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HIIT Workouts

This is an excerpt from HIIT Advantage eBook, The by Irene Lewis-McCormick.

The HIIT workouts in this section are broken down into 20-, 30-, and 45-minute workouts. You can choose based on how much time you have to exercise, your level of fitness, and your training goals. Many people consider longer workouts to be better workouts, but this is just not true, particularly with respect to HIIT. The fact that these workouts are short doesn't mean that they are any less effective than longer workouts. Short workouts are great to perform when you are pressed for time or are just starting out with HIIT. Additionally, because movement quality is the key to success, no matter which workouts you perform, if your movements are of high quality, your results will be fantastic.


These workouts are further divided into the HIIT protocols of max, mixed, and timing Tabata and the hard, harder, hardest formats. Following the timed workout sequences are 4-minute microburst Tabata workouts you can plug into any of your daily exercise routines. A great addition to any cardio workout, they are performed at the beginning (after a warm-up), in the middle, or at the end of a traditional steady-state routine. You can also perform them when you are pressed for time but still want to take advantage of the benefits of HIIT.


Remember Your Tabata Guidelines

As a quick recap, the Tabata HIIT guidelines are as follows:

  • Max intervals include one exercise.
  • Mixed intervals include the following:
    • If there are two exercises, perform exercise 1 for rounds 1 and 2, exercise 2 for rounds 3 and 4, exercise 1 for rounds 5 and 6, and exercise 2 for rounds 7 and 8.
    • If there are four exercises, perform exercise 1 for round 1, exercise 2 for round 2, exercise 3 for round 3, and exercise 4 for round 4; then repeat for rounds 5 through 8 in the same order.


20-Minute Workouts

The five 20-minute body-weight workouts in this section are quick to perform and very effective; all are from the menus in chapter 8. One focuses on the lower body, one focuses on the lower body and core, two focus on the upper body and core, and one focuses on just the core.


Even though these routines focus on specific body parts, the entire body is involved in stabilization, strengthening, and burning calories. You will become breathless, crossing the anaerobic threshold, yet still be emphasizing a particular body part in these short but powerful workouts.


These workouts require nothing more than your own body weight, so make sure you have a clear area in which to exercise and, for the upper-body and core exercises, a mat for your knees and elbows for comfort if necessary. Also, be sure to have water available to drink anytime you feel thirsty, or to sip during your recovery between rounds or interval sequences.

20-Minute Workout 1: Lower Body

Use Tabata timing, and recover for 60 to 90 seconds between sequences.

  • Warm-up: 3-5 minutes
  • Max interval 1: Squat with elbow drive - 4 minutes
  • Mixed interval 1: Basic squat; basic lunge - 4 minutes
  • Mixed interval 22: Curtsy lunge; twist - 4 minutes
  • Cool-down/transition out: 3 minutes

20-Minute Workout 2: Lower Body and Core

Use Tabata timing, and recover for 60 to 90 seconds between sequences.

  • Warm-up: 3-5 minutes
  • Max interval 2: Quarter-turn squat - 4 minutes
  • Mixed interval 7: Squat jack; Brazilian lunge - 4 minutes
  • Mixed interval 24: Bridge; full bicycle crunch - 4 minutes
  • Cool-down/transition out: 3 minutes

20-Minute Workout 3: Upper Body and Core

Use Tabata timing, and recover for 60 to 90 seconds between sequences.

  • Warm-up: 3-5 minutes
  • Max interval 3: Two-knee push-up - 4 minutes
  • Mixed interval 9: Wood chop squat; mountain climber - 4 minutes
  • Mixed interval 3: Forearm plank; forearm side plank - 4 minutes
  • Cool-down/transition out: 3 minutes

Learn more about The HIIT Advantage: High-Intensity Workouts for Women.