The 20-Minute HIIT Workout You Can Do Literally Anywhere

You definitely don't need a gym membership for this one.

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In a perfect world, we'd all have a good hour of free time every day, specifically for working out.

Unfortunately, that's not the case—and some days, between making time for work, friends, and family, it's hard enough to find time to take a breath, let alone crush a workout. That is until high-intensity interval training (HIIT) gained popularity.

What Are the Benefits of HIIT?

HIIT workouts are a quick, efficient way to sneak in exercise, but the benefits go way beyond simply fitting it into your schedule.

"HIIT training can improve anaerobic capacity, cardiovascular health, and result in fat loss," said Lacee Lazoff, NASM-certified personal trainer based in New York City and creator of Bells Up. "It's effective when work's performed in short intervals at maximum capacity, followed immediately by modesty intervals of very low capacity or rest."

What does an effective HIIT workout look like? Lazoff suggested following a 30-second on, 90-second rest formula. During the 30 seconds, you're working as hard as possible. "Think of it as a rate of perceived exertion of least a nine," added Lazoff. Because the exercises take so little time, HIIT workouts are a super-effective addition to any training plan with time restrictions, said Lazoff.

During anaerobic exercise, instead of using oxygen as a fuel source, you use energy that's stored in your body. Because of the high intensity of the exercises, you continue to use the stored energy as you recover or rest during and after your workout.

In addition, HIIT creates an intense challenge to your body that makes the muscles produce lactic acid, a metabolic waste product. The recovery period helps to clear the lactic acid. Over time, your body becomes better at handling intense challenges and more efficient at recovering.

The Workout

Once you're ready to kick things up, try this 10-minute HIIT workout, courtesy of Lazoff—just make sure you've queued up a killer playlist first; you'll want those beats to keep you motivated, but you won't have time to switch the track.

The routine only has five moves: Mountain climber, high knees with arms overhead, jump squat, frogger, and skater. Do each move for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the circuit once.

Mountain Climber

This exercise works nearly your whole body: Core, legs, shoulders, and arms.

  • Start in a high plank position.
  • Alternate running your knees into your chest as quickly as you can, keeping the hips lifted and feet flexed. Move as fast as possible. You should be out of breath by the end of the interval.

High Knees with Arms Overhead

The high knees work the legs and glutes. Adding the arms works the shoulders and upper back.

  • Start in a standing position with feet hip-width apart, arms up overhead, hands facing in, and elbows slightly bent.
  • Run in place, bringing your knees up to your chest as high as possible while raising your arms above your head. Keep your chest lifted throughout the movement and land on the ball of your foot. Repeat.

Jump Squat

Jump squats work your glutes, hips, and thighs.

  • Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your toes turned out.
  • Lower yourself into a squat with your butt below your knees.
  • Jump up and land as softly as possible. Repeat.


Similar to a squat thrust, this move works the whole body—legs, core, and arms.

  • Start in a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists.
  • Engage your core, and jump both feet up and outside your hands, so you're in a squat position.
  • Jump back into a plank. Repeat.


Work your inner thighs with this move.

  • Stand on your left leg with your right leg behind you. Explosively hop to the right leg, placing your left foot behind it to soften the landing.
  • Alternate sides. Repeat.

A Quick Review

If you want to make the most of the limited time you can dedicate to working out, a HIIT workout may be perfect. These five high-intensity and explosive moves will help you burn calories during and after your workout.

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  1. National Academy of Sports Medicine. HIIT Workouts: Programming, Exercises, and Benefits.

  2. American Council on Exercise. 8 Reasons HIIT Workouts are So Effective.

  3. International Sports Sciences Association. Benefits of Mountain Climbers.

  4. American Council on Exercise. Squat Jump.

  5. American Council on Exercise. Burn Calories: Supercharge the Squat Thrust.

  6. American Council on Exercise. 6 Exercise Swaps for a More Effective Workout.

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