10 of Our Absolute Favorite 30 Minute HIIT Workouts

By: Brian Wargula

Does HIIT Work?

High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT workouts is one of the fastest ways to whip your body into shape. These quick exercises are defined as bursts of activity followed by a brief downtime. Typically, each exercise lasts anywhere from 30 seconds up to 3 minutes. With an active rest or short period of rest after, HIIT workouts have become the optimal calorie-burner. Depending on your fitness level you can alternate with periods of active rest––like isometric exercise that helps slow your heart rate down between sets.

Regular HIIT training can boost your metabolism. Studies show that you’ll keep burning fat long after you’re done working out. The high intensity of HIIT strength training leads to using more calories overall so that afterward your body is forced to use fat to help your muscles recover, creating an “afterburn” effect. The fast-paced rotation of exercises engages all muscle groups and is ideal for getting in shape without logging hours of cardio and weight lifting. The key to success is to find exercises at a manageable intensity when you first start.

10 Best 30-Minute HIIT Workouts & Moves

    You don’t need to go for the most complicated moves or routines to master a HIIT workout. Sticking to the HIIT exercises listed is easy for beginners, and you can always keep your rest breaks when first starting out. It’s very important to ease into HIIT workout routines if you’re just beginning. For more experienced fitness enthusiasts rotate in more active rest breaks, weights when possible, and continually switch up the routine. Grab your mat and follow these easy moves for the perfect 30-minute HIIT workout you can even do at-home.

    1. Double Crunches: Achieve maximum core strength with this fat-burner that will literally shave inches off your abdomen.
      • To Start: Begin in a supine position with your hands behind your head. Pull your body into a crunch while also pulling your legs into your chest. Repeat with 5 reps and then take a 10 second breather between each set.
      • If you are a beginner, start with single crunches.
      • Advanced HIIT moves: hold a dumbbell for increased difficulty. Try doing another ideal core workout for an active rest set.
    1. High Plank to Low Plank Walks
      • To Start: Prop yourself up in a plank position on your forearms and alter between going up on your hands.
      • Beginners can start on their knees for more assistance.
      • Advanced HIIT moves: add in a weighted vest for increased difficulty. You can also do a push up at the top, before walking back into the low plank.
      • This makes for a great HIIT workout at home or anywhere.
    1. Burpees: An explosive move to get the heart rate up, this plyometric exercise can stand on its own with no need for an active rest set.
      • To Start: Begin in a push up position and hop your legs in towards your hands. Stand up, do a brief jump (if your ankles allow) and then bend towards your toes to hop your feet back out to a push up position and repeat.
      • Beginners can do burpees without push ups to start.
      • Advanced HIIT moves: Add in a double butt-kicker on the jump for more difficulty.
    1. High Knees: The best way to really get your legs moving and heart pumping, this HIIT move requires NO equipment and is easy for anyone to do.
      • To Start: Stand up straight and bring your knees into your chest, alternating each leg. Repeat in a fast motion.
      • Beginners can step knees into the chest rather than jump them.
      • Advanced HIIT leg exercises: Alternate in reverse lunges for an active rest between sets.
    1. Kettlebell Swings: With so many ways to engage different parts of your upper back and arms, this exercise is a real win for upper body strength.
      • To Start: Stand up in a wide stance holding your kettle ball in between your legs, squat and pick up the kettlebell, swinging it through your legs backwards and forwards. 
      • Note: You can use just about anything you have laying around the house in lieu of kettlebells––like jugs of water, barbells, etc.
      • Advanced HIIT moves: Increase the weight for more difficulty.
    1. Squats: A trusty stand-by, this can be a great workout to fit in on its own or as an active rest set.
      • To Start: Stand with feet hips distance apart and bend at the knees while keeping your back straight and engaging the thighs and the glutes to bring you back to standing.
      • Beginners can squat less or go down further if it is too hard.
      • Advanced HIIT leg exercises: Add in pulses or jumps at the bottom for increased difficulty.
    1. Mountain Climbers: This is a great low-impact, high cardio movement that is ideal for a warm-up HIIT exercise.
      • To Start: Get into the push up plank position with your arms straight. Then pull up your knees towards your chest as you alternate legs. Do 10-40 fast-paced climbers for each set.
      • For beginners: You can pause and hold at the top of the movement to increase down-time.
      • Advanced HIIT core exercises: You can increase the angle at which the legs cross the body within the move.
    1. Russian Twists: As a simple core exercise, this no-impact move targets the core, back and shoulders. This is a great HIIT at home workout.
      • To Start: Get into boat pose, seated with your feet flat on the ground and a slight bend in your knees. Move your arms to either side of your knees until you feel your core engage.
      • Beginners: Skip the weights and simply touch both hands to either side for Russian twists.
      • Advanced HIIT core exercises: use a dumbbell or a medicine ball for added resistance with each twist.
    1. Squat to Overhead Press: These HIIT movements are great to do with weights or without for all levels. Pair with a faster exercise for an active rest set.
        • To Start: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your weights next to your head. Squat and press weights up to engage legs and arms.
        • Beginners: Skip the weights and focus on a low squat and getting your arms up in the air to engage your biceps and shoulders.
        • More Advanced HIIT exercises: there are multiple variations for different experience levels in this exercise.
          • Can use resistance bands or dumbbells to increase the difficulty of the press.
          • Add in pulses at the bottom for more of a challenge.
      1. Lunge to Knee Drive: This HIIT workout to gain muscle is a reverse lunge move that helps engage your hamstrings as well as your core.
        • To Start: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bring back one leg at a time into a reverse lunge. Cap off each reverse lunge with a knee drive forward into your chest. 
        • Beginners: keep it simple with lunges only and add in the knee drive as they get more comfortable
        • More Advanced HIIT exercises: hold barbells while completing the move to help engage your core more by increasing the challenge to balance throughout the move.

      Supplement Your 30-Minute HIIT Workout with Complete Nutrition

      Putting all these workouts together will give you a solid 30minute HIIT workout, and for more reps you can easily make it an hour. Be prepared to be sore! The fast-paced nature of the HIIT workout puts your muscles into overdrive and know that being sore will be part of the territory. A few ways to combat muscle fatigue and soreness are making sure you are well-hydrated, well-rested, and properly fueled up before and after you exercise. Drinking at least ½ liter of water prior to commencing your HIIT exercises will ensure you stay hydrated throughout the workout.

      Feeding your muscles protein after the 30-minute HIIT routine is a great way to repair your muscles and keep your afterburn effect going strong. Consider how a premium multi-protein superblend made from plant, collagen, and egg whites can positively affect your HIIT workouts. Transformation Protein has a bioactive formula specifically designed to help you recover faster, while building lean muscle. Blending up a shake or making a special snack for post-HIIT could be exactly what you need to reach new fitness goals or trim down.