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The 30-Minute HIIT Workout You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime

woman doing a one legged plank on a ledge
Karla Tafra / LifeSavvy

Sometimes all you really have is 30 minutes, and instead of deciding you don’t really have time for your workout, get your athleisure on and sweat it out with this easy and efficient set of exercises.

High-intensity interval training is the best option for when you’re short on time. It’s designed to keep your heart rate up throughout the entire workout, having you jump from one exercise to another (sometimes even literally) without much “rest time” in between. This creates a much more powerful experience and makes a 30-min workout just as effective as a full hour. 

The exercises in this workout are divided into three large sections or circuits, and they should be performed right after one another, resting only when you’re done with the full circuit. Each circuit should be repeated two to three times, depending on your fitness level and endurance.

Circuit One

1. Squats

You’re starting the circuit with a large compound movement, squats. You can do simple air squats and only use your body weight, you can add a resistance band around your thighs, or you can grab a set of dumbbells and challenge yourself with additional weight. Whatever your option of choice, ensure your technique is on point, and go for 12-15 repetitions.

Inhale on your way down, exhale on your way up. Keep your core tight and active, your back straight, and squeeze at the top of your exhale, really feeling your glutes and hamstrings burn.

2. Plank-Shoulder Taps

Right after your last squat, get down in plank pose. Place your palms right under your shoulders and activate your core muscles. Keep your legs extended and make sure your hips are in a neutral position, so they’re neither piking up nor dropping down.

Keep your breath steady and lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder. Bring the hand back down and repeat with your left hand. Keep alternating like this for 20 full reps (10 each hand), paying attention to your hips. Make sure they’re not moving around a lot. The goal is to keep them as still as possible while you’re tapping your shoulders.

3. Reverse Lunges

After the shoulder taps, get back up to standing and prepare for lunges. Once again, you can use your body weight or add some resistance. You might experience dropping the weight after the first round, so don’t start with a heavy set.

Stand in a neutral position, feet at hip-width distance. Inhale and step back with your right foot, bending the left at 90 degrees. Exhale and bring your back foot forward. Inhale and step your left foot back, exhale and step it forward. Keep on alternating for a total of 20 reps (10 per leg).

4. Jumping Jacks

The cardio portion of your first circuit belongs to jumping jacks. It’s one of the easiest ways to bring your heart rate up and it uses every muscle in your body to do so. 

Stand in a neutral position, legs together, hands by your sides. Inhale and jump, spreading your feet in a wider stance, while at the same time bringing your arms over your head. Exhale and jump back to starting position. Repeat 15-20 times.

Rest for one minute before repeating the whole circuit once or twice.

Cooling towel

Keep your workouts dry with these awesome cooling towels.

Circuit Two

1. Toe Taps

Lie on your mat and lift your legs vertically into the air. Keep your legs extended, inhale, and on your exhale lift your right hand and try to touch your toes. Then lift your left and do the same. Repeat for a total of 20 times. Ensure your torso stays elevated throughout each toe tap and aim to keep your shoulder blades off the floor.

2. Down Dog to Low Lunge

This is a great, dynamic pose that will help you increase your mobility while also elevating your heart rate. Start in a down dog (inverted V shape). Take a big inhale and on your exhale, step with your right foot outside your right palm. Bring your hips down and open your chest. Inhale back to down dog and repeat with your left leg. Do a total of 20 reps (10 per leg).

3. Side Lunges

Right after you’re done with your last low lunge, get up to standing. Come to a neutral position, feet together. You can choose to add some weight or omit it, but ensure your core is active and you’re really focused on feeling your leg muscles work.

Take an inhale and step to your right, bending your right knee close to 90 degrees and keeping your feet parallel. You want to feel like you’re trying to sit on an imaginary chair behind your right gluteus. Keep your back straight and core active throughout the entire move. On your exhale, use the power from your leg to push yourself back to a standing position.

Repeat with your left leg. Go for a total of 20 reps, 10 on each leg.

4. Mountain Climbers

Starting in plank position, ensure your form is proper and your back is protected by activating your core and keeping your hips in a neutral position. Start lifting one knee toward your chest and bringing your foot back, then lifting the other knee towards your chest and bringing the foot back. Pick up the pace so you’re almost running. Go for a total of 30 reps (15 each leg).

Take a one-minute rest and repeat the entire circuit once or twice.

Exercise Mat

A staple when it comes to any type of HIIT exercise.

Circuit Three

1. Glute Bridges

Start by lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet one foot away from your sitting bones. Separate your stance at a hip-width distance and place your palms on the floor beside you, using them as leverage.

Take an inhale and on your exhale lift your hips up as far as they will go. Inhale back down, exhale up, squeezing at the top. Repeat 20 times and on your last exhale, stay up at your highest point. Hold for 15 seconds or challenge yourself with tiny pulses. This will really make your muscles burn.

2. Hip Dips

Come to a plank position and lower down to your forearms. Activate your core and bring your hips to a neutral position. Inhale and drop your hips to the right, without moving your feet. Exhale back to the center and drop your hips to the left.

Keep on alternating hip dips from right to left for a total of 20 repetitions. Your obliques should be fatigued by the end.

3. Curtsy Lunges

Curtsy lunges are a great exercise for your outer hips and thighs, really managing to isolate them even with your whole body moving.

Start in a standing position, feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. You can place your hands on your hips, bring them in front of your body, or even use a set of dumbbells for added weight. Take an inhale and step with your right leg diagonally back behind your left, bending your left knee to 90 degrees. Exhale and bring your foot back up to starting position.

Inhale and step with your left leg back, bending your right knee. Exhale back to the center. Repeat 20 times (10 on each leg).

4. Split Squat Jumps with Knee Drive-Ins

Start in a split squat position, right knee forward and bent at 90 degrees. Take an inhale and from your squat, exhale by driving your left knee up towards your chest and jumping high off your right foot. Inhale and bring your foot back down. Repeat 12-15 times before doing the same with your left leg.

As you start getting tired, your technique will begin to drop, so make sure your back is straight and your core is tight. You can use your arms to help you drive the movement and make it even more powerful. When your knee comes up, the opposite arm lifts as well, driving the force from below.

After you’ve completed all the reps, rest for a minute and repeat the entire circuit two or three more times.

Resistance bands

Challenge your lower body with these incredible resistance bands.

HIIT workouts are an incredible way to help you lose weight while improving your strength and endurance. And sometimes all you really need is 30 minutes. And if you’re having issues with doing the workout yourself, check out these 10 fitness apps that will undoubtedly provide a variety of incredible workout routines.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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