The best HIIT for beginners

HIIT for beginners: try this simple circuit for those lacking motivation

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Maximise your home workouts with a fitness trainer’s best HIIT exercises for beginners. 

Exercise has undoubtedly been a saving grace for getting us out of lockdown ruts, but that doesn’t mean doing the same old workout routines hasn’t been getting old. Whether you’ve been running the same routes or you’ve reached a plateau with your strength training, it’s time to start mixing things up.

High-intensity interval training – known more commonly as HIIT – is a great place to start. The short bursts of work will quickly have you working up a sweat and the short sessions mean that you won’t run out of motivation before the end of the workout. 

Admittedly, HIIT is a pretty broad term, and there are a wide variety of these high-intensity classes for you to try. However, according to fitness trainer from Core Collective Ria Gandhi, at its most basic HIIT is “a cardiovascular-focused session broken down into short, sharp and intense intervals, followed by a period of rest or lower intensity.”

There are a whole range of benefits to exercising like this. As Ria goes on to say, “a shorter period of training can definitely maximise your time spent in the gym,” making HIIT workouts a great option “for those who prefer shorter, but still very efficient, sessions.”

This is because the aim of HIIT is “to push yourself to your maximum exertion rate” in order for you to get the most out of that shorter burst of exercise. And, “studies have shown that this type of training can boost your metabolic rate by contributing to greater excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC),” which means that your body will keep working even after you’ve finished your session.

The benefits don’t stop there: HIIT sessions will also improve your cardiovascular fitness, “helping to boost both your heart and lung health,” and they can also contribute to muscle gain.

woman sweating in the gym after hiit class
The health benefits of 12-minute bursts of exercise

If you fancy giving HIIT a go, you can try this short, simple and effective workout for beginners. Ria recommends doing the exercises at a one-to-one ratio with your rest times – after all, “one defining factor of hit sessions are the rest times that follow the interval, giving your body a chance to recover from the work period.”

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Complete two sets for a highly-effective workout that will only take your approximately six minutes.

  1. Down/ups
  2. Squat jumps
  3. Mountain climbers
Strength training: 5 exercises to strengthen your lower abdominal muscles
Strength training: 5 exercises to strengthen your lower abdominal muscles


  1. From a standing position, jump yourself into a high plank, ensuring your core is tight and your shoulders are over your wrists.
  2. Jump your feet to just outside the hands and push yourself up into a standing position, making sure to squeeze the glutes and pull your shoulders down and away from your ears.

Squat jumps

  1. Start from standing again (this time with feet a little wider than hip-width) and bend your knees to lower yourself down to a squat. 
  2. Jump up, driving through the heel of your foot. 
  3. Be sure to land back down with soft knees, ensuring the chest is lifted throughout. 

Mountain climbers

  1. Form a high plank position with arms fully extended, your body in a straight line from your heels to your shoulders.
  2. Alternate driving your knees towards your chest, keeping the core engaged throughout the movement. 

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts. 

Images: Getty

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