Our Favourite HIIT Exercises at Home When We Can’t Get to Class

by Estelle Low
FITNESS  |  March 19, 2020
  • Work up a sweat at home - yes you can
    1 / 11 Work up a sweat at home - yes you can

    If you are working from home or avoiding public areas such as gyms due to Covid-19, or unfortunately (and ICFBI) didn’t get into the HIIT class you were waitlisted for, it’s time to realise the beauty of home workouts. We are referring to exercises you can do in the confines of your home ~any time~. Yasss, no mad rush to book into class and fumble with lockers and shoes.

    All you need for a good sweat at home is an exercise mat (to provide grip and cushion your joints), a timer or timer app (to stay accountable), and a couple of free weights to up the intensity, if you wish.

    For a 25-minute workout, do all 10 of these exercises for 30 seconds each, resting 15 seconds between each exercise. Repeat for three sets, with 60 seconds of rest between each set. Feel free to skip some exercises to shorten the duration. As some of the exercises (eg. high knees and burpees) are considered high-impact, don’t forget to put on a high-support sports bra.

    Photos: 123rf.com

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  • High knees (cardio)
    2 / 11 High knees (cardio)

    High knees will rev up your heart rate in a jiffy.

    Run on the spot, bringing knees to hip height and swinging your arms with each step for more power.

    Scale down: Jog on the spot.

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  • Lunges (lower body)
    3 / 11 Lunges (lower body)

    Lunges are great for sculpting your butt and thighs; they also improve stability in your core and ankles.

    From standing position, take a big step forward with right leg. Bend both knees at 90 degrees, with left knee hovering a few centimetres above ground, toes pointing forward. Front knee should not go beyond toes. Keep body upright. Step back and lunge forward with left knee to complete one rep.

    Scale up: Hold a weight in each hand as you lunge, or add on bicep curls.

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  • Push-ups (upper body)
    4 / 11 Push-ups (upper body)

    Push-ups are great for working your chest, arms and upper back.

    Get into high plank, hands under shoulders and toes under ankles. Inhale, bend elbows 45 degrees from your ribs, and lower body as close to ground as possible while keeping body straight. Squeezing the glutes and traps (the muscles between your shoulder blades) helps. Exhale as you push up to complete one rep.

    Scale down: Do push-ups with knees on ground.

    (Also read: How to Do Proper Man Push-Ups)

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  • Bicycle crunches (core)
    5 / 11 Bicycle crunches (core)

    Instead of standard crunches, do this to target your obliques (side abdominals) as well.

    In lying-down position, lift shoulder blades off ground, twist torso to the left as you bring left knee in towards chest. Switch sides, twisting to the right as you bring right knee in towards chest. That’s one rep. Keep alternating, and focus on activating the abs instead of swinging arms or elbows.

    (Also read: 6 Exercises That Tone Your Tummy More Effectively Than Sit-Ups)

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  • Burpees (cardio)
    6 / 11 Burpees (cardio)

    Done swiftly and continuously, burpees are a real explosive exercise, firing up the whole body in seconds.

    From standing position, bend knees and lower palms to floor, directly under shoulders. Jump legs back into high plank. Do a push-up, then jump back to squat position. Immediately jump up, extending hands overhead. That’s one rep.

    (Also read: How to Do A Perfect Burpee – And Mistakes to Avoid)

    Scale up: Do a tuck jump as you rise.

    Scale down: Omit the push-up and/or jump.

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  • Squats (lower body)
    7 / 11 Squats (lower body)

    Squats are an everyday movement that helps with hip mobility and strengthening the butt and thighs.

    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards. Bend knees and send hips back as though you’re sitting down. Most of your weight should be on the heels. Try to lower hips to the same height as your knees. Keep chest upright and tailbone tucked in at all times. Return to standing position to complete one rep. (Also read: The Right Way to Do Squat Exercises)

    Scale up: Hold a weight as you squat.

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  • Deadlifts (lower body)
    8 / 11 Deadlifts (lower body)

    Deadlifts are basically what you do when you bend down to pick up an object with a slight bend in the knees. They target your hips, hamstrings, butt and core, while building overall strength.

    Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Fold forward at hips to pick up a 5kg to 10kg weight – it could be a kettlebell, dumbbells or a sack of rice. Keep back straight and shoulders pulled back as you hinge from the hips and return to standing position with weight in hands. Reverse move to return weight to ground. That’s one rep.

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  • Plank (core)
    9 / 11 Plank (core)

    Planks are proof that you don’t need to move to feel the burn. And that 30 seconds can feel like forever.

    Rest forearms on ground, elbows under shoulders. Raise body off ground so you form a straight line from neck to ankles, with toes under heels. Engage the whole body, especially the shoulders, butt and legs. Keep neck relaxed as you look between your hands. Hold this position without letting hips hike or sink.

    Scale up: Do these plank variations.

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  • Mountain climbers (cardio)
    10 / 11 Mountain climbers (cardio)

    Another full-body exercise we love, mountain climbers are especially good for core strength and stability.

    Get into high plank, hands directly under shoulders. Engaging back, arms, shoulders, glutes and hamstrings, bring left knee in towards chest with a focus on contracting the abs. Return to plank and switch sides to complete one rep. Continue alternating for as fast as you can while keeping torso level throughout – imagine balancing a glass of water on your back. Avoid letting hips hike, sink or wobble.

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  • Bridge (lower body)
    11 / 11 Bridge (lower body)

    Looking deceptively easy, the bridge will tone your booty while letting your heart rate recover.

    Lie down and bend knees, feet on ground hip-width apart. Scoop pelvis in so your whole back is in contact with the ground. Squeeze glutes and lift hips up till pelvic bones are in line with knees. Hold.

    Scale up: Lift and extend one leg towards ceiling as you hold the bridge. Switch sides halfway through.

    (Also read: 6 Low-Impact HIIT Workouts For Those With Bad Knees)


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