How to Structure a High-Intensity Short Workout: Maximize Your Fitness in Minimal Time

How to Structure a High-Intensity Short Workout: Maximize Your Fitness in Minimal Time

In our fast-paced world, finding time to exercise can be challenging. Because of that, high-intensity short workouts can help. These workouts deliver results and benefits comparable to longer, less intense workouts in just a fraction of the time. But how do you structure such a workout for maximal effectiveness? Here's how.

Understanding High-Intensity Short Workouts

High-intensity short workouts, also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), involve alternating between periods of intense effort and periods of lower intensity or rest. The idea is to push your body hard for a short amount of time, then allow it to recover before repeating the cycle.

This can whip out your muscles and burn a lot of calories very quickly, which is the goal of high intensity short workouts. 

Here are 4 Steps for Creating an Effective High Intensity Short Workout

Step 1: Warm-Up

A proper warm-up is crucial for preparing your muscles and joints for the intensity to come. Spend 5-10 minutes doing light cardio exercises like jogging in place, jumping jacks, or brisk walking. Include dynamic stretches that mimic the movements you'll be doing in the workout.

Step 2: Choose Your Exercises

The key to an effective HIIT workout is choosing exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once. This could include burpees, squat jumps, kettlebell swings, or mountain climbers. Aim for 4-6 different exercises for a well-rounded workout.

Step 3: Plan Your Intervals

A typical HIIT workout involves a ratio of 2:1 for work to rest. For example, if you're working out intensely for 30 seconds, you should rest for 15 seconds. As you get fitter, you can adjust this ratio or extended the time intervals to challenge yourself further.

Step 4: Execute Your Workout

Perform each chosen exercise for the specified work interval, pushing yourself as hard as you can. Then, rest for the allotted rest interval. This constitutes one set. Repeat this for 3-5 sets, depending on your fitness level.

Step 5: Cool Down

After the workout, it's important to cool down with 5-10 minutes of light cardio to help bring your heart rate down gradually. Follow this with static stretching to aid in recovery and increase flexibility.

Try to avoid maxing yourself out, then walking out of the gym. 

Sample High Intensity Short Workout

Here's a sample 15-minute HIIT workout you can try today.

  1. Warm-Up: 5 minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching
  2. Workout:
    • Burpees (30 seconds) -> Rest (15 seconds)
    • Kettlebell Swings (30 seconds) -> Rest (15 seconds)
    • Mountain Climbers (30 seconds) -> Rest (15 seconds)
    • Squat Jumps (30 seconds) -> Rest (15 seconds)
    • Repeat for 3 rounds
  3. Cool Down: 5 minutes of light cardio and static stretching

With high-intensity short workouts, you can optimize your time and still achieve your fitness goals. Remember to listen to your body and modify as necessary. It's always a good idea to consult with a fitness professional to ensure you're performing exercises correctly and safely.

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