If you're struggling to find workouts that are fast, fun, simple to follow, and effective, look no further. I've designed six total body HIIT home workout routines for women that you can do in your living room with little to no equipment and in just 10-40 minutes. These are the workout routines that I personally do to achieve the above results. Give em a shot and let me know what you think!
There are really only two reasons for not working out. One reason is physical incapability. Like, injuries, medical issues, illness, etc. The other is if society has completely broken down into a dystopian state, like in "The Road" or "Hunger Games." Then I would just advise conserving your energy for survival and escaping roving bands of haggard and yellow-toothed cannibals.
In my experience, the most effective form of exercise you can accomplish in the shortest amount of time is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Basically, it means you do as many reps as you can of an intense exercise for a short burst of time with very short rest periods in between exercises. Numerous studies have proven that HIIT improves your cardiovascular function, increases your body's ability to produce energy, boosts fat burn, and increases EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), which is when your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate after you're done exercising. All types of exercise have these benefits, but HIIT can accomplish the same levels of improvement with a much shorter time investment. (Think 20-30 minutes of HIIT instead of an hour long run!) Additionally, I've designed these HIIT workouts to include strength exercises to build muscle.
So! As long as you're not sick or hurt and the White House hasn't been burned to the ground by aliens, let's get moving!
Oh, but I can hear your tiny but insistent voices right now. "Wait," you're calling, "Wait! I can't work out at home because I don't have time, fancy equipment, or enough room. I live above people, I can't do any jumping, I don't want to buy a bunch of DVDs, I don't have any childcare, home workouts are too easy, I'm a beginner and everything's too hard, I have no idea what to do, or what days to do it on, or how often to do it! So...I can't work out."
Before last year I'd never set even one toe in a gym. I'd never really been able to afford a membership and was intimidated by the equipment anyway. I built my fitness from the ground up in my chilly, dim basement in Pittsburgh, PA on a threadbare rug I got from the remnant store.
I planked while my dog licked my face. I ran upstairs hundreds of times when the baby monitor squawked. I squeezed my workouts in morning, noon, and night. I sweated while single, married, sad, happy, pregnant, not pregnant, injured, sick, fat, skinny, muscly, flabby, while one baby was napping, while two babies were napping, while one baby was napping and the other one was "helping".
Bottom Line: I know what you're going through trying to get into shape. And I can help.
I've designed six HIIT home workout routines for women and included a two week workout planner to give you an idea of how often you might want to exercise.
Yoga or Long Stretch
Yoga or Long Stretch
Each video is about ten minutes long. Each series has 8-15 exercises. Most of the time we'll work for 50 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between exercises. Note: IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS TAKE YOUR RESTS. Take those 10 seconds to breathe, reset, sip water, and recover enough to give it your all during the next exercise. If 10 seconds isn't enough rest for you, just take more and join me in the next exercise when you can.
I've got all cardio, all strength, cardio/strength, ab focused, arm focused, and booty/legs focused. You can do these videos once through or complete the round as many times as you can manage with a one minute rest in between. Don't forget to take your rests! I'll mention my recommendations for how many times to complete the round in the beginning of each video. You can also combine the vids for a specific focus or a total body burn.
These videos need very little space or equipment. They're short, so you can squeeze them in almost anytime. I've included modifications for beginners, intermediate, and advanced exercisers. If you want low impact, or can't make noise on your floor, there's a blistering workout just for you.
Heavy Weights? Hell, No!
Lots of women are scared of the term, "building muscle." They don't want to look manly or bulky. But the opposite is actually true. Muscle helps you lose weight without eating less, prevents injury, increases bone density, and gives you a youthful and firm appearance. (Here's a great article outlining the benefits of gaining muscle in greater depth.)
A Girl and Her Living Room
These are the nuts and bolts workouts that I personally do to keep up my level of fitness. They're nothing fancy! I love to work out at home. You can squeeze your workout in any time and no one cares what you look like. You can make crazy faces and sweat in yo undypants. I don't have a lot of equipment or space, so that's how we're gonna roll.
What You Need
- Weights: We're using a pair of light weights and heavy weights. I'm using a pair of 5 lb and 20 lb dumbbells because that's what I've got. But it's important that you use the weight that is appropriate for YOU. If you're using a heavy weight always use caution. Keep your core engaged at all times to protect your back. If you feel like the weight is too heavy, don't try and push through it! Go lighter until you're strong enough to heavy up.
- Mat: For comfort and cushioning. If you have carpet you might not need one.
- Sliders: These are only necessary for the Silent Total Body Shred and Legs. You can also modify a lot of the plyometric moves in the other workouts to be low impact if you use sliders. You can buy actual sliders or you can use a number of things. If you have carpet you can use plastic plates, a big salad lid cut in half, furniture movers, a magazine cover, etc. If you have hardwood floors you can use washcloths, old t-shirts, or wear really shaggy socks.
- Chair: The chair is only used once to do tricep dips. If you don't have one you can just do them on the floor. NBD. But who doesn't have a chair at home? That would just be weird. Actually, if you're living somewhere and you don't have any chairs, call me and I'll hook you up. Sitting down is amazing.
Wait, How Does it Work?
HIIT is pretty intense. If it feels too hard on your body to do these workouts at these frequencies, you can always sub in a long slow run for a workout. It's important to do that every so often anyway. Endurance is an important facet of fitness. If there are too many rest days for you, try jogging, bike riding, hiking, spinning, aerobics, etc. on those days, but try something less extreme than HIIT. And these are just suggestions. Try combining the workouts to mix it up.
Don't Overdo It
Always make sure and give your muscles a day of rest when you've worked them really hard. For example, if you do Heavy Total Body Strength (which has a lot of arm work) don't do Defined Arms the next day. Your body needs time to rest and repair. If you overtrain you risk injuring yourself or burning out and wasting your time. Don't ignore the yoga or stretching either. Flexibility is just as important as strength and burn to ensure good form, build fitness, and protect yourself from injury. If you experience sore muscles, try foam rolling to ease the discomfort and promote tissue repair.
- Always warm up on your own before we start.
- Afterward, cool down and give your muscles a good stretch and/or foam roll, focusing on the areas we worked.
- Stay hydrated! Always have water handy to sip on during the workout and always drink lots of water throughout the day, every day.
- Always take your 10 second and minute long rests! If you need to rest more, do it.
- Eat clean! You're never gonna see results if you have a bad diet. Focus on whole, organic foods and keep it clean! If you're looking for a great post workout (PWO) meal, check out these smoothie recipes designed by a holistic nutritional specialist. The green smoothie is something I personally eat every single day after my own workouts.
- If you ever feel sick or dizzy that means you've reached your max. If that happens, stop exercising and walk slowly around the room while sipping on some juice until you feel better. Then cool down, stretch, and call it a day. If it happens, don't be hard on yourself. You'll build up your endurance soon enough.
That's it! Let's Get Started!
1. Silent Total Body Shred
This is a cardio centric workout that incorporates all the major muscle groups from head to toe. We're using the sliders during this one so the entire series is silent and low impact. If you don't have sliders I'll show you modifications for jumping during the video. Try this one 4 times through if you can!
Equipment: Sliders, Mat, Light Weights, Heavy Weights, Chair
- Power Jacks
- Tricep Dips/Tricep Push-Ups
- Slider Burpees with Wide Legs
- Side Squat/Lunge
- Slider Lunge Jumps
- Delt Raises
- Air Squats
- Slider Burpee/2 Push-Ups/4 Jacks
- Concentrated Bicep Curls
This series is totally ab focused. It also has a good amount of cardio because the key to great abs is a low body fat percentage. This is one of my favorites and I do it all the time. We're hitting the inner and outer layers of muscle in your core, obliques, and your low back. Remember, your core isn't just your front body. To have a strong, balanced, defined mid-section you need to work all the muscle groups. Try it to repeat it 3 times.
- Mountain Climbers
- Double Leg Lift and Lower
- Tuck Jumps
- Elbow to Knee and Side Plank Raises-Right
- High Knees
- Elbow to Knee and Side Plank Raises-Left
- Push-Ups and Floor Jacks
- Russian Twist
- Power Kicks
- Upper Body Lifts/Swimmers
3. Booty/Lean Legs
This one is a monster. Get ready to feel a crazy burn in every inch of those gams. Your legs are home to some of the largest muscle groups so you're gonna feel out of breath even when we're working slow strength. We'll hit quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves for that lean, defined look. You'll need to do this one twice because we'll work the right leg in the video. Then go back and repeat the whole sequence using your left leg.
Equipment: Sliders, Light Weights, Heavy Weights, Mat
- Hammer Lunge and Knee Pull
- Weighted Lateral Sumo Squats
- Squat Jumps
- Weighted Low Lunges
- Line Taps
- Single Leg Deadlifts
- Hamstring Curls
- Lunge Jumps
- Single Leg Slider Squats
4. Pure Cardio
All day, sweaty calorie funeral! The goal here is to get completely breathless. This one is tough but do your best to crush it. This is a great series to add onto any of the other strength focused workouts to include a calorie burning blast that'll keep going long after you're done almost barfing. Take a selfie of you and your #sweatpool and tag me on Instagram (@this_fit_mom). Try repeating this one 3 times. P.S. my youngest son makes a cameo!
- Skip-Up and Lunge
- Jump 3 and Switch
- Shuffle Drop
- One Arm Burpees
- Sumo Squat and Side Kick
- Jump Lunge and Ski
- Jab Cross Reach Pull
- Line Taps
- Half Time High Knees with Upper Twist
- Plie Jumps
5. Defined Arms
This series is a little different from the others. We're going to do 8 rounds. Before each exercise, instead of resting, we're going to repeat a string of arms movements. Then, we'll perform each exercise for 30 seconds.
We'll start the series with one push-up, one biceps curl, one anterior shoulder raise, and one triceps overhead press. Then we'll do exercise 1, which is a Triceps Hold, for 30 seconds. Now we're on Round 2. So we'll complete 2 push-ups, 2 biceps curls, 2 anterior raises, and 2 triceps overhead presses. The we'll do Exercise 2, which is Half Triceps, for 30 seconds. Now we're on Round 3, and so on. As we progress through the series, we'll add one rep onto the string until you're completing 8 reps each of the push-up, biceps, raise, and triceps. Trust me, it starts out easy but quickly gets pretty intense.
There is very little cardio in this one, but I guarantee you'll be out of breath. We'll be working our shoulders, biceps, triceps, and a good deal of core. This is also a low impact workout and perfect for times when you need to keep the thumping to a minimum. This would be a great add on to the Pure Cardio or any of the other workouts. Try doing this one 2-3 times.
Equipment: Light Weights, Heavy Weights, Mat
One Rep of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 1. Tricep Hold
Two Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 2. 1/2 Triceps
Three Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 3. Forearm to Hand Plank
Four Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 4. Fast Feet with Shoulder Press Pulses
Five Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 5. Swings
Six Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 6. Push-Ups With Rotation
Seven Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 7. Rear Delt Pulses
Eight Reps of Push-Ups, Biceps, Raise, Triceps
Exercise 8. Rear Delt Flys
6. Heavy Strength
This series uses heavier weights and slow controlled movements to build muscle for increased calorie burn and a strong, lean appearance. If you're worried about getting man-arms or bulking, please see the above paragraph about being scared of muscle. Make sure your weight is heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you're working with bad form. You may need to switch dumbbell sizes for each exercise. Remember, go slow and be patient with yourself. It is NOT badass to overdo it and hurt yourself. If you can, it's always incredibly helpful to perform the exercises in front of a mirror so you can check your form. You can get a cheap full length mirror from Target for $6. Worth every penny. Try completing this series twice.
Equipment: Light Weights, Heavy Weights, Mat
- Curtsey Lunges with Shoulder Press
- Lat Rows
- 4 Count Resting Low Lunges
- 3 Way Delt Lifts
- Squats with Pulses
- Renegade Rows
- Forward Leaning Lunges
- Chest Fly and Press
- Lunges with Hammer Curls
- 1/2 Tricep Lifts
- Sumo Walks
- Wall Sits
- Sit-Ups to Side Planks
- Hand and Knees Glute Presses
Related on Organic Authority
Images: Cory Patterson Photography
Videos: Sarah Olive Bergeson
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