumps

This exercise is a lot like jumping jacks. You start with your feet together and arms by your side. As you jump, you raise your arms to shoulder level and bring your feet to shoulder width before returning to your starting position. Keep moving fluidly for the allocated time and number of desired sets.

Exercise 1: Squat and Reach

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands together as if you’re praying while holding them directly above your head. Then, squat down to the ground (while keeping your hands together) and touch the floor with your fingertips before returning to your start position. It’s important to keep moving throughout the entire round.

Exercise 2: Ankle Touches

While on the floor, lie on your back with your knees bent (they should be pointing towards the ceiling), your feet on the floor, and your heels shoulder-width apart. Then, while leaning sideways, touch the outside of your left ankle with your left hand before repeating the same movement on your right side with your right hand. Keep repeating these motions for the entire round.

Watch a video demo, here.

Exercise 3: Push-Ups with Chest Taps

From a hand plank/push-up position (with your hands shoulder-width apart), lower yourself until your chest touches the ground. Then, push back to your starting position before touching the left side of your chest with the inside of your right palm. After that, repeat the push-up before touching the right side of your chest with the opposite palm. Repeat this on your knees or toes with your back straight.

Watch a video demo, here.

Exercise 4: Jumping Jacks

This exercise is very similar to stride jumps, which were used as our warm-up. This time, instead of elevating your arms to shoulder height, you raise them to the top so that they touch each other. Then, repeat fluidly for the entire round. This exercise is an excellent fat burner.

Watch a video demo, here.

Exercise 5: Lunge with a Rotation

Standing with your feet fairly close together and arms stretched out in front of you (with your hands together), lunge forward with your left leg — without your knee protruding over your toe — and lower yourself before rotating your torso to the left. Then, return to the center and raise yourself to your starting position. Repeat this motion on the right side and alternate each round. 

Watch a video demo, here.

Exercise 6: Chair Dips

Stand in front of a chair, facing away from it. Beginning with your hands on either side of the chair (and backside elevated from the seat), lower your entire body as low as you can before returning to the start position. To make this exercise harder, do it with outstretched, straight legs. To make it easier, bring your heels closer to your body to lighten the load. Repeat this for the entire round, ending your exercise with a cool down and some stretching. 

Watch a video demo, here.

With more than ten years of experience in the fitness industry, Jason Young is one of the UK’s most sought-after personal trainers. As a sports conditioning coach, Young has trained Premier League football players and rising MMA stars. He is now working in Dubai at Gymnation. Follow him on Instagram for workout tips, inspiration, and more.