HIIT workout plans have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and for good reason…they are incredibly effective. Whether the goal is to lose weight, burn fat, or improve strength, HIIT can help you reach your goals. But what if you are working out at home and don’t have access to all the cool equipment at your local gym? Can you still reap all the rewards of HIIT workouts?
Yes, yes you can! I would even take it one step farther and argue that if your home gym is lacking in the equipment department you can benefit even more from HIIT workouts. All you need is a little know-how and some motivation and you can be on your way to getting in the best shape of your life. I can help you with the know-how, unfortunately the motivation is all up to you.
What Is A HIIT Workout?
If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s ok. HIIT is short for high intensity interval training. It basically means exercising at a really high intensity for short periods, with bouts of rest between sets. This is the opposite of jogging on a treadmill at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes.
HIIT workouts have become very popular recently for a few reasons. First of all, they don’t take as long to complete. You can complete an effective HIIT workout in as little as 10 min. This sounds pretty doable when compared to a more traditional conditioning workout that can easily last 30-45 min.
Second, these type of workout plans have been shown to burn more calories (and fat) than traditional cardio training. Not to get too sciency, but during HIIT workouts, your heart can’t quite keep up with oxygen needs of the working muscles. This causes the muscles to enter the anaerobic phase of exercise. The muscles are working without oxygen, so they can’t sustain it for very long (researchers say up to 2 min tops). Hence, the short intervals of this type of training.
Making your muscles work this hard burns more calories while you are performing the activity, but the biggest difference is seen after the activity stops. HIIT causes a phenomenon known as EPOC: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Your body will continue to burn calories AFTER your workout to repair your cells from the increased stress they were under during your HIIT workout.
Researchers report that the EPOC effect can last between 24-48 hrs after your workout. This means that your body is burning more calories (upwards as much as 15% more) for 1-2 days after your workout stopped! This is why HIIT workout plans have become so popular. More calories burned = more fat burned= more weight loss and looking tone.
But HIIT workouts aren’t only good for losing weight. They have also been shown to improve strength, endurance, and overall fitness. They have even been shown to help reduce blood glucose levels, which is very important for folks dealing with diabetes. Click here for a nice summary of the benefits of HIIT and related research.
Benefits of HIIT Workout Plans
- Workouts take less time- it’s really up to you, but if you do it correctly, you can get a heck of a workout in 10 min or less. No need to jog on a treadmill or ride a bike for 45 min
- Burn more calories- with the EPOC effect, you continue to burn more calories at rest for the next 24-48 hrs
- Burn more fat- burning more calories means your body will have to dip into its fat reserves for energy. These HIIT workouts will help you burn more body fat and get leaner.
- Improve strength- these workouts aren’t all about cardio. These workouts can be designed to gain strength as well. You can use these HIIT principles and apply them to weight training exercises for a nice change to your routine.
- Improve endurance- HIIT workouts are great for increasing overall endurance. Your heart rate will really increase during these workouts (at least 80% of your max heart rate is the goal). As your heart and body get used to these elevated rates, you will be able to tolerate more and more activity before fatiguing.
How To Make Your Own HIIT Workout Plans From Home
Now that we are all on the same page regarding what a HIIT workout plan is, lets talk about creating our own. There are a few key rules we need to keep in mind when developing our own home plan:
- Workout intervals need to be intense- this is really the key to the whole idea. I mentioned earlier about getting your heart rate (HR) to at least 80% of your max HR. To estimate your max HR, you subtract your age from 220. For example: I’m 35, so my max HR (ball park) is 185 (220-35). 80% of 185 is 148. So, during my intervals, my HR needs to hit AT LEAST 148 bpm. Using a heart rate monitor comes in handy. If you don’t have one, no worries. A good rule is: if you can’t talk while exercising, you are probably working out at a high enough intensity.
- Workout intervals need to be short- this makes sense because we can’t sustain those high HRs for an extended period anyway. There are different ways to create a HIIT workout, which we will be looking at shortly, but I like to keep my intervals between 30-60 sec. You can go longer, but you really shouldn’t be going past 2 min.
- Rest periods should be fairly short too- after your intense interval comes a rest period. The rest period can be active or passive. That is, you can walk or do light intensity activity during your rest, or simply stand there.Your rest period should be longer than your workout interval, but not too long. I suggest a rest period 2x as long as your workout phase for beginners. As you become more fit, you can start decreasing your rest times.
- Don’t do HIIT workouts everyday- these workouts, when done correctly, are intense (“high intensity”, remember?). Your body needs plenty of recovery time between these types of workouts, especially for beginners. Start off at 1x/wk, build yourself up to 3x/wk. But don’t over do it.
- Have fun- these workouts should be fun! These workouts are intense, but they should not be boring. Have fun switching up exercises and challenging yourself. Challenge a friend of family member. Working out with someone else is always more fun. And a little friendly competition never hurt anyone!
HIIT Home Workout Plan #1
The first type of HIIT workout I want to discuss is the classic interval workout. In this type of HIIT plan, you will do an exercise for a certain time period, and then rest. And then repeat. And then repeat a few more times. This is the easiest way to create your own HIIT workout plan and it can be very effective.
I suggest you pick a total body exercise. I like to use burpees, dumbbell swings, or squat presses. If you don’t have any dumbbells, burpees would still work. You could always do mountain climbers or body weight squats as well.
A good beginner workout would be to perform chosen exercise for 30 sec, and then rest for 60 sec. Repeat for 10 sets. This workout will take 15 min to complete and I bet you would be drenched in sweat!
Using a full body exercise gives you a good cardio conditioning workout, but if you wanted a strength training workout, would it still work? Why not? How about trying this workout plan with pushups? Bodyweight squats? Pull ups? Talk about feeling a burn.
This workout plan can be used to reach any goal and burn a ton of calories in the process.
As you become more fit, simply decrease rest times. Progress to only 30 sec of rest between intervals.
HIIT Home Workout Plan #2
The above workout was using a chosen exercise. This works well if you don’t have a treadmill or exercise bike at home. But what if you do? Can you use this equipment in your HIIT workouts? Of course you can. HIIT workouts can be performed on any piece of cardio equipment. That said, there are some fitness machines that are perfect for HIIT workouts.
For this workout plan, we are going to use the same principle discussed above, but switch out the bodyweight exercise for a cardio machine.
If you have a treadmill: sprint for 30 sec, and then walk at a leisurely pace for 60 sec. Repeat 10x.
See, same workout setup, just using a cardio machine instead of a particular exercise. This method is incredibly effective at burning calories. If you can make it through all 10 intervals, you should be proud of yourself. As you become more fit, you can also use this trick for, say, 20-30 min. Talk about a burn.
HIIT Home Workout Plan #3
We are going to switch things up a little bit here and create a circuit. And yes, circuits are a great form of HIIT. Consider the entire time it takes to do the circuit the “interval”. So, for this plan, we first need to come up with a circuit that we can compete within 2 min or so.
This can be done by exercising for time or reps. I’ll give an example of each. If exercising for reps, I recommend you choose between 5-7 exercises, depending on fitness level.
I want a circuit that lasts about 2 min, so I could choose 4 exercises and do each one for 30 sec with no rest between sets. Example: pushups, squats, shoulder press, dumbbell swing. Do 30 sec of each exercise back to back without rest, and then rest 1-2 min after entire circuit. Repeat circuit 5x.
This type of workout plan is highly customizable depending on the type of workout you are looking for. You can easily choose full body exercises like burpees and squat presses, or concentrate on a specific body part with exercises like push ups and pec flys. You can combine upper body exercises with lower body exercises, or keep it all upper or lower. It’s totally up to you. Choosing different combinations will keep your workouts fresh and your body on its toes.
Using the same principle, but instead of timing yourself, you could go for a set rep count for each exercise. You will probably need a few more than 4 exercises for this workout. For example, you could choose 5 exercises and do each one for 20 reps: squats, pushups, sit ups, shoulder press, dumbbell row. Repeat 4-5x.
That’s actually a pretty tough workout. No dumbbells? Keep it bodyweight. Squats, pushups, dips, lunges, planks, pull ups. Get creative. Don’t forget, you can always combine full body exercises and cardio exercises. Don’t forget jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, jumping rope. There are a ton of exercises you can do at home with little to no equipment.
HIIT Home Workout Plan #4
This workout plan is going to put a slightly different spin on the circuit idea. For this workout, you are going to create a circuit, and with each set decrease your rest time. First, create a circuit the exercises you are able to perform at your home gym. I suggest you combine upper body, lower body, and core exercises. Choose between 5-7 exercises.
My circuit will consist of squats, shoulder press, bicep curls, push ups, lat pull down (with a resistance band), and sit ups. I can do each exercise for time or reps. If for time, I would do each exercise for 30 sec. For reps, 10-15 for each exercise.
Regardless of your choice, it’s the rest interval we are going to play with. For the first set, rest 30 sec between each exercise. On set 2, rest 25 sec. Set 3, 20 sec. Repeat until you aren’t resting at all between exercises (7 total sets).
This workout will take a little longer, probably closer to 30 min or so. But it’s a great workout and you will burn a ton of calories in the process.
HIIT Home Workout Plan #5
This last home HIIT workout plan is a ladder. This is one of my personal favorites and I go to this method often, especially if I can’t decide on what type of workout I want to do. It’s simple in theory, but quite challenging in practice.
All you have to do is pick 2 exercises. I like to pick 1 upper body exercise and 1 lower body exercise. You perform the exercises back to back, only resting as much as you need to rest. Start at 20 reps for the first set. Then 19 reps for set 2. 18 reps for set 3. And so on until you work your way down to 1 for each exercise.
Example: (PS- I actually use this exact workout, works great)
Exercise A = push ups
Exercise B = dumbbell swing
Exercise Ax20, Exercise Bx20, Exercise Ax19, Exercise Bx19, Exercise Ax18, Exercise Bx18… Exercise Ax1, Exercise Bx1.
You rest as much as you have to in order to complete the amount of reps you owe. I’m a moderately fit guy and it takes me between 17-20 min to complete this workout, depending on how I’m feeling. You can pick any 2 exercises you like. You could always do this ladder 2x with different exercises. I’ve done that before…but not often.
The above HIIT workout plans are blueprints for you to use for creating your own workouts. Feel free to try the examples I provided or switch out exercises for your favorites. Just remember to follow the rules for HIIT: intervals have to be short and intense, rest periods should be a little longer than intervals (but not too long). And make sure not to do HIIT workouts everyday.
This type of workout is tough and your body needs to time recover afterwards. Just think of all the extra calories you will be burning as you recover. For beginners, add 1 HIIT workout to your routine a week and gradually build up to 3x a week.
I hope you took away the fact that HIIT workout plans can be done from home, regardless of how much or how little equipment you have. You don’t need a treadmill to do a HIIT workout! You don’t even need dumbbells. They can be done with body weight exercises alone… and they can be quite difficult I’d like to add.
HIIT is a great way to increase the intensity of your workouts. They are also highly effective in burning more calories and improving overall health. I encourage you to give them a try and see what you think.
As always, if there are any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Leave a comment below and I’ll get right back to ya.