The 20-Min HIIT Workout for Home: The Ultimate Guide for Interval Training Anywhere

Clearly, Darth here needs a HIIT workout he can do at home.

If you thought High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was something you had to do at the gym, think again!

We help many of our coaching clients begin at-home workouts, including HIIT routines, and today we’ll share with you exactly how to train without a gym.

Here’s what we’ll cover in today’s guide for HIIT at home:

Let’s do this thing!

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?

This lego is trying to pedal his way thin!

HIIT is just following a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity during a run, swim, or workout. 

Any exercise can be a form of HIIT, but here’s a common beginner routine:

  • Jogging lightly for three minutes.
  • Pushing yourself harder for a minute (run or sprint).
  • Repeating this cycle 4 more times.

The trick is the “pushing yourself harder” part. 

Let’s imagine an exercise intensity scale:

  • 1 equals “I’m barely raising my heart rate” 
  • 10 is at “this is the hardest I’ve ever trained and my skeleton might escape my body” 

We would shoot for an 8-9 for your intense periods of HIIT. 

While obviously subjective, the point is to push yourself to the point of “intense,” rest, then push yourself again…over and over. That’s HIIT.

HIIT workouts generally only last about 20 minutes, which makes them attractive for busy people (most of us).

You can read our full guide on High-Intensity Interval Training for Beginners, but let’s get you what you’re after…

The 20-Min HIIT Home Workout

If you did it right, dancing could totally be a HIIT workout done at home.

The following full-body HIIT workout can be done in your living room with zero equipment…although you’ll probably want some type of timer.

Throughout the workout, you’ll be doing various exercises for 40 seconds, followed by a 20 second period of rest. That’s the whole “interval” thing. 

Do as many reps as you can during the period of “intense,” but also feel free to adjust the time slots. 

For example, you can do an exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Or if you’re a little more experienced, 45 seconds of “intense” and 15 seconds of rest. You do you.

Alright, let’s get to it!

THE NERD FITNESS 20-MIN HIIT HOME WORKOUT:

HIIT Home Workout Stage 1: Dynamic Warm-up

  • 0:00-5:00: Warm-up

HIIT Home Workout Stage 2: Lower-Body Exercises

The squat movement as shown here.

  • 5:00-5:40: Bodyweight Squats
  • 5:40-6:00: Rest
  • 6:00-6:40: Bodyweight Squats
  • 6:40-7:00: Rest
  • 7:00-7:40: Bodyweight Squats
  • 7:40-8:00: Rest

HIIT Home Workout Stage 3: Push Exercises

Here Rebel Leader Steve shows you the classic push-up.

  • 8:00-8:40: Push-ups
  • 8:40-9:00: Rest
  • 9:00-9:40: Push-ups
  • 9:40-10:00: Rest
  • 10:00-10:40: Push-ups
  • 10:40-11:00: Rest

HIIT Home Workout Stage 4: Dynamic Exercises

If you start in a crouch you'll turn your jumping jack into a star jack!

  • 11:00-11:40: Star Jacks
  • 11:40-12:00: Rest
  • 12:00-12:40: Star Jacks
  • 12:40-13:00: Rest
  • 13:00-13:40: Star Jacks
  • 13:40-14:00: Rest

HIIT Home Workout Stage 5: Pull Exercises

Add bodyweight rows to your workouts

  • 14:00-14:40: Inverted Row
  • 14:40-15:00: Rest
  • 15:00-15:40: Inverted Row
  • 15:40-16:00: Rest
  • 16:00-16:40: Inverted Row
  • 16:40-17:00: Rest

HIIT Home Workout Stage 6: Core Exercises

A plank, like so, is a great way to engage your core.

  • 17:00-17:40: Plank
  • 17:40-18:00: Rest
  • 18:00-18:40: Plank
  • 18:40-19:00: Rest
  • 19:00-19:40: Plank
  • 19:40-20:00: Rest

Boom! A 20-minute full-body HIIT workout you can do from the comfort of your own home.

When you’re done, feel free to do a little stretching to cool down (Stage 7).

Let’s go over each movement so know exactly how to do our at-home HIIT routine. We’ll also talk about ways to make the movements easier or harder, to match your experience level. 

If you want someone to build a HIIT workout designed specifically for you, our coaches can do just that! Many of our clients choose to work out at home and they wake up each morning knowing exactly what’s next for their training.

What Are the Best Home Exercises for HIIT?

This LEGO has the right idea, jumping would fit into a HIIT workout. No rain required.

Let’s discuss each stage of the Nerd Fitness 20-Min HIIT Home Workout.

Stage 1: Dynamic Warm-up

First, you’ll need to warm-up. It doesn’t have to be much, about five minutes to get your muscles active and your heart rate up.

You can do Arm Circles:

Arm circles like so are a great way to get your heart rate up before doing HIIT.

Or Walking Jacks:

Do walking jacks if you can't do jumping jacks!

You can even do air punches and kicks like you’re fighting invisible ninjas! 

All sorts of movements will work here, as long as you get your heart rate up and your body moving. 

You can read our guide The 15 Best Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for more ideas for Stage 1.

Stage 2: Lower-Body Exercises

This stage focuses on training the lower body, which we’ll accomplish with some bodyweight squats!

Do a proper bodyweight squat to work out your legs

If you find a normal squat too challenging, you can do assisted bodyweight squats: 

Doing assisted bodyweight squats is a great step towards regular bodyweight squats

Or if you want to increase the difficulty, you can do one-legged “pistol” squats:

The one legged "pistol" squat is a great advanced bodyweight movement.

Check out the 11 best lower-body bodyweight exercises for more options here.

Stage 3: Push Exercises

In this stage, it’s all about your “push” muscles. Which, you guessed it, means doing some push-ups!

This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.

If you can’t do a proper push-up yet, no problem, start on your knees:

Knee push-ups like this are a great way to progress to a regular push-up!

Are push-ups too easy? Have you ever tried declined push-ups?

Decline push-ups like this are a great way to progress your bodyweight exercises.

We have the best 8 “push” bodyweight exercises if you want some more variations to chose from. 

Stage 4: Dynamic Exercises

It’s time to jump! With some Star Jacks:

If you start in a crouch you'll turn your jumping jack into a star jack!

If Star Jacks are a little too challenging, some good ole fashioned Jumping Jacks will do the trick:

Jumping jacks are a great way to warm up for your at-home workout.

If you want to hate yourself, you can also do some burpees for this stage:

The infamous burpee bodyweight exercise!

Stage 5: Pull Exercises

No full-body workout would be complete without including some “pull” exercises.

For that, it’s time for the inverted bodyweight row:

A bodyweight row like this is a great "pull" exercise you can while building up strength for pull-ups.

If you have a sturdy table at home, you can do your rows with it:

Do you have a pull-up bar? You can also do pull-ups for this stage!

Here’s how to progress to a full pull-up if you can’t quite get one yet.

Here's a gif of a pull-up in perfect form.

Stage 6: Core Exercises

Last but not least, it’s time to end with some core exercises.

For that, let’s plank!

The plank is a great bodyweight exercise to engage your core muscles.

A knee-plank is totally fine if you need some extra support:

If you can't do a normal plank, start with doing them on your knees until you can advance.

Or you can do some side-planks for more of a challenge:

Doing a plank on your side is a great way to progressive this bodyweight movement.

Stage 7: Stretching and Cool Down

If you want to cool down with some stretching after your HIIT workout, here’s a beginner stretching sequence you can do:

You can check out our full guide on The Best Post-Workout Stretches, which includes a full yoga sequence for you to try out. 

For any of the above movements, if you want to check your form, simply record a video of the movement and match it against the videos and gifs here. If they look close then you’re doing great!

Want an expert to review your form? Our coaches can do just that! Through our snazzy app, you can send your coach a video so they can provide feedback for improvement.

Getting Started with HIIT at Home

HIIT isn't magic, but doing an intense workout twice a week will do wonders for your health.

You now have a full-body HIIT workout that you can do from home!

The only question left is “when should you do your HIIT workout?”

We generally recommend our coaching clients complete a full-body strength training workout 2-3 times per week (our at-home HIIT sequence would be considered such a routine).

You build muscles while resting, not working out, so you generally want 48 hours before engaging the same muscle group again.

So you can do our HIIT sequence on Monday and again on Thursday. On the weekend maybe do some type of fun exercise like a hike or a little yoga

Yep, Stitch has the right idea, a little yoga after a HIIT workout is a great way to cool down.

That’s it! 

When any of these exercises start to feel too easy, switch to a more difficult movement (knee push-ups to regular push-ups, for example).

The most important thing you can do today: start!

Don’t overthink it. Don’t worry if you’re going to do any of the bodyweight exercises wrong. Just start.

You can always course-correct later. But if you read this far into the article, you should try our at-home HIIT workout. It’ll make me super happy if you do.

Want a little more help getting going? You seem like a nice person, so I’ll share with you our best suggestions for next steps:

1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom bodyweight training program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

2) Good at following instructions? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.

The Academy has 20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, meal plans, a questing system, and a supportive community.

3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. 

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating a HIIT workout into your training.

Alright, enough from me. Now it’s your turn:

Do you perform HIIT workouts?

Do you have an at-home sequence you train with?

Any other tips for those working out without a gym?

Let us know in the comments!

-Steve

PS: If you train at home, check out our guide The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises: The Ultimate Guide for Working Out Anywhere! It’ll walk you through each exercise covered today, plus many more, and it also includes tips on how to build a bodyweight workout.

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Photo source: Home sweet home, Speed, Dancing with myself, Hoppípola, Wizard

GIF Source: Jump, Stitch.

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