If you want to lose fat and lose it fast, one of the best methods of exercise is called high-intensity interval training or HIIT. The idea is simple: Do a short, yet super intense burst of exercise followed by a period of rest to catch your breath and then repeat for a certain number of rounds. To help you get started, we have 10 beginner-friendly HIIT exercises for weight loss anyone can do.
HIIT may seem simple, but many people do it wrong, which causes all kinds of issues. First, they start with too much work and too little rest; ultimately, they get weaker with each bout of exercise, which defeats the purpose. Instead, HIIT works best with durations of eight to 30 seconds of effort followed by enough rest to bring your heart rate back down. Second, they use too difficult of exercises—then, as they get fatigued, their form breaks down and they end up looking like a fish on a trawler deck.
In this article, we're walking you through 10 awesome exercises you can use for your HIIT workouts that are perfect for any experience level. Whether you're new to the gym, coming back after a long break (Don't worry, we don't judge!), or a seasoned gymgoer looking for joint-friendly alternatives, these exercises are proven to help. These are low-impact moves with simple technique so you don't have to worry about your form breaking down or, worse, hurting yourself.
Keep reading to learn the 10 best beginner-friendly HIIT exercises for weight loss. And when you're finished, be sure to check out 9 Lazy Ways to Lose Weight All Month Long.
This is a stationary bike with movable handles so you can use your upper and lower body to smoothly push against resistance. That way, you get a full-body workout without pounding your joints or muscles.
For HIIT, go all-out as fast as you can for 15 to 30 seconds, and catch your breath before doing it again. If it tracks your speed, try to keep your speed the same with each rep—once it drops too far, finish your workout.
Full disclosure: This is one of my favorite HIIT exercises. First, it focuses on your upper body safely and gently. Second, it's great for anyone—masters and novices alike. They also have various weights and lengths so you find your perfect rope. Just grab the rope ends and move the rope as fast as you can however you want.
Sliding Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a fantastic cardio exercise that cranks up your heart rate and cardio in a hurry. To make it a wee bit easier on your knees and ankles, try a variation where you put your feet on sliding surfaces to remove the friction.
Place both feet on a slide board or separate sliding discs. Get into a pushup position. Keep your core tight, and lift each knee toward your chest in an alternating way. (It's like you're sprinting in place.) Keep your head up and your hips low.
For many of us, we haven't used a jump rope since we were a kid. Too bad, because it really is a fantastic fat-burning tool. It turns lots of calories, and it's also surprisingly easy on the body; in fact, if your form breaks down, the rope stops and you'll have to restart. Also, as you improve, you can increase the duration and speed or try harder variations.
Crawls are perfect for any fitness level—they're extremely low-impact, boost your core strength, increase your cardio and muscular endurance, and improve your movement abilities. You can do them anywhere to get a great cardio effect.
Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips; keep your knees an inch above the ground. Crawl forward by taking a small step with your right arm and left leg at the same time, and alternate. Keep your hips low and your head up.
Rowing is a fantastic total-body cardio exercise that's perfect for HIIT or even slow, long-duration cardio. It's simple to learn the correct technique, and it's gentle on your body since there's no pounding (or water).
Sit tall with your chest out, shoulders squeezed, and lower back flat. Start by fulling extending your legs and then row; then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
This is another awesome piece of cardio equipment that can blast the fat without blasting your joints. It's kind of like a treadmill for climbing or crawling so you can get a total-body workout with resistance and without stressing your joints or ligaments.
Always maintain good posture, making sure not to lift your neck. Start with your palms facing away from you and push up and down by about 18 inches.
The kettlebell swing could be one of the best exercises for HIIT; it strengthens the key muscles in your hips, teaches great movement patterns, and improves your conditioning like nothing else.
Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell a few feet in front of you. Then, hike the kettlebell back between your legs like a center in football, and explosively drive your hips forward. Imagine propelling the kettlebell to a target in front of you. Keep your arms relaxed.
If you haven't skipped since you were seven years old, it's time to bring it back. (Seriously.) "A-Skips" are a skipping drill that teaches correct sprinting mechanics. This exercise is a relatively low-impact explosive move, so you can develop power in your lower body. Stand tall and skip forward. Focus on quick, choppy skips and lifting your knees to your chest. Keep your elbows bent 90 degrees, and drive your feet strong through the ground.
Very few gyms have artificial turf or sleds that allow you to sprint while pushing against resistance, which is a great type of exercise. Fortunately, there is an alternative that allows you to blast the fat away without blasting your joints away.
Find a regular treadmill and, while a treadmill belt is stationary, grab the handles, and sprint by pushing the belt backward. Do it for a short duration, rest, and repeat.