HIIT Workouts For Beginners – 10 Exercises That Burn Calories Fast

HIIT Workouts for Beginners: 10 Exercises That Burn Calories Fast

HIIT, otherwise known as high-intensity interval training, are workouts that are generally shorter than a traditional 60-minute gym session yet deliver the same (or better!) calorie-burning effects.

HIIT workouts raise heart rate rapidly and keep the heart pumping even after the workout is done, allowing the body to work harder than a longer, low-intensity workout. For example, a 20-minute treadmill sprint session may be just as effective, if not more, than a 60-minute light jog.

10 Exercises Burn Calories Fast

HIIT workouts are great for those who are interested in blasting a ton of calories in a short period of time.

Additionally, HIIT workouts are great because of the variety they provide: it is easy to mix up HIIT workouts by doing a different combination of moves and exercises in succession.

Exercises that burn a lot of calories are often those that get the heart rate up quickly, work for many major muscle groups at once, and are generally higher intensity.

To create your own HIIT workout, consider these 10 calorie-burning HIIT moves that are.

1. Burpees

Burpees are an explosive, full-body exercise that not only provides cardiovascular benefits but assists in full-body strength by working the lower and upper body muscles.

The exercise is performed by coming onto the hands and kicking the legs back, performing a push-up, then jumping the feet forward and jumping upward with intensity.

Many may not think that burpees are a beginner workout, but there are many ways that this exercise can be modified. Try performing a burpee with a modified push-up instead (on the knees), or omit the push-up altogether.

Instead of jumping the feet back and forward, walk the feet out and back and omit the jump. Slowly work up to adding more high impact motions for a better calorie burn, or if it is too hard on the joints, simply perform the low-impact version faster.

2. Jump Rope

Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular exercise not only because of its cardiovascular impact, but because it can be done just about anywhere.

Even if you’re short on space and time, or don’t even own a jump rope, this move is a great way to get the blood flowing.

Once you get the hang of regular jump rope, trying to jump rope on one foot or performing double-unders (an advanced CrossFit move) will help you mix things up and increase the calorie burn.

3. Rowing Machine Sprints

If you have access to a gym or a rowing machine, then you have a great tool at your disposal for excellent cardio and upper body strength workout.

Row machine sprints combine cardio and upper body strength to deliver a killer calorie burn. This is also a great option for those who do not want to perform jumping exercises to avoid injuries.

For a HIIT version of the rowing machine (following a warm-up), perform 30 seconds of all-out, maximum intensity rowing. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or however long it is necessary to perform another 30-second high-intensity interval. Repeat between 8-12 times.

If you are interested in purchasing your own rowing machine, check out this article by Start Rowing.

4. Jump Squats

Jump squats both build strength and burn calories – they are guaranteed to provide a quick sweat, and likely some next-day soreness.

To perform, squat down and explode upward, landing lightly on the feet as to avoid injury. This move can be performed with wide feet (sumo jump squat) or close feet (skier jump squat) to mix things up.

Since squats are a difficult exercise, be sure to warm-up beforehand to avoid injuries.

5. Treadmill Sprints

Treadmill sprints are great for those who get bored easily during a longer run. The speed and incline are two features that will transform a normal running workout into a HIIT workout.

Hopping on and off the treadmill between sprints will allow for rest and recovery.

To perform a HIIT treadmill workout, set the pace/incline to something that will challenge you. This is different for everybody, but should be significantly faster than what you would run for a longer, lighter run (somewhere between 7.5 – 10 mph is a good baseline).

Sprint between 30-45 seconds, then places feet on the sides of the treadmill for rest. Again, rest is individualized, but make sure to get full recovery between sprints in order to maximize calorie burn.

6. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are challenging and engage the core muscles. They can be used at any time in a HIIT workout but would be effective in between jumping exercise to provide a break for the joints.

To perform, get into a high plank position with the shoulders stacked over the hands. You may use push up bars or dumbbells as well to ease pressure on the wrists.

Quickly alternate legs by pulling the knees toward the chest in quick succession, squeezing the abdominal muscles the entire time.

7. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a great, effective cardio exercise, but it is important to make sure you perform them with correct form.
Kettlebell swings are powered by the legs, using the momentum of the knees extending to swing the kettlebell upward.

Performing this move will not only provide a great calorie burn but will also work to strengthen the leg muscles.

8. Push-Ups

Push-ups are excellent to use during a HIIT workout because they become much more difficult when combined with other cardiovascular exercises.

Besides, HIIT moves must combine both strength and cardio-based moves to provide a more well-rounded workout.

Modify the push-ups by going onto the knees. Work up to eventually doing push-ups on the toes.

9. Plank

Planks are a great way to engage and strengthen your entire core. Planks are a great match to HIIT workouts because they allow you to work on your core when it is already tired from other exercises you’re performing.

There are many different variations of the plank. The standard planking position is in a push-up position. With a flat back, flex and tighten your core to engage your entire core.

A common variation is to bend your elbows and plank on your forearms. In this variation, your body should be parallel with the ground.

10. Sit-Ups

Sit-ups will provide a much-needed break from the high-impact nature of many other HIIT moves. While the heart rates may lower slightly, sit-ups will challenge the core and strengthen the lower back, which will help you perform other high-impact exercises with better form.


HIIT workouts are intense, engaging, and highly customizable. By selecting a few of these exercises and performing them at maximum effort for 20-25 minutes. You will achieve an effective, full-body toning, calorie-blasting workout in nearly ⅓ of the time of a traditional workout.

Be sure to constantly switch up your workouts to avoid falling into boredom or getting in an exercise rut!

10 HIIT Workouts For Beginners
HIIT Workouts For Beginners - 10 Exercises That Burn Calories Fast

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