High Intensity Interval Training

13 HIIT Exercises You Need in Your Weight Loss Workouts

Dropping the pounds is all about training smart. And training smart means hitting the right kind of workouts, that are designed to home in on fat quickly. For this, you need to know your HIIT exercises.

High intensity interval training is proven to be quicker and more effective at burning fat than traditional forms of cardio. While it’s challenging, it’s probably one of the fastest workouts you’ll do – and it’ll reap the most reward too.

The trick is keeping your training fresh and stimulating so you keep pushing your body to the next level, and keep melting away the pounds. Check out our HIIT exercises list to spark some inspiration for your next weight loss workout.

[Related article: HIIT Workouts for Women]

HIIT Exercises:


woman running on a treadmill as part of a HIIT workout

One good way to push your body to the maximum is through sprints. You can run at your highest pace for a distance or for a set amount of time, on a treadmill or outside on a track. The key with this is to push yourself and ensure you’re getting enough intensity out of it.

As HIIT is based around short periods of high intensity, you need to make sure you’re pushing your body hard during the workout. Run as fast as you can, add a little incline if you can and don’t go for any more that 45 seconds. This should help you maintain a maximum effort.


This HIIT exercise is not for the faint hearted.

Think the lung-bursting effort of sprints, coupled with the high resistance that comes with rowing exercises. This makes for one hell of a HIIT workout.

Opt for a medium resistance on the rower. This way you can still maintain a high cadence that will get your heart pumping and your muscles burning.

Go hard for 30 seconds, maintaining your form, then break for 30 seconds, before starting it all again. 10 minutes should be more than enough to add to your fat loss workout.

Kettlebell swings

Add weight to your HIIT exercises with a kettlebell swing. Not only will they push you into the essential anaerobic zone, which reaps so many fat burning rewards, the addition of resistance will work your muscles too.

This is a very powerful form of conditioning that will support you and help you maintain a fitter physique too.

Stick to a medium weight kettlebell so you can move quickly, whilst still benefitting from a challenging weight. Keep your rep count somewhere between 10 and 15 accompanied by regular breaks to get your heart right into that fat burning zone.

[Related article: 20-Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout for Fat Loss]

Box jumps

box jump as a HIIT exercises

This explosive, full body movement is one of our favorite HIIT exercises. It requires power, strength and a whole lot of energy, which makes it the staple of many hardcore workouts.

Choose a reasonable height, so you can continue to make the jumps even as you fatigue – the ability to maintain pace is key to this kind of workout.

Don’t try to rebound into your next jump as you land, this could lead to knee or Achilles injury, and no one has time for that. Step down for a safer, more controlled descent before resetting and going again.

Jumping lunges

This is a super high energy movement, that keeps your body moving, your lungs working and your heart beating hard. The added bonus of this one, which we know many girls out there will like, is that it drills into your butt muscles.

Not only will it help you burn fat, it’ll help you create that perfect pert peach.

Aim to do around eight reps per leg and keep the energy high. Drive through the butt as you jump and aim to move seamlessly into the next rep, so you’re working hard and moving fast at all times.

[Related article: Fat Torching, Muscle Growing HIIT Leg Workouts]

Mountain climbers

Pull your abs in to the workout with this movement. It’s another energetic HIIT exercise that keeps your body moving fast throughout your high intensity phase.

Be sure to keep your form tight on this one for maximum results. Don’t just bounce off your toes, ensure your butt is low, make sure your knees are really coming up under your body to work those abs and keep your heartrate sky high.

Aim for about 20 reps with this exercise and keep the tempo high. No slacking, girl!

Rope slams

woman doing rope slams as a hiit exercise

Think toned arms, burning shoulders and a whole lot of fat burning. Rope slams can be the upper-body game changer in a HIIT workout.

They’ll help you max out on your session, whilst also giving you the opportunity to build and maintain muscle through the added resistance the ropes provide.

You can go for full slams in a squat position to involve your legs and core as well as arms and shoulders, or alternating arm slams to drill in to your upper body.


Of all the HIIT exercises on this list, the burpee is one of the most loved and hated. Who would’ve thought that going from lying to jumping could be so damn hard?!

It’s one of the best exercises for boosting your heartrate, which makes it perfect for a hardcore HIIT workout. Factor anything from 10-15 of these into a workout and they will push your body right into that maximum effort zone.

The trick with burpees is too keep your form tight and don’t get lazy. When you start to shorten your jumps or step out into the movement, that’s when you lose that fat burning intensity.

[Related article: HIIT workout Plan for Weight Loss]

Hand-release pushups

Take your pushups to a new level of muscle gain with this variation on the usual movement. Simple remove your hands from the floor at the bottom of the pushup, so you’re lying on your chest. Then put them back down to start the press from a completely relaxed position.

This ensures every rep is given a full range of movement, which makes each one more challenging.

Keep the pace high with this one to ensure you’re hitting that higher heartrate range.


woman doing thrusters as hiit exercises

Grab a couple of dumbbells or a bar and get ready to feel that full body burn. This HIIT exercise pulls in your legs, core, shoulders and arms all in one go. What’s more, it really puts you right in that anaerobic zone where you’re more likely to burn fat for fuel.

Aim to work hard on this one but don’t overdo the weight. It’s very easy to let form drop as fatigue sets in, so go for a weight that’s both challenging and reasonable. Trust us, the speed at which you’re working will still help you feel that burn.

Star jumps

When it comes to boosting your heartrate, you can trust in the star jump. It may be one from the school yard, but this movement utilizes the full body and gets it moving hard and fast, earning it a place on our HIIT exercises list.

Take these seriously, jump hard and high while maintaining a fast pace. When you tick all of these boxes, you’ll never underestimate the humble star jump again.

[Related article: The Best Fat Burners for Women Review]


Boxers, CrossFitters and a whole host of other athletes turn to the skipping to keep their fitness levels high, their bodies in shape and their toes quick. When you get this right, and you’re moving fast, skipping can be a real burn.

Hop, jog or jump over the rope to keep your heartrate high throughout the movement.

If you feel like you need to take this up a notch, swap out the single skips for doubles. You’ll work harder, jump higher, have more control over your body and it’s a full body challenge.

Kettlebell clean

kettlebell clean as a hiit exercise

The humble kettlebell provides a whole host of HIIT exercises and the clean is a great way to get the body working to the max.

It combines the energy of the swing with the power needed for a clean movement. This together creates a high very energetic movement that challenges your body and gets you into that fat burning sweet spot.

The final rep

With these HIIT exercises at your disposal you can create some truly effective weight loss workouts. Whether you opt for an AMRAP or a circuit, select a few of these movements and get to work. You can thank us later… when you catch your breath again.

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