Sometimes all you really have is 30 minutes, and instead of deciding you really don’t have time for your workout, get fit and sweat with this simple and efficient set of exercises.
High-intensity interval training is the best option when you’re short on time. It’s designed to keep your heart rate up throughout your workout, making you jump from exercise to exercise (sometimes even literally) without much “rest time” in between. This creates a much more powerful experience and makes a 30-minute workout just as effective as a full hour.
The exercises in this workout are divided into three large sections or circuits, and should be done one after the other, resting only when you have finished the entire circuit. Each circuit should be repeated two or three times, depending on your fitness level and endurance.
You are starting the circuit with a great compound movement, squats. You can do simple overhead squats and just use your bodyweight, you can add a resistance band around your thighs, or you can grab a pair of dumbbells and challenge yourself with additional weight. Whichever option you choose, make sure your technique is on point and do 12-15 reps.
Inhale on the way down, exhale on the 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
Immediately after your last squat, get into a plank position. Place your palms just below your shoulders and engage your core muscles. Keep your legs extended and make sure your hips are in a neutral position so they don’t rise or fall.
Keep your breath steady and raise your right hand to touch your left shoulder. Bring your hand down and repeat with your left hand. Keep alternating like this for 20 full reps (10 on each hand), paying attention to your hips. Make sure they don’t move too much. The goal is to keep them as still as possible while hitting your shoulders.
3. Reverse lunges
After the taps on the shoulders, stand back up and prepare for the lunges. Again, you can use your body weight or add some resistance. You may experience some weight loss after the first round, so don’t start with a heavy set.
Stand in a neutral position, with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and step back with your right foot, bending your left foot at 90 degrees. Exhale and bring your back foot forward. Inhale and step your left foot back, exhale and step forward. Keep alternating for a total of 20 reps (10 per leg).
4. Jumping jacks
The cardio portion of your first circuit pertains to jumping jacks. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your heart rate up, and it uses every muscle in your body to do it.
Stand in a neutral position, with your legs together and your hands at your sides. Inhale and jump, spreading your feet apart in a wider stance, while at the same time bringing your arms above your head. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat 15-20 times.
Rest for a minute before repeating the entire circuit once or twice.
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1. Toe plugs
Lie down on your mat and lift your legs vertically in the air. Keeping your legs extended, inhale, and as you exhale, raise your right hand and try to touch your toes. Then raise your left and do the same. Repeat for a total of 20 times. Make sure your torso stays elevated throughout each toe touch and try to keep your shoulder blades off the floor.
2. Down Dog Low Stride
This is a great dynamic pose that will help you increase your mobility while also getting your heart rate up. Start with downward facing dog (inverted V shape). Take a big inhalation, and as you exhale, step your right foot out of the palm of your right hand. Lower your hips and open your chest. Inhale back to Downward Facing Dog and repeat with your left leg. Do a total of 20 reps (10 per leg).
3. Side lunges
Immediately after you’re done with your last low lunge, stand up. Get into a neutral position, with your feet together. You can choose to add some weight or skip it, but make sure your core is engaged and really focused on feeling your leg muscles working.
Take an inhalation and step to the right, bending your right knee about 90 degrees and keeping your feet parallel. You want to feel like you’re trying to sit on an imaginary chair behind your right glute. Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the movement. On your exhale, use the power of your leg to push yourself back to a standing position.
Repeat with the left leg. Do a total of 20 reps, 10 on each leg.
Starting in a plank position, make sure your form is proper and your back is protected by engaging your core and keeping your hips in a neutral position. Start by bringing one knee up to your chest and bring your foot back, then bring the other knee up to your chest and bring your foot back. Pick up the pace until you’re almost running. Do a total of 30 reps (15 on each leg).
Rest for a minute and repeat the entire circuit once or twice.
A staple when it comes to any type of HIIT exercise.
1. Glute bridges
Start by lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet a foot apart from your sitting bones. Spread your stance a hip-width distance apart and place your palms on the ground at your side, using them as leverage.
Take an inhalation and as you exhale lift your hips as high as possible. Inhale down, exhale up, squeezing at the top. Repeat 20 times and on your last exhale, stay at your highest point. Hold the position for 15 seconds or challenge yourself with small pulses. This will really get your muscles on fire.
2. Hip bottoms
Get into 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 to the center and drop your hips to the left.
Keep alternating hip dips from right to left for a total of 20 reps. Your obliques should be fatigued by the end.
3. Bow lunges
Bow lunges are a great exercise for the outer hips and thighs as they really do isolate them even with your whole body moving.
Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. You can place your hands on your hips, place them in front of your body, or even use a set of dumbbells to add weight. Inhale and step your right leg diagonally back behind your left, bending your left knee to 90 degrees. Exhale and bring your foot back to the starting position.
Inhale and step your left leg back, bending your right knee. Exhale back to center. Repeat 20 times (10 on each leg).
4. Squat split jumps with knee entry
Start in a split squat position, right knee forward and bent at 90 degrees. Take an inhalation and from your squatting position, exhale bringing your left knee to your chest and jumping high with your right foot. Inhale and lower your foot back down. Repeat 12-15 times before doing the same with your left leg.
As you begin to tire, 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 propel the movement and make it even more powerful. As the knee comes up, the opposite arm also comes up, driving the force from below.
Once you’ve completed all the repetitions, rest for a minute and repeat the entire circuit two or three more times.
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HIIT workouts are an amazing 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 trouble exercising yourself, check out these 10 fitness apps that are sure to provide you with a variety of amazing exercise routines.