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Let’s get the low-down on HIIT training 

sports lady tying hair for HIIT training

You may hear this acronym a lot, but it can be intimidating to know what this means or what it means for you! I am answering all the questions about HIIT training and exercises.

What is HIIT?

It stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. As the name suggests these are a form of interval training (check out walk/running for some more explanation) however the difference is the effort. Alternating periods of recovery and hard/all-out effort levels form a fast and efficient workout which has many benefits. Doing exercises (or rounds of exercises) incorporates a strength aspect as well which promotes fat burning.

How to do it?

You can train in whichever way is easiest for you, for example;

If you’re short on time do bursts of 30-60 seconds (or 20 if you’re starting out) alternating with a 20-60 second recovery for 10 rounds (or shorten it if you are strapped for time).  You can do this twice a day and break a workout in half as well which I find quite useful

If you are working on specific areas do exercise specific HIIT. For example for a leg workout do something like 10reps squats (hard/fast effort whilst maintaining form) with 10 – 20-second rest etc.

You can also do rounds which involve more than one exercise before rest and repeating them as circuits e.g. 10 star jumps, 10 burpees, 10 pushups rest x 10  – the general rule for beginners is to keep it short, to begin with – short bursts of energy and then recovery rather than trying to do a 10 minute circuit with 2 minute rest straight off the bat.

Examples of exercises for HIIT

You can use either static or dynamic moves or a combination of both;

  • Pushups
  • Burpees
  • Sit-ups
  • Star jumps
  • Squats
  • Jump squats
  • Side leg raises
  • Plank
  • Mountain climbers
  • On the spot sprints

lady planking on yoga mat HIIT exercises


Boosts metabolism – Keeping the heart rate raised (even during the recovery periods) Creates an oxygen deficiency so the body requires more during the recovery process which boosts your metabolism and creates an ongoing fat burning effect for up to 24 hours after working out which aids with weight loss (if you keep it up)

Flexible – you can do as many intervals as you like, adjust the length of the intervals or even split the workout over the day if necessary which allows you to fit it into even the busiest schedule.

*Mum tip – when the kids are in the bath or eating dinner you can do 30sec intervals of whichever move with 30sec rest whilst they are busy so you fit it in – I find 5 – 10 rounds manageable!*

No equipment needed – most of the exercise moves use your own body weight or are cardio/plyometric in nature.

Toning – burning the extra fat and doing the strength moves are perfect ways to get a bit leaner – mountain climbers are perfect for arms and abs, squats and side leg raises are perfect for legs and plank and sit-ups are great for the abs (these exercises work other areas too – bonus!)

Great for sports conditioning – netball specifically requires short fast bursts of energy and HIIT works well to replicate that during training.


  • Remember to warm up and cool down/stretch etc.
  • If you are trying a new tricky move (e.g. box jumps) try variations and build up or you could injure yourself
  • Keep proper form – repetitively doing these exercises wrong leads to injury and potentially long-term damage e.g. your back and neck
  • If you are new to HIIT and are struggling to keep form, break up the exercise or lower the time/reps otherwise it will lead to an increased injury risk
  • Always do your research- some of these 30-day challenges are forms of HIIT training but don’t follow healthy progression and you might not have the base fitness to complete them without injury

For more information on health and workouts! Check out the Health & Fitness Index

What is HIIT training? why is it important? and should I add it into my training program? + many more answers to questions you never knew you needed to know #fitness #health #fitfam #HIITTraining #fitmom