A woman dressed in black activewear with headphones on her eats in a squat position during a HIIT workout.

3-move, 6-minute HIIT workout for when you have no energy to train

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Expert trainer Danyele Wilson shares her go-to HIIT session (and it takes just six minutes). 

It’s easy to feel as though you need to spend hours and hours training every week to get all the benefits of exercise. That pressure can leave you staring down the barrel of a 90-minute workout after a long week, trying to muster up the courage to do many sets of squats when your energy is on the floor

We have good news: you don’t need to spend all of your spare time moving. In fact, NHS guidelines suggest around 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week to help with your physical and mental health. The best way to hit that target? HIIT

Standing for high-intensity interval training, HIIT gets your heart rate up quickly to really challenge the body. But best of all, it’s over sharpish. That means it feels way less daunting when you don’t think you can muster up the energy to get on your mat. 

“If I’m short on time or lacking motivation a full body HIIT circuit is always my go-to,” says Danyele Wilson, lead trainer at training app Tone & Sculpt. “They are perfect for when you have limited access to equipment and still want a quick, effective and efficient workout that leaves you feeling proud and accomplished.” 

quick hiit workout
quick hiit workout

But that doesn’t mean HIIT is a doss. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The idea of HIIT’s short work periods is that you push yourself hard. “HIIT is anything but easy, but I love the mental challenge a HIIT circuit presents as well; it’s an opportunity to prove to yourself how strong and capable you truly are.” 

If you’re in need of that reminder at the end of a long, hard week, try this three-move workout Danyele has shared. It’s her go-to for helping to “improve endurance, increase stamina and preserve muscle mass” – in just six minutes. That’ll make a nice dent in your 75 minute target. 

The best 6-minute HIIT circuit

Move 1: · Drop squats 

“The squat is a fundamental movement pattern we all should master,” reminds Danyele. “Adding the dynamic plyometric element at the top is a fun way to turn up the intensity on this movement and it’s also much more knee-friendly than the squat jump.”

  1. Start standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Jump your feet out to wider than hip-width. 
  3. As you land, bend your knees to lower into a squat. 
  4. Touch the floor between your legs with one hand.
  5. Lift your hand off the floor and jump your feet back together to come to the starting position. 

Move 2: Speed skaters

“This one is all about creating lateral power while maintaining balance and stability. It’s a fun, dynamic movement that really makes you feel like an athlete,” says Danyele.

  1. Start standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Place your weight into your right foot and bend your right knee. Lift your left foot off the floor, hovering it behind your right calf.
  3. Hop to your left, powering through your right foot to landing on your left foot. Bring your right foot behind your left calf.
  4. Continue hopping from side to side, ensuring your head is up, chest is open and back flat. Drive your arms as you jump to help power the move, too. 

Move 3: Sprints

“On the treadmill or outside on the track or field, the efficiency of sprints can’t be beaten,” says Danyele. Don’t have access to either of those? Try high-knee sprints from home as “a great way to get your heart rate up fast and challenge yourself physically and mentally.”

  1. Start standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Relax your shoulders so they aren’t hunched to your ears.
  3. Drive one knee up to your chest and jump change to bring the opposite knee in. 
  4. Repeat as fast as you can, so you are sprinting on the spot. Drive your arms as you do so to engage the whole body. 

To structure a HIIT workout, you need to factor in bursts of movement alongside a short recovery period. Do each move, followed by a rest period, back to back. Beginners should start with 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest, and as you get more advanced, make it a 45 second work period followed by 15 seconds rest. 

Repeat the circuit twice for the ultimate six-minute HIIT. Think you can keep going? Feel free to add more rounds in – but this is a pretty tough session with the two rounds alone. 

Want more strength-training workouts? Sign up for the your free 14-day trial to the Strong Women Training Club to receive weekly workouts from your favourite trainers.

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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