What is HIIT? A Beginner’s Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity, low time commitment. Learn more about why HIIT is such a popular training method.

Finding time to get in a workout isn’t always easy. Luckily, you don’t need to spend an hour at the gym for effective training. HIIT – which stands for high-intensity interval training – is a quick, effective and popular training style that can help you reach your fitness goals without taking up too much of your schedule. We’re giving you a crash course on some of the most frequently asked questions on HIIT.


HIIT is pretty true to its name. These workouts alternate short bursts of intense aerobic activity followed by recovery periods. The recovery periods may either be purely rest or a lower-impact movement. An example is sprinting for 30 seconds followed by walking for 30 seconds. The goal is to maximize your workout in a minimal amount of time.


There are many reasons why HIIT is, well, such a hit with fitness buffs today. Benefits of HIIT training include:

  • Low time commitment: As mentioned, HIIT is a great time-saver. Most workouts are less than 30 minutes long, including this Pro Tips 20-minute HIIT routine.
  • Minimal equipment: Equipment such as kettlebells, medicine balls and jump ropes can be included but it’s not necessary. You can do HIIT workouts solely with bodyweight exercises. Check out our bodyweight workout if you’re looking for training without weights.
  • Flexible locations: HIIT workouts can be performed anywhere. You can do them from home, incorporate them into your swimming, running or biking or even done as a finisher to your weightlifting at the gym.
  • Keep it fresh: With HIIT workouts, you can continuously mix up movements so that your routine never grows boring or stale.


With HIIT, it’s easy to switch up your workout routine. A typical sequence might include squats, jumping jacks, burpees, sit-ups or high-knees. Other common exercises include jump rope, speed skaters, push-ups and sprints. However, most aerobic movements can be incorporated into a HIIT routine. The key is to push hard through the entirety of the time frame. You can also take a “mix and match” approach to your workout — trading in new moves to make the most of your training.


As with any training program, comfortable athletic clothes are a must. This includes proper footwear that support both forward and lateral footwork. To get the most of your workout, you’ll want to learn about high-intensity training shoes. Accessories like a water bottle, cooling towels and exercise mats can also aid in your workout. Be sure to properly stretch before and after. You should also always train in a space where you can comfortably move around.

When in doubt, remember to start slow! It can take time to work your way up to your goals. To stay on track, use our printable workout log and learn more about setting and maintaining fitness goals.

Looking to switch up your workout routine? Check out all of our favorite home workouts!