Even if you don’t have access to workout equipment, you can still engage in rigorous and effective workouts using only the weight of your body. “A home bodyweight HIIT workout conditions the body and heart to perform and recover from high-intensity movement,” explains Tina Tang, a certified personal trainer and strength coach at Iron Strong Fitness in Jersey City, New Jersey. Furthermore, “given the brevity of work and recovery, HIIT is an ideal substitute for prolonged steady cardio,” she adds.
Need evidence? Attempt this bodyweight HIIT regimen and you’ll be perspiring in no time — all while developing stronger muscles from head to toe.
Bodyweight HIIT Workout
How it operates: This comprehensive bodyweight HIIT workout, demonstrated by Tang, employs a circuit format with a 2:1 interval ratio, meaning you’ll work at a moderate intensity for 2 minutes and then push your body to its maximum capacity for 1 minute of bodyweight HIIT. Following your warm-up, perform each movement consecutively, with minimal rest between exercises. Repeat the entire circuit two or three times in total, then conclude with a series of post-workout stretches for a soothing cooldown.
Moderate Intensity: Lunge-Squat-Lunge
Your rhythm for this bodyweight HIIT exercise should follow a 1, 2, 3 count — count one to squat, two to lunge, three to squat, and then stand. Ensure that you keep track of your knees, making sure they are over, but not beyond, your toes during squats and lunges.
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands at sides.
B. Step backward with the left foot, keeping hips parallel to the front and pelvis in a neutral position. Lower until both legs are bent at 90-degree angles, keeping the chest upright and the core engaged.
C. Apply pressure to the middle and back of your right foot to rise up, moving your left foot towards your right foot, maintaining a slightly wider stance than the width of your hips.
D. While inhaling, lower yourself by bending your knees and sitting back into your hips until your thighs are parallel or nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your chest lifted and prevent your back from rounding.
E. While exhaling, push through your feet to straighten your legs and return to a standing position.
F. Take a step back with your right foot, ensuring that your hips remain facing forward and your pelvis stays neutral. Lower yourself until both legs are bent at 90-degree angles, keeping your chest upright and your core engaged.
G. Apply pressure to the middle and back of your left foot to rise up, moving your right foot towards your left foot, maintaining a slightly wider stance than the width of your hips.
H. While inhaling, lower yourself by bending your knees and sitting back into your hips until your thighs are parallel or nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your chest lifted and prevent your back from rounding.
I. While exhaling, push through your feet to straighten your legs and return to a standing position.
Continue this sequence for one minute, alternating legs with each lunge.
Moderate Intensity: Squat Thrust to Push-Up
Keep your abdominal muscles contracted throughout this entire bodyweight high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout movement. This will make it easier to jump your legs in and out. If necessary, modify the exercise by stepping your feet in and out of your squat position and/or performing the push-ups with your knees bent.
A. Stand with your feet slightly wider than the width of your hips, toes turned slightly outward, and your hands clasped in front of your chest.
B. Inhale as you sit back into your hips and bend your knees to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your chest lifted and prevent your back from rounding.
C. Place both hands on the ground in between your feet. Either jump or step both legs back to a high plank position with your shoulders directly above your wrists.
D. Push your elbows out to form a 45-degree angle with your body. Keep your neck in a neutral position by looking down, engage your core, and ensure that your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body, stopping about 3 inches above the floor.
E. Push away from the floor to return to the starting position.
F. Jump or step both feet up to the outside of your hands, keeping your buttocks low to the ground and your chest lifted.
G. While exhaling, press through your feet to straighten your legs and return to a standing position.
Perform as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) for one minute.
High Intensity: Wide to Narrow Squat Jumps
As you complete this bodyweight high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise, maximize the height of your jump. Safely land in a squat position by pushing your hips backward and ensuring that your knees are behind your toes. Remember to land lightly, as if you were trying not to disturb the downstairs neighbors in an old apartment building, as advised by Tang.
A. Stand with your feet slightly narrower than the width of your hips and your arms by your sides. Take a deep breath in and sit back into your hips, bending your knees and lowering your thighs until they are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Keep your chest lifted and prevent your back from rounding.
B. Exhale and push through your feet to quickly jump up, swinging your arms overhead to generate more momentum.
C. Land in a squat position with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Swing your arms backward while keeping your chest lifted.
D. Exhale and push through your feet to quickly jump up with your arms swinging overhead for extra momentum.
E. Land in a narrow squat position with your feet slightly narrower than the width of your hips. Swing your arms backward while keeping your chest lifted.
Perform as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) by jumping in and out with your feet for one minute.
Moderate Intensity: Side-to-Side Lunge Chops
This bodyweight exercise combines lower body and core work, incorporating lateral lunges and a twisting motion that targets your obliques. Pro tip: Make sure to align your knee with your toes as you lower into your side lunges.
A. Stand with your feet together, clasp your hands, and raise your arms overhead.
B. Take a wide step to the left and bend your left knee while simultaneously “chopping” your straight arms towards your left foot. Your arms should reach the outside of your left knee.
C. Push off your left leg and return to a standing position, raising your arms overhead.
D. Repeat the movement on your right leg.
Perform as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) for one minute, alternating sides each time.
Moderate Intensity: Single-Leg Deadlift
This unilateral movement will help address any muscle imbalances that you may have unintentionally developed. If you have better balance on one side compared to the other, single-leg deadlifts can help improve that.
Despite the fact that one leg is rising towards the sky, maintain the hips bending evenly and equally,” states Tang. “Exert force on the foot that remains on the ground while ensuring that the collarbones are open.” And if maintaining balance with the lifted back leg is too difficult to begin with, lightly touch your back foot on the ground as you lean forward for this HIIT exercise that engages the entire body.
A. Assume a position on your left leg while lightly tapping the ground with your right foot a few inches behind your left. Keep your arms by your sides.
B. With a straight back and your core activated, slightly bend your left knee and lean forward from your hips. As you do so, lift your right leg off the floor while leaning forward. Move as far forward as you can, aiming to create a “T” shape with your body at or close to parallel to the ground.
C. Maintain an upright chest position and push through your left heel to lower your right foot back towards the ground.
D. Lightly tap your right foot next to your left foot as you return to a standing position. Squeeze your glutes at the top.
Perform as many reps as possible for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat the exercise.
High Intensity: Skaters
To excel in this intense full-body bodyweight HIIT workout movement, make sure to propel yourself off the ground using the external portion of your thighs.
A. Begin in a squat stance with your legs hip-width apart.
B. Jump sideways to the right, landing on your bent right leg, and position your left leg behind your right ankle while hovering your left foot 1 to 2 inches above the floor. Swing your left arm in front of your body and your right arm behind your body to generate momentum.
C. Balance on your right leg for one count, then reverse the direction by jumping off your right foot to the left side. Swing your right arm in front of your body and your left arm behind your body to maintain momentum.
D. Land on your bent left leg, crossing your right leg behind your left.
Perform the exercise from side to side as many times as possible for one minute.
Moderate Intensity: Tabletop Tricep Dip
During this triceps burnout exercise, keep your arms fully engaged and avoid placing too much weight on your wrists. “Press your hands into the floor to keep your chest open throughout the exercise, even when bending your elbows,” recommends Tang.
A. Begin by sitting on the ground with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle and your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Position your hands on the ground behind your hips, with your fingertips facing towards your feet.
B. Activate your core, press your heels into the ground, and raise your hips off the ground, hovering approximately 6 to 8 inches above the floor.
C. Without allowing the hips to lower, bend the elbows to a 90-degree angle and descend into a dip.
D. Exhale as you straighten the arms and contract the triceps.
Perform as many reps as possible for one minute.
Moderate Intensity: Tuck Ups
During this entire full-body HIIT workout exercise, engage the abdominal muscles and avoid relying on momentum to move up and down. If extending the legs is too challenging, keep the knees bent while lowering and sitting up.
A. Lie flat on the floor with both the arms and legs extended.
B. Exhale and activate the core, simultaneously lifting both the arms and legs towards the center of the body in a tucked “cannonball” position. Balance on the tailbone.
C. Inhale slowly and with control, extend the arms and legs, stopping just before they fully rest on the ground. Keep both the feet and hands hovering just above the ground.
Perform as many reps as possible for one minute.
High Intensity: Plank Pike Jumps
To make it easier to jump in and out during this full-body bodyweight HIIT exercise, shift your weight into your arms. If jumping is too difficult, you can step the feet in and out instead.
A. Begin in a high plank position with the shoulders aligned over the wrists, hips in line with the shoulders, and the core engaged.
B. Press the hands into the ground, bend the knees, and jump both feet towards the hands, landing in a crouched position on the balls of the feet with the knees bent and the feet under the hips.
C. While keeping the upper body in place, jump the feet back and extend the legs to return to the plank position.
Perform as many reps as possible for one minute.
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