Fitness

The 7 Best 30-Minute HIIT Workouts, According To Fitness Pros

Time to get your heart pumping.

Energetic self determined overweight young woman in sneakers standing in plank with feet and hands on mat, reteating exercises after professional fitness instructor, watching tutorial online on laptop
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Ever get the feeling that your current workouts are plateauing after a year of doing them on repeat? If you want to switch it up and squeeze all the benefits of a longer sweat sesh into less time, look no further: These dynamic 30-minute HIIT workouts will get your heart pounding and muscles burning in a flash.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a style of exercise that alternates bursts of all-out activity with rest, like 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking. And it’s versatile, says Rachel Warren, founding instructor at the dance studio FORWARD__Space. Simply pick your favorite activity, like dancing or strength training, and do it interval-style to spice up your workout without having to adopt a whole new fitness regimen. Added bonus? It’s convenient, says iFit trainer Kelsey Sheahan — you can do HIIT anytime, anywhere, and without equipment.

It’s no secret that exercising can make your body and mind feel good. And research shows that applying HIIT timing to your fave activity can help you reap those benefits in less time. Exercising in intense spurts quickly drives your heart rate up, which can build your endurance and strength more efficiently than a lower-intensity workout. Regular exercise like HIIT can also boost your mental health by reducing stress and helping your brain function at its best.

Sound too good to pass up? HIIT the ground running with trainers’ seven favorite 30-minute HIIT workouts below.

1. No-Equipment HIIT

No dumbbells, no problem. You can slay these simple HIIT sessions sans equipment, says Kory Flores, a Rumble boxing coach on Equinox+. But don’t be fooled — though these workouts are easy to follow, it won’t take long for your muscles to start burning. Do each exercise in one of the below lists for 45 seconds, then rest for 15. Repeat each list five or six times through for a complete half-hour workout, or switch between the two for a total of five or six rounds if you can’t decide which group of exercises to try.

Workout #1:

- Low inchworms

- Squat jumps

- Bear plank knee taps

- Froggers

- Jump forward, then duck walk back to your starting position

- Heismans

Workout #2:

- Skaters

- Lateral hops

- Lateral hops to sprawl

- Plank march

- Hand-release pushups

- Pushup hold

2. Total-Body HIIT

Channel your inner Britney with Sheahan’s “HIIT me baby one more time” workout, which you can slay with or without equipment like weights or resistance bands. Do each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Repeat the entire list three times. And don’t forget to warm up and cool down to get the most out of this HIIT session, she adds.

- 2 low side-steps (2 steps to the right in squat position, then 2 steps to the left)

- Alternating squat step-outs

- Squat with an alternating oblique twist

- Narrow-to-wide hops (hold a squat position while you jump your legs out and in)

- Alternating curtsy lunge with squat jump

- Sprawls

- Alternating side planks with a pushup

- Plank walks plus two plank jacks

- Forearm plank mat reaches (hold a plank while alternating reaching your hand to the upper corner of your mat or space)

- Scissor switches

3. Tabata Fusion

If you want to kick your intervals up a notch, try Tabata, recommends Hyfit head trainer Eli Poplinger. Traditional Tabata timing is 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for a total of four minutes. Mix and match seven of the below cardio and functional strength exercises, then do a four-minute Tabata round of each to build your own workout.

Cardio exercises:

- Running in place

- High knees

- Mountain climbers

Strength exercises:

- Squats

- Lunges

- Chest press

- Biceps curls

- Tricep extensions

- Thrusters

4. Upper-Body HIIT

Arm day? Barry’s instructor Garret Caillouet has you covered. Grab a set of medium weights and do each of the below exercises for 1 minute. Your biceps will thank you.

Warm-up:

- Inchworm to tricep pushup

- Chest pushup to downward dog

- Bear plank with shoulder taps

Block 1:

- Tricep kickback

- Tricep extension

- Tricep dip

- Cross body chest scoop

- Chest press

- Chest pushup

- 30 seconds of burpees, 30 seconds of rest

- Repeat twice.

Block 2:

- Wide bicep curls with a 15-second hold

- Standard bicep curls with a 15-second hold

- Back flys

- Alternating renegade rows and pushups

- Standing row with a 15-second hold

- Repeat twice.

5. Lower-Body HIIT

If your arms are sore from the previous session but you still want to get your HIIT on, try this leg-focused bodyweight workout from Caillouet. Do each of the below exercises for 1 minute to feel the lower-body burn.

Warm-up:

- Air squat to good morning stretch

- Squat and inchworm to a pushup

- World’s greatest stretch with a pushup

Block 1:

- Tempo squat to squat jumps

- Tempo squat to squat hold

- Alternating reverse lunges

- Alternating reverse lunges with a pulse

- Jump lunges

- Glute bridges

Block 2:

- Forearm plank with hip dips

- 15-second hollow hold, 15 seconds of crunches, 15-second hollow hold with flutter kicks. Repeat for two minutes.

Blocks 3 and 4:

- Lunge with a lean forward at the bottom

- Split squat with a 30-second hold and pulse

- Single-leg deadlift

- Curtsy lunge with a 30-second hold and pulse

- Rocket lunges

- Repeat Block 2 for an active recovery.

- Do this whole block once on the left side, then once on the right side.

6. Strength-Building HIIT

If you have some basic gym equipment at your disposal, then these circuits from personal trainer and Rumble instructor Dale Santiago will put it to good use. Grab a set of medium and heavy weights, then cycle through the exercises in each block for the allotted time to get a full-body workout. Do 15 leg lifts in between each block as an active recovery.

Warm-up (4 minutes):

- 30 seconds of front lunge with a twist (per side)

- 30 seconds of kneeling wood chops (per side)

Lower-body block (10 minutes):

- 10 deadlifts

- 10 squat cleans

- 10 dumbbell or kettlebell swings

Upper-body block (8 minutes):

- 30 seconds of shoulder presses (per side, then both at the same time)

- 30 seconds of bent-over rows (per side, then both at the same time)

Lower-body block (6 minutes):

- 30 seconds of reverse lunge with weight on shoulder (per side)

- 1-minute sumo squat with weights

Finisher (2 minutes):

- Devil’s press (burpee into a double-handed snatch)

7. Dance HIIT

Put on your dancing shoes for this full-body HIIT movement class from Warren. Spend five minutes cycling through the exercises in each of the below blocks to get your body moving and grooving.

Dance warm-up:

- 8 alternating arm reaches

- 8 shoulder rolls

- 8 jumping jacks

Weights block 1:

- 16 single bicep curls, alternating sides. Then do 2 curls per side, then 4, then return to singles.

Weights block 2:

- 8 wide-leg squats

- 8 basic squats

- 8 shoulder presses

Dance break:

- 8 jump squats

- 8 counts of football runs

- 8 single-leg ski jumps (per side)

- Alternate each exercise with some freestyle dancing

Weights block 3:

- 8 tricep kickbacks

- 8 front arm lifts

- 8 straight-arm pulses of your weights behind your torso

Dance break:

- 8 counts of football runs

- 8 counts of alternating arm reaches

- 8 jump squats

- Alternate each exercise with some freestyle dancing

Studies referenced:

Alansare, A. (2018). The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Heart Rate Variability in Physically Inactive Adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069078/

Kong, Z. (2016). Comparison of High-Intensity Interval Training and Moderate-to-Vigorous Continuous Training for Cardiometabolic Health and Exercise Enjoyment in Obese Young Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS One, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4930190/

Experts:

Garret Caillouet, a New York City-based Barry’s instructor

Kory Flores, a Rumble boxing coach on Equinox+

Eli Poplinger, head trainer at smart fitness company Hyfit

Dale Santiago, a certified personal trainer and Rumble instructor

Kelsey Sheahan, a trainer at iFit

Rachel Warren, FORWARD__Space founding instructor and director of instructor training and development