The HIIT Workouts To Do When You're Short On Time

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins.
Let's pretend you have 20 minutes of free time. That's just enough time to watch a quick episode of one of your shows, do a face mask, or squeeze in a workout, but it's not enough time to go all the way to the gym or take a workout class. If you feel like working out, these random pockets of time are perfect for squeezing in a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.
Basically, HIIT is a cardio training technique that implements quick bursts of exercise and intervals of rest. The idea is that by going back and forth between periods of exercise and rest, you're actually training your body to work more efficiently. Studies have shown that HIIT is more effective than sustained moderate-intensity exercise (like running or using the elliptical), and people tend to find it more enjoyable, too.
Advertisement
Pretty much any aerobic exercise can be done "HIIT-style," and you can also do strength-training exercises (like pushups, lunges, and planks) in HIIT intervals. The other cool thing about HIIT is that it just takes less time, so it's a great way to get in a full workout without feeling like you're cutting corners.
So next time you're stuck in free time purgatory, consider doing one of the short YouTube workout videos ahead. They don't require any equipment, so you can do them at home — and they're so short that you'll probably still have time to do that face mask, too.
1 of 7
Length: 30 minutes.

Workout type: full-body HIIT.

Best for: when you want a challenge. You'll do three circuits of exercises, which might not sound like much, but the moves are difficult (lots of planks and burpees) and require quite a bit of coordination.
2 of 7
Length: 20 minutes

Workout type: no-equipment cardio.

Best for: working out with a partner. This trainer duo will demonstrate how to modify each exercise or make it harder, so it's a great pick if you have different fitness levels.
Advertisement
3 of 7
Length: less than 10 minutes.

Workout type: Pilates-inspired core exercises.

Best for: those trying to improve their core strength. There are lots of planks, plank-jacks, and mountain climbers in this routine.
4 of 7
Length: 20 minutes.

Workout type: yoga and strength training.

Best for: improving your mind-body connection. Some of the exercises that this trainer performs require a bit of flexibility and balance, so be prepared to really concentrate.
5 of 7
Length: 5 minutes.

Workout type: cardio.

Best for: people who want an alternative to running. You can get in a heart-pumping cardio workout in just five minutes with these jumping exercises.
6 of 7
Length: 15 minutes.

Workout type: no-equipment strength training.

Best for: absolute beginners. Here, the trainer breaks down the proper form for each exercise, and provides modifications.
7 of 7
Length: 20 minutes.

Workout type: strength training.

Best for: people who haven't worked out in a while. There's a warm-up and cool down built into this workout, so you can ease into the more intense exercises.
Advertisement

More from Fitness

Watch

R29 Original Series