4 Steps for Starting a High Intensity Interval Training Workout

So you’ve had it with being utterly exhausted from just climbing up a set of stairs and decided that it’s time to get a serious workout routine going. You’ve heard a bit about high-intensity interval training and how it transforms wimps into champions, and you’d like to give it a try. If so, then read away – we’ve got a few surprises for you, both pleasant and unpleasant related to HIIT workout.

1. How Does It Work?

First and foremost, we’re going to tell you a bit about what HIIT is, and how it can help you become stronger and some HIIT workouts for men and women. High-intensity interval training is a form of workout and conditioning favored by world-class athletes all around the globe. The basic idea behind high-intensity interval training (or HIIT as it is commonly abbreviated) can be deduced from its very name. High-intensity means that the workouts are strict and challenging, designed to push your body to its limits and condition both your musculature, your cardiovascular system and your nervous system to withstand large amounts of stress. Interval refers to the fact that HIIT is not a constant workout (such as jogging for twenty minutes), instead you work in intervals of workout plus recuperation. A good example of HIIT would be all-out sprinting, as fast as you can for a minute, after which you get 15 seconds to recuperate, and then another minute of sprinting.

This kind of conditioning is much more stressful than regular aerobic activity and is used to get your body used to stress, cause an increase in certain hormone levels such as testosterone and other anabolics and can be a great way to get gains in strength and stamina in short periods of time. The more you progress with HIIT, the more you’re going to be increasing the length of work periods and decreasing the length of rest periods.

We aren’t going to lie to you, HIIT training workout programs are usually pretty difficult, but they yield fantastic results if you stick to them. And while they’re usually practiced by professional athletes, that’s not to say that a non-athlete can’t exercise in this way. With the right approach, you can build out your own HIIT training wokrout routine which will transform your body and give you considerable boosts in both strength and stamina.

hiit workouts for men

2. Bodyweight Exercises

For most HIIT training routine exercises you don’t need a lot of equipment, and most of the time all you’ll be using is just your bodyweight. The exercises are performed in short bursts (up to a minute) and then resting a shorter period. As you progress these intervals will change, but a minute-long work period with a 30-second rest period is a good place to start.

Body-weight strength training is generally perfect HIIT workout plan for beginners that don’t have access to a gym or aren’t confident enough to start lifting weights right away. If that’s your case, then you should definitely start with the basics; push-ups, squats, sit-ups. Grab a timer, and try to do as many good-form push-ups as you can in twenty seconds. Once the twenty seconds are up, switch to sit-ups, and squats (without resting in-between!). Once you’ve done all this, rest for thirty seconds and repeat the exercise an additional two to three times. By going straight from one exercise to another you’ll avoid fatiguing a certain muscle group to failure, while still driving your nervous system and cardiovascular system to higher levels of stress. It’ll be pretty challenging at first, but just make sure that you maintain good form, even if you have to shorten the work period. Your body is going crazy with anabolic hormones at this point, stimulating muscle growth and increasing your stamina to deal with the heightened levels of stress you’re putting it against.

Once you’re a bit more confident, you can try the popular ABS HIIT workout that many people who’ve been doing HIIT for years (many of them professional athletes) swear on. This exercise contains a significantly larger number of exercises than the body-weight strength training we’ve previously talked about, a shorter work period and of course, a shorter rest period to boot. This ABS cycle includes burpees, mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, Russian twists, weighted side bends, leg lifts, and the dreaded plank. Perform each of these individual exercises for 40 seconds, while resting between them for 20 seconds. Adding up to a total of eight minutes including the rest periods, this exercise will help you burn more body fat than half an hour on the treadmill.

hiit workouts at home

3. Weight Training

Contrary to popular belief, HIIT wokrout exercises can be implemented into weight training, as well. In fact, many common weight-training workouts are in fact HIIT by nature. By increasing the weight that your body is bearing, you’ll also automatically increase the level of stress. This means that your workouts will take less time and be more effective. That’s not to say that you should completely abandon bodyweight exercises once you’re strong enough to pick up weights; they both have their place, but weight training itself can significantly help you with your gains.

To simplify things for you, you’re going to be doing only four exercises, albeit the most efficient four: the bench press, the squat, the overhead press and the deadlift. These exercises will incorporate multiple muscle groups and tire you out more easily, resulting in a much more efficient workout. Additionally, you won’t need a lot of fancy equipment, only a barbell and some weights. To get started, you first need to know how much weight you can lift to work yourself to failure in 10 reps; then, reduce the weight by 50%. Since you’re going to be doing multiple sets, you don’t want to exhaust yourself completely on the first one. Let’s say you start with the bench press; perform 10 reps while maintaining proper form, then rest for 60 seconds. Try to repeat this for 10 sets. If you find that the weight is still too much for you to complete all the sets, drop the weight by 15-20 pounds next time and try again.

071017-N-0995C-008 PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Oct. 17, 2007) - Chief Mineman Kevin Sperling, an officer recruiter at Navy Recruiting Processing Station Honolulu, presses two 105-pound dumbbells to exercise his chest during a workout in Bloch Arena Gym at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Sperling has been in the sport of bodybuilding for the past 10 years and was proclaimed ÒMr. HawaiiÓ in the 29th Hawaiian Islands Bodybuilding and Figure Championships held June 30. Most recently, he garnered a 10th place finish in the U.S.A. Body Building Championship, held in Las Vegas, July 27-28. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric J. Cutright (RELEASED)

4. Motivate Yourself

Alright, so you’ve had your first training session, every muscle in your body hurts and you’re wondering if you’ll be able to stick with it. This is perfectly normal; HIIT training program is not an easy thing to master, especially if you’ve just started to exercise regularly. It takes a lot of willpower and dedication, so don’t let yourself get discouraged too early. Start off by making a plan, and setting a goal for yourself. Plan out a month of exercise before you even touch a weight, and commit to the plan a hundred percent. Studies have shown that people who plan out their workout (or just about anything else) are much more motivated to go through with it. And nowadays, all you need to create an excellent workout schedule is just your smartphone. There are thousands of good workout planning apps out there, so grab one and start planning (just note that some of these apps are region-restricted, so you might need a VPN in order to use them). Another effective way to motivate yourself to achieve your designated fitness goal is to simply discuss it with your friends. Despite everything we tell ourselves, we do care what our friends think, and the idea of being a strong, dedicated person in their eyes might just push you to work harder.



Congratulations, you’re now officially ready to start your first HIIT workout. You’re in for a lot of sweat and hardship, but if you pull through you’ll certainly have a lot to show for it. In just a few months, you’ll be stronger, you’ll look stronger, and you’ll have way more energy than before. HIIT is definitely one of the best methods to improve yourself both physically and mentally, in a very short amount of time. So if that is what you’re after, it’s time to stop slacking off and break some sweat – and once you look at yourself in the mirror in a few months, you’ll know that it was all worthwhile.

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5 thoughts on “4 Steps for Starting a High Intensity Interval Training Workout”

  1. What is your take on using supplements to increase effects of the workout? Is it a wise idea or something that only the professionals should do.

    • Supplements that could increase effects of the workout would be great for those who have hit a plateau or are ready to take their fitness to next levels. For beginners, a good diet, well planned workout and the right timings for food intake would do the job.


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