Are you missing the endorphin rush from your high-intensity workout class — or any workout class for that matter? Don't worry, you can do HIIT workouts for women at home!

Just because your gym is closed doesn’t mean that your fitness goals have to suffer.

There are a number of HIIT workouts for women, from beginner to advanced, that can be done at home, or even in your backyard.

Even when you have access to a gym, a hectic schedule means you need an efficient workout that will work multiple muscle groups and burn calories in a short period of time.

That’s where HIIT workouts for women come in.

What is HIIT?

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a form of exercise that is a spin-off of Tabata.

Tabata workouts were first researched by Dr. Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

His research compared athletes that carried out moderate-intensity workouts to those that did high-intensity interval workouts.

The study lasted six weeks total for both groups. To compare these two types of workouts, the moderate-intensity group worked out five days a week with each workout lasting one hour.

The high-intensity group worked out four days a week with each workout lasting four minutes.

The four minutes were broken down into 20-second “on” intervals and 10 seconds of rest.

Short Intervals, Big Fitness Results

You would think there was no way that the group working out fewer days a week, and for a short amount of time, would come close to the fitness gains of those working out for an hour.

But in fact, the results proved otherwise.

While the moderate-intensity group had increased their aerobic fitness, they showed little or no results for their anaerobic fitness.

However, the HIIT group showed an even greater increase in their aerobic system than the moderate-intensity group.

Plus they had increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Gains With HIIT

This study showed that high-intensity interval training had a greater impact on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

This is why HIIT training has become so popular.

It dispels the myth that you need to work out for hours on end to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

As long as you really push yourself to your limits during these shortened interval workouts, you can still see substantial gains.

HIIT Builds Strength and Cardio in Women

There is more to HIIT training than just cardiovascular benefits.

You can do pretty much any exercise you choose during the intervals!

This lets you train multiple muscle groups while you gain strength and lean muscle.

Post Workout Calorie Burn With HIIT

Any workout is going to burn calories, however the higher the intensity of the workout, the more calories you will continue to burn, even after the workout has ended.

This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC for short.

So if you are short on time, the key is to really up the intensity.

This ensures that even a workout that is low in minutes will be high in strength building.

One study showed that two minutes of sprint intervals produced similar post-exercise oxygen consumption compared to 30 minutes of continuous running at a lower intensity.

This is important when you have minimal time but want to achieve the same fitness goals.

HIIT Workouts For All Levels of Training

No matter what your current fitness level, there is the perfect HIIT workout for everyone.

Check out these HIIT workouts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced fitness levels.

For each of these workouts, always begin with a five to 10-minute warm-up to get the heart rate going and blood flowing to the muscles.

You can use this same warm-up for each of the HIIT workouts below.

HIIT Warmup

Perform each move for 30 seconds.

Rest for one minute, then repeat for a quick five-minute warm-up.

High Knees

  • Stand upright and place your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands near your waist with your palms down.
  • Drive your right knee up to meet your right hand, then bring the same leg back to the ground and immediately bring the left knee up to meet your left hand.
  • Continue to alternate knees with a hopping motion, staying on the balls of your feet.

Jumping Jacks

  • Stand with your feet together and arms at your side.
  • In one motion, jump your feet out to the sides and raise your arms above your head.
  • Immediately reverse the motion back to the starting position.

Butt Kickers

  • Stand up straight with your legs slightly wider than your hips.
  • Bring your right heel off the floor toward your glutes.
  • At the same time, match this movement with your left hand coming up towards your shoulder like you’re running.
  • As soon as your right leg comes back to the floor, bring your left leg up in the same manner.
  • Continue alternating this running motion.

High Knee With Oblique Twist

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend your elbows and bring your fists up near your chin.
  • Drive your right knee up while twisting your torso to the right, bringing your right knee to meet your left elbow.
  • Immediately repeat with the left knee meeting your right elbow and do this in a hopping motion while staying on the balls of your feet.

Beginner HIIT Workouts For Women

If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, you want to begin at a lower intensity and with simple movements to avoid injury.

Since this is a beginner HIIT workout, the intervals will be shorter with longer rest periods.

But, make sure that you are pushing it as hard as you can go to still challenge yourself.

For each exercise, perform the movement with as many reps as possible for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds.

Burpees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down and place your hands on the floor.
  • Kick back into a push-up position.
  • Do one push-up.
  • Jump your legs back to a squat and jump up, throwing your hands above your head.
  • Land and repeat.
  • You can perform these with or without a push-up. As your fitness increases, try adding in the push-up.

Squat Jumps

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hinge at the hips to push your butt back and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Explode off the floor and jump as high as you can.
  • Allow your knees to bend 45 degrees when you land, and then immediately drop back down into a squat, and jump again.

Flutter Kicks

  • Lie on your back and extend your legs up to a 45-degree angle.
  • Keep your arms straight and in line with the floor, palms facing down.
  • Lift your upper body off the ground.
  • While keeping your legs straight, begin alternating each leg up and down in a flutter motion.
  • Try to maintain this motion for the entire 30 seconds.

Push-Ups

  • Start in a plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists and legs out behind you.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight.
  • As you lower and exhale, bend your elbows outward to the sides.
  • If you cannot do these on your feet you can start on your knees.
  • Eventually, you will be able to perform the standard push-ups as your strength increases.

After completing this circuit, rest for a full minute. Then repeat the circuit two more times.

Intermediate HIIT Workouts For Women

Once you have mastered the beginner HIIT workout, you can move on to this slightly more intense workout.

With these exercises, perform the movement again for 30 seconds, but decrease your rest time to 20 seconds before moving to the next move.

Alternating Jump Lunges

  • Start in a split stance position with your hands on your hips and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with your right leg forward.
  • Lower your left knee down while bringing your right thigh parallel to the floor in a lunge position.
  • Push off the ground, jump and switch the position of your legs while in mid-air, landing into the lunge position with the left leg forward.
  • Repeat, switching legs on each jump.

Side to Side Push-Ups

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Move to the right with your right arm and right leg while bending at the elbows to lower your chest to the ground in a push-up.
  • Extend your arms to return to the top.
  • Then repeat to the left side.
  • Continue alternating sides.

Lateral Skaters

  • Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and arms at the sides.
  • Bring your left leg at a slight angle into a reverse lunge with the right knee at a 90-degree angle.
  • Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward in a skating motion.
  • Alternate your arms and legs as you switch sides like a speed skater.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Bring your right knee forward under your chest, then return the leg back.
  • Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward.
  • Keep switching legs and pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.

After completing this circuit, rest for a full minute. Then repeat the circuit two more times.

Advanced HIIT Workouts For Women

If you have been working out for years and want to really challenge yourself with some heart-pumping HIIT, then look no further than this advanced HIIT workout for women.

Not only are the exercises a bit more advanced, but you are also going to increase the interval time and decrease the rest time.

Tuck Jumps

  • Hold your hands in front of you at chest height with your palms down.
  • Dip down into a quarter squat and immediately jump upward.
  • Drive the knees towards the chest, attempting to touch them to the palms of your hands.
  • Then land by re-extending your legs with knees slightly bent.
  • Repeat as quickly as possible for 30 seconds.

Side to Side Plank Abs

  • Start in a plank position.
  • Hop both feet up to the right, trying to bring your knees to the outside of your right elbow.
  • Hop back into a plank position, then bring your knees to the left.
  • Continue alternating sides.

V-Push-Ups

  • Start in a push-up position and then lift up your hips up so that your body forms an upside-down V.
  • Keep your legs and arms straight.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor.
  • Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.

Russian Twist

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt while holding a dumbbell in both hands.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your back.
  • Twist slowly to the left, bringing the weight to your left side.
  • Then rotate to the right with the weight.
  • Continue alternating sides.
  • Make sure you are using your abs and not just swinging your arms.
  • You can do this with your feet on the ground, or hover the feet above the ground for a challenge.

After completing this circuit, rest for a full minute. Then repeat the circuit two more times.

Cool Down

After all of these HIIT workouts, you want to be sure to include a five to 10-minute cool-down that includes some static stretches that focus on the upper and lower body.

Stay in Shape with HIIT

High-intensity interval training is a great way to maintain both your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.

Performing these exercises at your highest capacity with minimal rest has been shown to result in a high level of aerobic and anaerobic fitness gains.

Plus, you can target all of your major muscle groups with exercises like push-ups, squats, and plank workouts.

This allows you to combine both strength training and cardio in one quick workout.

While HIIT may seem intimidating at first, these workouts can be tailored to any level of fitness.

The Fit Mother Project also has an abundance of resources and workouts that utilize HIIT training. So get started today with some of these awesome HIIT workouts for women!

Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on HIIT workouts for women.

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