Beginner HIIT Exercises Even You Can Do

A heart pounding workout you can complete in 30 minutes or fewer that requires little or no equipment—it's no surprise that high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, has continued to gain popularity in recent years.  While it might sound ideal on paper, HIIT's reputation is that it is designed for the very fit and only those looking for a maximum challenge. If you're not interested or not able to push yourself to a level that leaves you in an exhausted heap on the floor, does that mean that HIIT isn't for you? Certainly not. With a few tweaks, it is still possible for beginners to do a modified version of HIIT and see results from their hard work.

One of the great things about HIIT workouts is that they can be tailored to your abilities, interests and equipment available. Enjoy cycling or running? Create a HIIT workout using those activities by playing with speed and intensity. Are the "work intervals" of the workout you've attempted too long? Try 15 seconds instead of 20, or lengthen the recovery periods in between. Are the exercises in the workout too difficult? There are simple ways to modify most exercises to decrease the intensity to the level that's right for you. As with any new activity, it's important to check with your doctor before you begin.
 

Set Yourself Up for Success


You've decided it's time to shake things up and try a HIIT workout, but where do you start? If jumping lunges, burpees, sprints and pullups aren't quite what you're ready to tackle, start slow with easy modifications so that you stay safe, challenge yourself and actually enjoy your workout enough to want to attempt it again. Any workout that leaves you completely miserable and in pain isn't something you'll want to stick with long term, so don't be ashamed to take baby steps and build up strength over time. This list of common HIIT exercises along with lower intensity options gives you a variety of ideas to choose from.
 
Instead of… Try…
Burpees Modified burpees

Flutter kicks
Butterfly crunch

Front kick with squat
Front kicks

Jump rope
High-knee marching

Jump squats
Squats

Jumping lunges
Forward lunges

Mountain climbers
Modified mountain climbers

Planks
Modified or wall planks

Pullups
Bodyweight rows

Pushups
Modified or wall pushups

Side planks
Modified side planks

Skaters
Lateral step touch

Sprints
 
Power walking

Star jumps
Modified jumping jacks

V-ups
Beginner v-ups

Very few types of workouts should be considered "off limits" just because you're working at a beginner level. As long as you exercise caution, go at your own pace and make modifications when necessary, you shouldn't be afraid to try a new workout that's interesting and challenging.

Are you ready? Here's one to get you started!
 

HIIT the Starting Line Today

 
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Member Comments

Excellent list...Thx! Report
Thanks. Love these modifications. Report
Love these exercises thank you Report
ONLYME33
I have modified the burpees & mountain climbers long time ago-Still very good exercises Report
Thank you! Report
Good article. Excellent need-to-know information! Report
I love these exercises. Thanks. Report
Thank you. Report
PLCHAPPELL
Good visuals Report
Thank you. I will try this. Report
The days that I don’t hit the gym...I’m going to try this routine. 👍🏽 Report
Going through give the work out a try. Thanks sharing. Report
CHRIS3874
thanks Report


 

About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach and medical exercise specialist, with additional certifications in behavior change, functional training and senior fitness. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.