14 HIIT Workouts to Get You Through the New Year

These time-efficient, hard-HIITing plans use free weights, machines and your bodyweight to help you get your sweat on.

Photo: Getty Images

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The holidays are a time of good cheer, but with all the celebrations and libations, it’s easy to overstuff your stockings. The (sort of) good news is that the average holiday weight gain is only about 2 pounds, which means if you keep up with your regular training — and set your sights on maintenance rather than getting lean — you can sail through the season unscathed.

These time-efficient high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts use free weights, machines and your bodyweight to help you get your sweat on. So take a deep breath, make smart choices, be good to yourself — and leave the holiday heft to Santa.

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Tinsel-Time T(ab)ata

Tabatas are the fastest way — literally and figuratively — to incite fat burning. For best results, do the 20-second work intervals at 100 percent all-out intensity — then relish those oh-so-sweet 10 seconds of rest. Complete eight total rounds (four minutes) for a fully cooked core. Want a challenge? Try to match or beat the number of reps you get for each round.

Exercise Seconds
Butterfly Sit-Up 20
Rest 10
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Cheery Chipper

Complete all reps of one move before continuing to the next. Rest only as needed; as soon as you catch your breath, get back to it.

Exercise Reps
Dumbbell Goblet Squat 50
Dumbbell Two-Arm Bent-Over Row 40
Renegade Row 30
Push-Up 20
Tuck Jump 10
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Merry MetCon

This workout combines running with power and strength moves for the ultimate fat-burning cocktail. Use the same barbell for the thrusters and the deadlifts and err on the lighter side to ensure you can finish all reps of both moves.

Part 1: Complete three rounds

Exercise Reps/Distance
Barbell Thruster 6
Kettlebell Swing 9
V-Up 12
Run 400m (or 2 min.)

Rest two minutes.

Part 2: Complete three rounds

Exercise Reps/Distance
Barbell Deadlift 12
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row 9
Burpee 6
Run 400m (or 2 min.)
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Eggnog EMOM

Every minute on the minute, complete the indicated task. Rest any remaining time, then begin again at the top of the next minute. Complete six rounds (18 minutes).

Minute Exercise Reps
1 Deadlift 15
2 Burpee 10
3 Box Jump 8
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Woman performing dumbbell rows with one hand on the weight rack
(Photo: Getty Images)

Bodyweight Blitzen

Complete as many rounds and reps of the following workout as possible in 15 minutes (AMRAP). Keep track of your score and try to beat it next time Santa comes to town.

Exercise Reps/Distance
Air Squat 20
Push-Up 15
Walking Lunge 10
Pull-Up 5
Run 200m (or 1 min.)
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Snow-Woman Sculpt

Choose a barbell, dumbbells or a combination of both, and begin with a moderate load. With each set, increase the weight and decrease the reps. Complete all sets and reps of an exercise before moving on to the next.

Exercise Sets Reps
Reverse Lunge 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 (each leg)
Bench Press 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Bent-Over Row 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Triceps Pressdown 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6
Biceps Curl 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6
Shoulder Press 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6
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Office-Party Intervals

Grab a few sets of dumbbells and complete four rounds of the following workout (more if you sat on the copier …). Rest 60 seconds between rounds.

Exercise Seconds
Dumbbell Walking Lunge 45
Rest 15
Jumping Jacks 45
Rest 15
Arnold Shoulder Press 45
Rest 15
High Knees 45
Rest 15
Dumbbell Lateral Lunge 45
Rest 15
Butt Kicks 45
Rest 15
Dumbbell Front-to-Lateral Raise 45
Rest 15
Football Run 45
Rest 60
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Polar Bear Barbell Complex

Load a barbell with a moderate weight. (Hint: Whichever move is your weakest should determine your load.) One rep of each move = one cycle. Seven cycles = one round. Complete five total rounds.

The Flow

  1. Clean the barbell up to the front-rack position.
  2. Do a front squat.
  3. As you stand, perform a push press; place the bar across
    your upper back and traps.
  4. Do a back squat.
  5. As you stand, perform a push press; bring the bar to the
    front-rack position.
  6. Return the bar to the floor to complete one cycle.
  7. Repeat.


  • Power Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Push Press
  • Back Squat
  • Push Press
Woman standing on a jump rope at the gym
(Photo: Getty Images)
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Jingle-Bell Jump

Nothing incites metabolic change like an explosive workout, and this one will get your lords-a-leaping. Complete three rounds of the following workout, resting 60 seconds between rounds. Finish with a deceleration drill using a knee-high box or bench.

Feeling badass? Do double-unders instead of single-unders when jumping rope.

Exercise Seconds
Speedskater 30
Rest 30
Forward Bound 30
Rest 30
Jump Rope 30
Rest 30
Vertical Jump 30
Rest 60

Finisher: Complete two rounds

Exercise Reps/Time
Box Jump Down 5
Rest 30–60 seconds

With this drill, you want to “stick the landing”: Simply step off the box, land softly and hold in the landing position for five seconds. This trains your body to better absorb impact and helps prevent injury.

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Run-Run Rudolph

Lace up and hit the road — or the treadmill — with this sprinting circuit and 360-degree core finisher.


Jog/run five minutes at a moderate pace, then perform some dynamic stretches such as leg swings, arm circles and the like.

Sprint-ervals: Complete 10 rounds

Activity Seconds
Sprint 20
Walk 40


Jog five minutes at an easy pace.

Finisher: Complete four rounds

Exercise Reps
Bicycle Crunch 20 (each side)
Dead Bug 10 (each side)
Flutter Kick 20 (each side)
Superman 10
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Silver ’Bells

Using a moderately heavy kettlebell, complete three rounds of each superset or tri-set. Rest 30 seconds between rounds and 60 seconds between supersets/tri-sets. Bonus points if you can carry a tune while swinging your kettlebell.

Superset 1

Exercise Reps/Time
Kettlebell Swing 20
Kettlebell Goblet Squat 15
Rest 30 seconds

Tri-Set 1

Exercise Reps/Distance/Time
Kettlebell One-Arm Push Press (right) 10
Kettlebell One-Arm Farmer's Carry (right) 20 yards
Kettlebell One-Arm Row (right) 10
Rest 30 seconds

Tri-Set 2

Exercise Reps/Distance/Time
Kettlebell One-Arm Push Press (left) 10
Kettlebell One-Arm Farmer’s Carry (left) 20 yards
Kettlebell One-Arm Row (left) 10
Rest 30 seconds

Superset 2

Exercise Reps/Time
Kettlebell Deadlift 20
Kettlebell Sumo Squat 20
Rest 30 seconds
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Low shot of a woman performing dumbbell rows in front of a dumbbell rack
(Photo: Getty Images)

Hanukkah HIIT

Choose your favorite cardio machine or activity and do this quickie 10-minute workout to bust stress on those super-busy days. It’s also a great finisher after strength training to empty your tank.

Minutes Intensity % Max Effort
0-2 Moderate 60-70
2-3 Moderately hard 75
3-4 Moderate 60
4-4:30 Hard 85
4:30-5:30 Moderate 65
5:30-6 Very hard 90
6-7 Moderate 65
7-7:30 Extremely hard 95-100
7:30-8:30 Moderate 60
8:30-9 Extremely hard 95-100
9-10 Easy 40
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The 12 Days of Crossfit

This “12-day” workout format lends itself to any exercise combination you can imagine. Here, some of the usual suspects from CrossFit flesh out the lineup. To save time, use the same barbell/weight for the push presses, deadlifts and thrusters.

The Flow

Round 1 = 1 Burpee. Round 2 = 1 Burpee + 2 Pistol Squats. Round 3 = 1 Burpee + 2 Pistol Squats + 3 Toes-to-Bar. Continue this way, adding an exercise with each round, for a total of 12 rounds.

Reps Exercise
1 Burpee
2 Pistol Squats
3 Toes-to-Bar
4 Pull-Ups
5 Box Jump-Overs
6 Kettlebell Swings
7 Air Squats
8 Wall Balls
9 Push-Ups
10 Barbell/Dumbbell Push Presses
11 Barbell/Dumbbell Deadlifts
12 Barbell/Dumbbell Thrusters
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Dreidel Drop

This gym-centric, total-body workout uses machines and drop sets to get the job done. On the last set of each move, do a drop set: Perform as many reps as you can with one weight, then drop (reduce) the weight a few pounds and resume your repping. Drop the weight one more time and rep it out to failure.

Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 10-12
Smith-Machine Squat 3 8-10
Calf Raise 3 15
Incline Chest Press 3 8-10
Lat Pulldown 3 8-10
Cable Lateral Raise 3 10-12
Cable Rope Triceps Pressdown 3 12-15
Cable Rope Crunch 3 12-15
Cable Rope Curl 3 12-15