Who wouldn’t want to burn fat and get ripped, toned muscles? Unfortunately, with the fast-paced day to day of modern life, you can’t always dedicate hours in the gym with heavy weights and large exercise machines to accomplish these goals. However, what if we tell you the best workout routine won’t even last for an hour? Enter high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
This form of exercise is vastly popular among the fitness community. HIIT workouts are ideal for those who want to build muscles, lose weight, and get in better shape, but are short on time.
If you’re looking for the best HIIT workouts for men, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about high-intensity interval training exercises. Jump start your fitness journey with HIIT workouts you can do at the gym or at the comforts of your own home.
What Are HIIT Workouts?
What exactly is HIIT? High-intensity interval training, or more commonly referred to as HIIT, involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by even shorter recovery periods. Typical HIIT workout routines consist of people doing full-effort exercises for 30 to 60 seconds, then followed by shorter periods of rest. From there, you repeat this cycle for around 20 to 45 minutes.
Full body HIIT workouts are perfect for those looking to shed fat and put on muscles. There are several routines that you can follow that don’t require any gym equipment. However, to get the best benefits of HIIT workouts, you can also include equipment like dumbbells, a kettlebell, or even a jump rope. You can use the best gym equipment like a stationary bike or a treadmill for your HIIT routine, as well.
Benefits Of HIIT Workouts
Burn More Calories
Any type of exercise will help you lose fat. A typical HIIT workout burns roughly the same amount of calories as any other cardio workout. However, with HIIT cardio workouts you continue to burn calories even after the workout has ended. This phenomenon is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).
EPOC occurs when your body continues to consume oxygen at an elevated rate — for example, right after an intense workout session. Thus, this leads to your body to burn more calories, even after your workout. What’s more, this process can also boost your metabolic rate.
Build More Lean Muscles
Aside from burning fat, HIIT is also an excellent choice for muscle development. This workout plan involves several exercises done at full effort. In order to execute them all properly, the muscle in your body must work harder than usual. This allows you to target specific muscle groups by curating exercises to include.
You don’t need specific equipment for HIIT workouts. But including more resistance like weights and higher number of repetitions, you can strengthen and build more muscle mass. Take note though, that you can’t rely solely on HIIT if you want to get rid of chest fat and gain a rock-hard chest. You will still need to lift weights. Nevertheless, it’s the perfect substitute if you’re short on time.
HIIT workouts are arguably the most time-efficient ways to burn calories. You get incredible health benefits in a short amount of time. A “low-volume” 20 minute HIIT workout thrice a week provides similar effects as the recommended 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity per week set by the World Health Organization.
A study published in the Journal of Physiology determined that low-volume HIIT workouts, as short as 20 minutes, including warm-ups and cooldowns, yield comparable improvements to the current guidelines. This is despite it requiring significantly less time.
Seeing as most people cannot afford to spend hours exercising because of other commitments, HIIT is the perfect solution! Who wouldn’t want a full body workout that takes less time than your lunch break? On top of that, since you’re getting in your needed exercise in a condensed amount of time, you will also have more time for more important things.
HIIT workouts are a great form of exercise to include in your routine if you want to lose weight and gain muscles. Asides from weight loss and muscle gain, HIIT workouts have significant effects on your overall health, too.
Regular sessions can be immensely beneficial for your cardiorespiratory system. This is because of the transitions from exerting your body at maximum intensity to resting. When your body is moving at full effort, it is using oxygen. However, when you are resting, your body is using stored energy instead. This cycle helps your body process oxygen more efficiently.
On top of that, regular HIIT sessions can also lower both your blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
HIIT Workouts For Beginners
If you’re a novice when it comes to this form of workouts, it’s best to choose movements you are comfortable with. Despite having “high-intensity” in the acronym, you are free to start off slow. It’s best to pace yourself and gradually build up to overdrive. This gives your body a chance to get used to the HIIT routine. It also helps reduce muscle soreness and lessens any risks of injury.
Here are the best HIIT workouts for men you can start off with as a beginner.
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the benefits that the humble push-up offers. Even the most basic form of this exercise already packs a punch. Traditional push-ups are already a fantastic exercise if you want to improve your upper body strength. They target your pectoral muscles, more commonly known as pecs, triceps, and shoulders, too.
Push-ups have been a mainstay in the fitness community for years. They are fast, effective, and don’t require any equipment. What’s more, you can do them from virtually anywhere. Thus, they’re the perfect at home HIIT workout. You just need enough room for your body length on the floor.
To perform basic push-ups, position yourself in a high plank with your feet together behind you and palms flat on the mat, arms fully extended. Lower your body to the floor, making sure to keep your core tight and back straight. Press upward with your arms to push yourself back into the starting position and repeat.
If you find it difficult to keep this position with your legs extended, feel free to start on your knees instead. Just make sure that your weight is still on your upper body.
Another exercise found in most workout programs that are ideal for an at home HIIT workout is the sit-up. Sit-ups mostly focus on your core, making them the ideal exercise to incorporate into your routine if you’re working on your Adonis belt. Asides from your core, they target multiple muscle groups, as well. These include your chest, hips, lower back, and neck.
The reason sit ups are so popular is that they are simple and effective. To execute this exercise, lie on your back on top of a workout mat. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Check if your feet, knees and hips are aligned. Now, exhale as you lift your upper body towards your thighs, to a sitting position. Inhale as you make your way down back to the starting position.
For your hands and arms, you can clasp your fingers at the base of your skull. You can also cross your forearms in front of your chest, or just place your palms down alongside your body.
3. Forward Lunges
Courtesy: Dr. Luke Sniewski YouTube Channel
Forward lunges are the best beginner level exercises you can include in your HIIT workouts at home or at the gym. They are even easy to sneak in when you’re out for a run.
Lunges are the ideal exercise if you want to improve your lower body strength. They work your hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. They are one of the best glute exercises out there, too.
By strengthening your lower body, you are also preparing yourself for more difficult workout routines.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms on your hips. Take a step forward with one foot until your leg’s bent in a 90-degree angle. If you can, lightly tap the knee of your other leg to the floor. Remember to keep the weight directed onto your bent leg. Return to the starting position. From here you can either repeat the movement with the same leg or alternate with the other.
Courtesy: Mind Body Soul YouTube Channel
Similar to sit-ups, crunches also focus on your core. The main difference between the two is that crunches offer muscle isolation towards your abdominal muscles. Thus, they are perfect for those who want rock-hard abs. When done right, crunches work your oblique, and lower back muscles, as well.
Crunches start off similarly to sit-ups, with you on the ground, feet on the ground and knees bent. Place your hands behind your head, but don’t lace your fingers together. Alternatively, you can cross your forearms against your chest. Tilt your chin towards your chest, leaving a few inches of space in-between.
From here, lift your entire torso from the ground, exhaling as you rise. Hold for a moment before lowering yourself back down, inhaling as you do.
5. Jumping Jacks
Courtesy: HIIT Academy YouTube Channel
If you’re looking for HIIT cardio workouts for men at home, you can never go wrong with jumping jacks. This exercise is a full-body workout you can do virtually anywhere. Whether you’re doing a HIIT workout at home or at the gym, there’s surely space for good-ole jumping jacks.
This exercise offers major benefits to your cardiovascular system. They work to keep your heart rate up, as well as increase blood circulation throughout your body. Both your lungs and muscles also benefit from this cardio workout.
To perform this exercise, stand straight with your back and legs straight, too. Your arms should be at your side. Jump up and spread your legs sideways, wider than shoulders. Raise your hands all the way from your side to above your head in the process. Now, return to your starting position by jumping again, lowering your arms back down to your side and legs together.
6. High Knees
Courtesy: Jenny Schatzle YouTube Channel
High knees are full-body exercises perfect for HIIT cardio workouts. They help strengthen your leg muscles and core. On top of that, they also improve your coordination and flexibility.
Start off by jogging in place and gradually increase speed as you go. Remember to keep your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your right knee up above your waist. Switch to your left leg, returning the right leg to the ground. Raise your left leg above waist height, as well.
Keep your elbows bent as you swing your arms back and forth as you lift your legs.
HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss
7. Butt Kicks
Courtesy: PFITtv YouTube Channel
Butt kicks or bum kicks are a warm-up exercise popular among the running community and other athletes. But they can be easily included in HIIT cardio workouts. Butt kicks are great for strengthening your hamstrings, as well as your glutes and quads. This cardiovascular exercise is also an excellent way to get your heart rate up, which is an essential part of burning calories.
Begin by standing tall with your feet apart and arms at your sides. Slowly lift your right foot back all the way up to your glutes. Bring your right foot down and repeat with the left side. Repeat this motion while gradually building speed until it feels like you’re running in place.
8. Jumping Lunges
Courtesy: Combat Fit YouTube Channel
Lunges in general are excellent exercises for weight loss and balance improvement. But jumping lunges bump up the intensity by adding, well, a jump. Asides from these, they also engage multiple muscle groups in your lower body. Jumping lunges work your quads, hips, and glutes. Both your dynamic stability and coordination greatly benefit from this jumping exercise, as well.
If you want to add this exercise to your HIIT cardio workouts, begin by taking your left leg back. Your weight should be focused on the ball of your foot. Sink down into a deep lunge position by bending your knees. Your right foot should be flat on the floor in front of you.
From here you’re going to jump up explosively and switch legs mid-air. This allows you to land back down in a lunge position with your left leg in front. Use your arms to help you with this movement and make sure to switch your arm’s position as well. Note to keep your core muscles tight and shoulders back during this exercise.
Make sure that you land on your entire front foot on the floor. Avoid putting too much stress on your knees as well.
Many people have a love-hate relationship with burpees. But they are still an effective exercise to include in your HIIT workouts for weight loss. They are a calisthenics exercise that provides a full-body workout, which rely only on your body weight for resistance. Burpees also target the muscles in your arms, shoulders, legs, chest, hips, and abdomen. Other benefits of burpees include improved blood flow and cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure levels, and even lowers the risk of heart disease.
Despite all the benefits you can reap, though, many still aren’t the biggest fans of burpees. The reason is simply because they are too challenging. But then again, “no pain, no gain.” Don’t worry, though, there are several modifications you can do for easier burpees for beginners.
The simplest way to do a burpee is by doing a pushup on the ground. Once you get to the top of a pushup, jump to your feet into a deep squat and jump right back up. From here, lower yourself back down until you’re back to your starting position.
Burpees aren’t always the kindest to beginners. It’s best to familiarize yourself with it first before you amp up the intensity.
10. Mountain Climbers
Courtesy: Pro Gym Workout YouTube Channel
Mountain climbers are another great exercise to include in HIIT workouts for weight loss. They can easily get your heart rate racing fast while working several muscle groups at once.
To execute this exercise, begin by getting into a plank position on the floor. Pull your right knee towards your chest. In one smooth motion, without letting it touch the floor, switch and pull your left knee into your chest. Repeat alternating between both knees, speeding up each time.
As you continue to do this, remember to check your form. Be sure to keep your spine neutral, hands shoulder-distance apart, and core tight.
11. Jump Squats
Courtesy: Howcast YouTube Channel
Jump squats are relatively straightforward exercises. But don’t underestimate them, though. They sure do pack a punch, especially during HIIT workouts when you’re doing them at full force. Jump squats target your core, leg muscles, and glutes.
Begin by standing tall with your feet apart, roughly about hip wide. Get into a regular squat position with your knees bent and buttocks out. Jump up explosively as high as you can and when you land, instantly drop back down into the squat position. Easy, right?
There are a few things you need to keep in mind, though. Make sure your shoulders don’t overshoot your knees when you jump. It’s also important to bend slightly forward to avoid straining on your lower back.
12. Spiderman Push-ups
Courtesy: Precision Movement
We’ve tackled the basic push-ups earlier. Now, for more advanced HIIT workouts for men, we go into Spiderman push-ups. Learning how to do Spiderman push-ups won’t give you spider senses. Unlike traditional push-ups, though, this variation targets more muscles. With Spiderman push-ups, you’re not only getting a core and upper body workout. You’re also actively engaging your hip flexor muscles.
To perform this HIIT exercise, start by getting into a pushup position, but place your hands wider than usual. They should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower yourself in a pushup and lift your right foot from the ground, bring your right knee close to your right elbow. Drive back up to the starting position, switch to your left knee, and repeat the motion. Continue switching between your right and left knees.
Again, be wary of your form. Keep your spine neutral and core engaged. Both of these two will help you avoid any potential back pain or injury.
Planks are notorious within the fitness community. But it’s fairly common to find them in almost every HIIT routine. This is because the plank is the king when it comes to building core strength. The plank also works your shoulders and legs too.
If you want to learn how to plank, begin by getting to the top of a push-up position. Tuck your toes under, with your knees off the workout mat. Keep in mind to engage your glutes and tighten your core. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Similar to jump squats, planks may seem pretty simple. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a straight form and not let your body rotate. Due to this, they are the perfect exercise to include in your HIIT workouts for weight loss.
Build Muscle With HIIT Workouts for Men
Does HIIT build muscle? Unfortunately, even the best HIIT workouts for men won’t bulk you up the same way as specific weightlifting exercises. Nevertheless, if you want to get ripped but short on time, muscle-building HIIT workouts with weights is your answer.
14. Alternating Rope Whips
If you’re no stranger to the gym, you’re probably well acquainted with the heavy equipment made from iron. However, if you’re looking for more dynamic exercises to build lean muscles in your arms, ditch the barbell and cable crossover. Pick up some battle ropes, instead.
Battle rope exercises target your abs, arms, and shoulders. They are the ideal form for workouts if you want to bulk up your upper body. Alternating rope whips or waves are a type of battle rope exercise that’s great for upper-body conditioning. This HIIT workout exercise also works on your quads, grip, lower, and middle back.
Begin standing straight with your feet hip-distance apart and arms to your side. Take a rope in each hand, bending your back slightly forward, and move them up and down at a time. Move the ropes quickly, creating wavelike movements.
15. Goblet Squat
Courtesy: ScottHermanFitness YouTube Channel
Looking for HIIT workouts with weights that will strengthen your lower body? Look no further than the goblet squat. This lower body exercise targets your legs, core, and glutes. It is done with either a dumbbell or a kettlebell.
To perform this lower-body exercise, begin with your feet apart, between hip- and shoulder-width apart. Make sure you angle your toes slightly outward. Hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell with both your hands. If you’re using a dumbbell, grab it vertically with your hands underneath the top of the weight. Bend your elbows and hold the weight against your chest. Keep it in contact with your sternum and stomach.
Begin slowly bending your knees to perform the squat with your torso upright. Try your best to squat down until your elbows touch your knees. Remember to keep your core tight and back flat during this movement. From here, drive your heels into the ground and reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
16. Renegade Rows
A lot of men want bulging biceps, six-pack abs, and a rock-hard chest. But when it comes to working out, you shouldn’t disregard your back. Not only can training your back muscles help alleviate chronic back pain, but it can also help you lift more weights. On top of that, back workouts for men will help improve your posture. And what better way to build bigger and stronger back muscles than renegade rows.
This exercise is perfect to include in your HIIT workouts with weights. All you need for renegade rows is a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells. Take note to err on the side of caution when it comes to the weight of the equipment you’re using. It’s best to start with light weights first.
Now, to execute renegade rows, get into a press-up position with your feet wider than shoulder distance apart. Take a dumbbell in each hand, so your hands are elevated off the ground. Keep your wrist in a neutral position. Brace your body, tighten up your core and row one of the dumbbells upward toward your chest. Lower the dumbbell to the floor, shift your weight to the other side, and repeat with your other arm.
Remember to check your form. Your body shouldn’t be twisting with the movement. It should form a straight line from your head to your toes. Engage your obliques to prevent any movement or twisting of your body.
17. Ab-Wheel Rollouts
Another challenging but effective exercise to include in your HIIT routine is the ab-wheel rollout. At first glance, this core exercise looks simple enough. But it takes a lot of effort to do it correctly. It takes maximum effort from your core muscles to execute ab-wheel rollouts properly. Thus, this leads you to build stronger core muscles, which will lead to better fitness and athletic performance.
Begin by placing an exercise wheel about arm’s reach in front of you. Kneel on a mat with your knees hip-width apart and feet crossed behind you. Grab the handles of the exercise wheel. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. Look straight ahead as you roll the wheel forward with your hands. Your arms and body should straighten out, bringing you to a plank position. Roll out as far as you can and hold the position for a few seconds before reversing the movement.
There are a few things you need to remember about this exercise if you want to include it in your HIIT workouts at home or at the gym. Firstly, keep your back in a neutral position. This exercise should not cause you back pain. If it does, your position and technique are incorrect. Secondly, your pelvis should also be neutral, this will avoid your hips from dropping. Lastly, remember to squeeze your abs when rolling out and back in.
18. Incline Bench Rows
The incline bench row is another excellent weightlifting exercise for the muscles on your back and shoulders. This back workout is also ideal if you want to perfect your row form.
To include this exercise in your HIIT workouts with weights, start by setting up a bench at a 45-degree angle. Lie chest down with a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang down towards the floor. Begin by slowly retracting your shoulder and moving the dumbbell towards your body. Your elbows should be at or just past the midline. Gently lower the dumbbells again, back to the starting position. Switch to your other side and repeat for the desired number of reps.
Remember that your chest and upper torso stay in contact with the bench.
Pull-ups are effective bodyweight exercises for building upper-body strength. Despite being an old-school workout, it isn’t always the easiest thing to master. Don’t fret, though. We have got you covered. Want to learn how to perform the perfect pull-up?
If that’s the case, stand under a pullup bar or any sturdy horizontal bar. We suggest one that you can easily grasp and not one you have to jump to reach. Grab the bar with your palms facing away. Extend your arm about shoulder-width apart. Now, engage your core and keep your shoulders back as you pull yourself upwards toward the bar. Keep your neck relaxed as your body contracts. Pull yourself until your chest and chin clear the bar.
From here, return to the starting position by extending your elbows and lowering your body back down.
20. Bridge with Chest Press
Courtesy: Fitness Pros LLC YouTube Channel
The traditional bench press is a full-body workout that’s a great inclusion to HIIT workouts with weights. Unfortunately, it’s not always the easiest move to execute. Enter the bridge with chest press exercise. This movement is common in HIIT workouts for men and women who want to optimize their bench press form. They will teach you to better engage your glutes and hips, which is something you need in order to graduate to heavier weights when bench pressing.
Unlike the standard bench press, you lay on the floor while doing bridge with chest presses. This limits your range or motion and thus, allows you to focus on heavier weights than the regular press would. Bridges also work your entire lower body.
To begin, grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be about hip-width apart. Lift your hips up off the floor, while squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Hold this position and raise one dumbbell above your shoulder. Make sure to engage your triceps and pecs when at the top. Slowly lower back down your arms and repeat with the other one.
Remember to keep your hips off the floor, maintaining the bridge position throughout the workout. After completing your desired reps, lower your pelvis down to the mat.
Do HIIT Workouts The Right Way
The key to effective HIIT workouts is intensity. This method of exercise is all about maximizing the effects of short but full-effort exercises, with even shorter periods of rest. This cycle of alternating exercise and rest can easily get your heart rate up in no time. Regardless if you’re doing a 10 minute HIIT workout or a 30 minute one, a HIIT routine is an excellent way to burn calories and build lean muscles. There’s really no excuse not to get yourself into shape!
It’s the perfect solution for those who don’t have the time to spend hours in the gym. HIIT exercises also involve low-impact movements, which makes them perfect for those who prefer to do a HIIT workout at home, instead.
In order to reap all the benefits of HIIT, you have to maintain the same level of explosive movement throughout your routine. And while it is safe to incorporate interval workouts in your day-to-day life, it’s best to do them about three to five times a week. This form of workout can easily be too taxing on your body, especially if you’re a beginner.