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All cardio workouts have one thing in common — they can be made harder and more effective if you have the will and the skill to keep up.
“You can make any workout more advanced by dialing up the intensity level, dialing up the difficulty level of the exercise or by dialing down the recovery phase,” says personal trainer and group exercise instructor Samantha Clayton, vice president of Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness for Herbalife Nutrition and a former Olympian who competed for the U.K. in the Sydney 2000 Games. “The workout I’m about to show you does all three.”
As Clayton explains it, HIIT — high-intensity interval training — involves periods of high-intensity work cycled with low-intensity active recovery. “There are many ways to structure your HIIT intervals depending on your personal preference and current level of fitness,” she explains. “Tabata, for instance, falls into the HIIT family but falls toward the more intense end of the scale. It involves a max-effort interval 2:1 work-to-rest ratio and is only for those who feel ready to really push themselves.”
Your 20-Minute HIIT Cardio Blast
This workout involves five exercises, which you’ll do for four minutes apiece, Tabata style — that is, 20 seconds all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeating that sequence for eight rounds per exercise total.
By keeping your rest minimal between each four-minute round, you’ll be able to finish up this exhaustive-but-productive session in just 20 minutes.
“Repeating one exercise in a 20-second-on, 10-second-off format for four minutes is intense, and it more than adequately fatigues the muscle groups targeted in the upper and lower body,” Clayton says.
|1||Back-and-Forth Squat Jump||8||20 seconds on/10 seconds off|
|2||Reverse Lunge to Knee-Drive Hop||8||20 seconds on/10 seconds off|
|3||Burpee With Mountain Climber||8||20 seconds on/10 seconds off|
|4||Spider Push-Up||8||20 seconds on/10 seconds off|
|5||Supine Alternating Toe Tap||8||20 seconds on/10 seconds off|
Back-and-Forth Squat Jump
Assume a shoulder-width stance with both hands directly in front of you, knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest up and back flat, squat down until your thighs approach parallel with the floor, then explode upward and forward, allowing your feet to leave the ground. Land on soft feet with your knees bent, quickly shuffle back to your starting spot and repeat.
Reverse Lunge to Knee-Drive Hop
With your hands on your hips or out in the “ready” position for balance, step backward with one foot into a lunge position. Bend both knees to lower yourself, making sure your front knee doesn’t pass your toes. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor and reverse directions, driving through the heel of your forward foot to return to the start and continuing by bringing your knee forward and up until that thigh is at least parallel to the floor. Drive hard enough that you also hop a few inches forward with your planted back foot. Return back to the lunge position and repeat. Alternate from round to round, doing your reps leading with the right foot, then the left, so you do four rounds for each leg.
Burpee With Mountain Climber
Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by squatting down as you put your hands out in front of you, then kicking your legs out behind you as your hands reach the floor. From this position, perform a full push-up to the floor followed by a mountain climber — pull one knee forward toward your chest while the other leg goes backward, as if you’re running in place with your hands always in contact with the floor, for a four-count — then quickly bring your feet in underneath you again with your hands still providing full support on the floor. Extend at your hips and knees to return to standing, continuing through with your hands overhead into a jump. When you come back down, immediately descend into the next rep.
Start in the standard push-up position. As you lower yourself down toward the floor, lift your right foot off the floor and bend it, bringing your knee up to touch that same-side elbow. Bring your knee back to a planted position as you raise yourself, then repeat with your left foot.
Supine Alternating Toe Tap
Lie on your back, arms at your sides, and lift both legs with your knees bent to 90 degrees — your shins should be parallel to the floor to start. From here, bring one foot down to tap it lightly to the floor, then raise it back and repeat with the left leg. Continue the alternating pattern for the 20-second Tabata intervals.