Best HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Posted in: Health + Wellness
Best HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Written by: Francheska Martinez. Francheska is a movement and functional training coach in Austin, Texas. She hosts bodyweight and kettlebell training workshops throughout the United States, focusing on fundamentals and technique. She also teaches online to connect with movers of all levels around the world. Find Francheska on Instagram: @francheskafit.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a cardiovascular focused type of training that implements short periods of work and rest with varying intensity. Though this system of training uses high intensity exercises, it is a common practice to alternate between both high and low intensity exercises. One of the best parts of HIIT training? You can do HIIT at home with little to no equipment.  

Below you will find exercises that you can perform with just your own bodyweight; including: aerobic exercises, isometric exercises, primal movements, and warm-ups and cool-downs. The combination of these movements will challenge your cardiovascular system, coordination, strength, athleticism, and your muscular endurance. 

When starting HIIT training, think of intensity as intention. Try to give your maximum effort on every single repetition and every round. Quality repetitions only!

General HIIT Tips for Beginners

Focus on Form

Take the time to learn how to execute each exercise properly. Focusing on improving your form will help your get closer to your goals. 

Less is More

When it doubt, it’s always better to do fewer repetitions or rounds of an exercise with good form and technique instead of doing more repetitions/rounds with poor form. 

Start with Low Impact

Eliminate any jumping exercises in the first month of training and learn proper landing mechanics before starting. When landing, think about trying to land as quiet and softly as possible. Absorb the impact with your muscles, landing in a squat or athletic stance with a bend in the knees.

Do HIIT 2-3 times a week at most

Be sure also to incorporate some type of mobility and weight training for general strength and long-term health. We want to make sure our bones, muscles, and tendons get stronger too! 

Warm-Up Exercises for HIIT Training


  • Get tall through your spine and focus on your breath
  • Lengthen through your arms as you reach out and behind your head
  • Then rotate your forearms bringing your hands behind your low back

Inch Worm Walk Out

  • Bend at the hips and walk your hands out into a plank
  • Hold the plank for a count of 1, then walk your feet to your hands
  • Squeeze your glutes and abs throughout the movement 

Squat to Mountain Climber

  • Drive your knees forward as you descend into the squat
  • Hold the bottom of the squat, then step one leg back
  • Squeeze your glutes and keep your chest proud on the mountain climber 

Tin-Man Walk    

  • Focus on keeping a long spine and good posture
  • Exhale as you kick up
  • It’s completely fine if you can’t touch your feet with your hands

Cossack Lunges

  • Keep your chest up as you lunge into one hip
  • Only go as far as you can control
  • If this variation is challenging, keep both feet down


8 Beginner Friendly HIIT Exercises: 

Squat to Twist (LOWER)     

  • Squat down with control, the explosively use your abs to twist
    from your mid-back
  • Try to be quick and explosive on the twist with your feet

Hollow Body Holds (CORE)

  • Press your low back into the floor and squeeze your abs
  • Create full-body tension by squeezing your legs together and glutes

Lateral Apes (LOWER)

  • Assume a squat depth where you heels are down and chest is proud
  • Travel laterally, then own the squat position after each repetition 

Hand-Release Push-Up (UPPER)

  • Maintain a strong core and glutes throughout the exercise
  • Even if you are pushing up from your knees, think “plank”

Skater Jumps

  • Step out laterally then tap the trailing leg on the ground for stability 
  • Only step out as wide as you can control 
  • With time start stepping out wider, focusing on a soft landing 

Ali Shuffle 

  • Stay light on the balls of your feet
  • Use your arms and keep your core tight 

Duck Unders (LOWER)

  • Keep your chest proud as you squat down
  • Come all the way back up to standing and switch sides 


  • Stay low to the ground throughout the movement
  • Lift opposite hand and foot to transition 
  • To transition, bring your lifted leg UNDER the planted foot 


HIIT Workout Cool-Down Exercises

Kneeling Spine Wave 

  • Try to flex each segment of your spine individually
  • Pull your back and shoulders away from your ears in the front position 

Hamstring Bow Draw 

  • Keep your hips squared as you reach one arm through
  • Breathe in the stretch and hold for a few breaths

Needle Arm Thread 

  • Keep your hips squared as you reach one arm through
  • Breathe in the stretch and hold for a few breaths 

Floor Scorpion 

  • Stretch your arms our as far as you can
  • Then turn the knee of your bent leg up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes


At-home HIIT workouts for beginners At-home HIIT workouts for beginners

October 29, 2021
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