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HIIT Gym Workout Plan & Exercises For Results

HIIT Gym Workout Plan & Exercises For Results

Written By:
Expert Review By: Steven Cleark&

This Article Will Guide On:

  • HIIT gym workouts and exercises
  • HIIT gym workout plans
  • HIIT tips for different workout personas

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)  has gained popularity in workouts due to its efficiency in burning calories and increasing muscle strength and endurance, along with numerous other health benefits within a short period. 

HIIT workouts are particularly common among people who feel they have limited time. If you are interested in starting HIIT gym workouts but need help designing a proper gym workout plan incorporating the right exercises for results, this article is for you. 

Benefits of HIIT Gym Workouts 

HIIT gym workouts involve short periods of vigorous exercise alternated with either recovery periods or low-intensity exercises. They have various benefits, some of which are discussed in this article. 

  • Research has shown that HIIT significantly improves your metabolism for a prolonged period after exercise. 
  • HIIT can also change your body’s metabolism towards utilizing fat instead of carbs. 
  • Some studies have shown that doing high-intensity exercises for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds of rest repeatedly for about 30 minutes, can burn up to 30% more calories than other forms of exercise.  
  • In addition to aiding weight loss, HIIT can help you increase your muscle mass. Improves general fitness 
  • HIIT can improve your performance in aerobic and anaerobic exercises. It can also promote heart health and oxygen consumption, improving general fitness. 

HIIT Gym Workout Plan 

A good HIIT gym workout plan has to have proper exercises to show visible results on the entire body. HIIT workouts may take numerous forms, with the goal being to work out your muscles as hard as possible and then utilize the recovery time to catch your breath and prepare for the next high-intensity exercise. Apart from the gym, one popular HIIT performed at home includes Tabata training.

In the Tabata training, you alternate 20-second high-intensity workouts followed by 10 seconds of recovery about eight times for a consecutive 4 minutes. 

Basic Structure of a HIIT Gym Workout Plan 

Proper HIIT involves alternating high-intensity workouts with low-intensity workouts. In your workout plan, you must include both high and low-intensity workouts. Moderate-intensity workouts may be helpful as warm-ups and cool-downs. 

HIIT Gym Exercises for Results 

There are various exercises you can include in your HIIT gym workout plan. They are categorized into upper body, lower body, and core exercises. 

Upper Body HIIT Exercises 

HIIT upper body workouts may be fun but challenging. They can quickly help you build and strengthen your biceps, triceps, deltoids, and other upper body muscles. These exercises include; 


Planks are a good exercise to add to your HIIT as they effectively engage your abs, hips, and back and are time efficient. They increase the number of calories and fat that you burn, help strengthen your core, and improve your posture by strengthening your back and hip muscles. 

Bear Crawls 

Bear crawls engage your entire body and are psychologically challenging, making them very good for HIIT. They strengthen your core, improve shoulder health, and help burn fat and calories. You can incorporate this move into your HIIT as a warm warm-up since it improves blood flow and warms up various muscles in your body. Your shoulders, knees, hips, wrists, and ankles must be flexible to perform it. 

Tricep Dips 

Tricep dips target your tricep muscles and can be done quickly. They help build and strengthen tricep muscles. 


Push-ups are versatile and convenient for HIIT as they engage multiple muscles in the body, including the chest, shoulders, arms, back, stomach, and hip muscles. They strengthen your core and increase upper body strength, improving your posture. They may also support bone and heart health. 

Lower Body HIIT Exercises 

These exercises challenge your quads, hamstrings, and glutes during cardio. Effective lower-body HIIT exercises include; 


Lunges engage various muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, calves, and abdominals, making them suitable for HIIT. They increase your flexibility and loosen up your hamstrings and hips, helping you increase your range of motion.  


Squats are suitable for HIIT because they engage various muscles, including hip muscles, obliques, hamstrings, and calves. They help strengthen the lower body muscles and the tendons, ligaments, and bones around these muscles. Squats also help burn calories and may aid in weight loss. 

Plyometric Exercises 

Plyometric exercises are important for increasing muscle power output. These exercises increase the speed and force of muscle contractions with minimal energy consumption. They also improve your agility, increase your jumping and reduce your risk of muscle and joint injuries. 

Core HIIT Exercises 

These exercises work your abs, pelvis, lower back, and hips intensely. The best HIIT exercises targeting your core include; 

Bicycle Crunches 

Bicycle crunches strengthen your core, burn belly fat, slim your waist, and improve your posture, stability, and flexibility. When you perform bicycle crunches, your abs and obliques are worked. The constant body movement increases your heart rate, which facilitates the burning of calories and fat. 

High Knees 

High knees work your quadriceps, hips, calves, hamstrings, and glutes, increasing your muscle endurance, strength, stability, and coordination of the targeted muscles. This exercise increases your heart rate, helping to burn calories and fat. 

Swiss Ball Knee Tucks 

This exercise suits HIIT since it works numerous muscles simultaneously, including those in your lower back, abdominals, arms, and legs.  It improves your stability by working smaller stabilizing muscles. It can also increase your overall strength, improving your balance and posture when done regularly. 

Full Body HIIT Workouts 

Full-body HIIT workouts target your entire body. They work muscles in your upper body, such as the biceps, deltoids, and pectoralis, core, and lower body. The best full-body workouts include burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks. 


Burpees are among the most suitable workouts for HIIT. This is owed to the numerous benefits that they offer our bodies. Burpees improve our cardiovascular fitness, aid in strength training, burn calories, and improve muscle coordination and agility. The best part is that they offer all these benefits, yet they are time efficient. They strengthen your arms, shoulders, glutes, core, quads, and hamstrings. 

Mountain Climbers 

Mountain climbers are highly efficient as they engage various muscle groups, including arms, chest, shoulders, core, and quads. They improve your cardio endurance, core strength, and mobility and promote functional fitness, improving muscle coordination and agility. They may also improve your heart health. 

Jumping Jacks 

This exercise is suitable for the HIIT plan because it benefits your muscles and allows you to vary its intensity. Jumping jacks engage upper, core, and lower body muscles. They can strengthen your hip muscles and help develop power. Performing jumping jacks also improve your aerobic capacity, may aid in weight loss and management, and reduce resting heart rate. Additionally, they promote heart health and lower the risk of blood pressure. 

Proper Form and Technique

When performing the exercises, ensure you use the correct form and technique. Proper form and technique allow you to move efficiently, increasing your performance and enabling a full range of motion. Performing an exercise using the wrong form or technique makes the exercise ineffective. Even worse, it may cause an injury or negatively affect your posture. 

The Importance of Diet and Nutrition during HIIT 

Proper diet and nutrition are essential for a successful HIIT program. There are numerous reasons why what you eat influences your HIIT. Among them include the following; 

  • HIIT demands a lot of energy. Eat a lot of carbohydrates, especially before an exercise, to boost your energy reserve and have more than enough energy to sustain your session. 
  • Proper nutrition influences your recovery. HIIT workouts may lead to muscle tears and soreness. Eating a lot of proteins, especially after a HIIT session, may aid in muscle recovery. 
  • Improving your body composition. Proteins are body-building foods. They help in muscle protein synthesis, which leads to the growth of muscles. Limiting your fat and calorie intake may help to lose weight and improve your body composition. 

Other than proper dieting, hydrating is also crucial for HIIT. You need to hydrate your body in HIIT to help regulate your temperature, maintain energy levels, promote quicker recovery, and improve your performance. 

To have a successful HIIT, you need to ensure you eat a balanced diet and frequently hydrate. 

HIIT Gym Workouts for Busy Professionals 

HIIT gym workouts are suitable for busy professionals because they are highly effective in cardio and strength training and are done within a short time. If you are a busy professional, you can do these exercises anywhere, with little to no equipment. However, doing the exercises in the gym may be more advantageous due to the availability of the correct equipment for the exercises. 

As a busy professional, having a home gym may be advantageous for numerous reasons:

  1. It will minimize the time you spend going to the gym.
  2. You will not queue to use equipment at the public gym.
  3. You will be able to work out when and how you want to and design your workout per your needs.
  4. You will get minimal distractions. 

Using the basic HIIT structure, design 7-15 minute exercise routines using the best exercises from the list provided. As you design the plan, consider your fitness level and goals. Consider doing these in the morning because they may keep you energized and focused during the day. 

Advanced HIIT Gym Workouts for Fitness Enthusiasts 

Gym rats, bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts may prefer advanced HIIT gym workouts for muscle growth and endurance. However, building muscle size, strength, and endurance may require more than HIIT gym workouts. Cross-training may be necessary to build muscle strength and endurance with group HIIT gym workouts. 

Cross-training involves varying your fitness plan by combining different exercises, while group HIIT involves doing exercises with other people simultaneously. Group HIIT workouts help you effectively adhere to HIIT and motivate you to keep to your program. It also helps to do exercises in the proper form and technique. 

For effective advanced HIIT, the following exercises are suitable; 

  • Burpees
  • High Knees 
  • Lunges 
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jumping Jacks 
  • Push-ups 

HIIT Gym Workouts for Beginners 

HIIT gym workouts are not limited to fitness enthusiasts and professionals only. Beginners can also start HIIT. 

As a beginner, keep in mind the fundamental principles of HIIT. Ensure you warm up before HIIT and cool down afterward. During HIIT, repeatedly alternate high-intensity workouts with periods of recovery. 

The ideal exercises for HIIT gym workouts for beginners include squats, lunges, mountain climbers, straight punches, and jumping jacks. 

Injury Prevention 

If you are new to HIIT workouts, there are a few tips you should have in your locker to help you lower the risk of sustaining an injury during the workouts. These include the following; 

  • Using the proper form and technique for the exercises. 
  • Start with exercises you can handle at a pace you are able to manage and for a period you can sustain as you gradually introduce more exercises and increase the training pace and time. Preferably, you can start with an exercise you are familiar with as you learn others with time. 
  • Ensure that you use the proper equipment and that the equipment is well maintained. 
  • Put on appropriate clothing and safety gear while doing the exercises. 
  • Ensure that you set aside recovery times. Do not force yourself to work out before you have fully recovered. 
  • Ensure that you include a warm-up and a cool-down in your HIIT. 


Nowadays, it is difficult to walk into a gym and miss someone doing HIIT workouts. These workouts are proven to possess numerous benefits, including weight loss, muscle growth, and improvement of cardiovascular health. If you have not yet started on HIIT, it is time to try it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the common mistakes I should avoid during HIIT gym workouts?

    Common mistakes that people make during HIIT gym workouts include; 

    • Forgetting warm-ups and cool-downs before and after HIIT workouts. 
    • Overtraining 
    • Undertraining 
    • Doing HIIT workouts that are not challenging enough. 
    • Assuming the HIIT workout structure.
    • Forgetting to diet and hydrate frequently.

  • How long should a HIIT gym workout be?

    A complete HIIT session should last 30-60 minutes, including warm-ups and cool-downs. Typically, the high-intensity part of the workout should take about 15-20 minutes. The rest of the time is for recovery, warm-ups, and cool-downs.

  • What is the difference between HIIT and LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) cardio?

    HIIT involves short, vigorous exercises followed by low-effort exercises or rest intervals, while LISS involves low-intensity exercises consistently done at a steady rate for a prolonged period. Even though HIIT primarily uses calories for energy while LISS forces your body to use fat for energy, the two may have the same overall effect on weight loss.

  • How can I avoid plateauing with HIIT gym workouts?

    To avoid plateauing, change your workout routine, incorporate strength training into your HIIT workouts, practice progressive overload, make time for recovery, focus on your nutrition, and increase your water intake.

  • Can HIIT gym workouts improve mental health?

    Research shows that HIIT significantly reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, improving mental health.

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