10 of the Best HIIT Exercises for Any Fitness Goal

Not everyone likes cardio, but fortunately, you don't have to do endless amounts of it to accomplish your weight loss goals! You can lift weights and sprinkle in a few cardio sessions a week, like HIIT!

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, it consists of alternating periods of short bursts of high-intensity exercise with short periods of recovery. This setup allows you to burn more calories in a short amount of time! Besides being great for fat loss, it is also great for building and maintaining muscle and it's time efficient. With HIIT you're able to tailor your workout to the amount of time you have and your goals.

To make the most out of your HIIT session you want to make sure you pick the best exercises for your goals. To help, we've gathered a list of the best HIIT exercises for weight loss, building muscle, or endurance. We've also made sure to include a few exercise that require no equipment that way you can create quick and effective HIIT workouts at home – let's get started!

Kettlebell swings

This is one of the best exercises to include in your HIIT routine! It's great at getting your heart-rate up, it's low impact, and it works your muscles in your upper and lower body. Anyone can benefit from this intense exercise!

How to do it:

  1. Stand shoulder-width apart and place a kettlebell on the floor slightly in front of you and between your feet.
  2. Bend slightly at the knees and focus on hinging mainly at the hips to grasp the kettlebell.
  3. Pull it back between your legs to create momentum, then drive your hips forward and straighten your back to send the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
  4. Let it return back between your legs and then repeat the movement.

Jump rope

Jump roping is no longer just for children! Believe it or not, jump roping makes for an excellent fat burning exercise – making it perfect for HIIT! Aside from helping you break a sweat, jump roping helps tone your leg muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright holding one end of a jump rope in each hand, you should be standing in front of it so the rest of the rope is behind you.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your body and your arms bent at about 90 degrees out to your sides.
  3. Begin to swing the rope over your head and down toward your feet in front of you, jumping over it.
  4. Continue jumping until the time is up.

Lateral lunge with hop

If you want to work on building a stronger lower body, lunges should be a go-to on leg day or for your HIIT workouts at home since it requires no equipment. This variation works your inner and outer thighs, plus adding a hop helps increase your heart rate!

How to do it:

  1. Take a big lateral step to the side with your right foot, and bend the right knee so you shift your weight to that foot. Lower down into a lateral lunge.
  2. From that position, use your quads and hamstring to explosively hop back in and drive your right knee towards your chest so that you're jumping straight up.
  3. Repeat the movement on the other side.

Bear crawls

Work your upper and lower body using no equipment by incorporating this killer exercise in your workout. This is an excellent bodyweight mobility exercise that targets your shoulders, quads, and core.

How to do it:

  1. Start on all fours. Lift your knees so that they are hovering an inch off the ground at a 90-degree angle. Make sure that your back is flat, arms are shoulder-width apart, and legs hip-width apart.
  2. Begin by moving your left hand and right foot forward at an equal distance. Try to stay low to the ground as you move.
  3. Switch sides, moving the opposite hand and foot. Keep repeating the movement, going forward and backward.

Skater jumps

This is a great cardio exercise to include in your HIIT workout because it also helps build muscle throughout your lower body. With good form it'll help activate your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Begin to shift your weight to your right foot, bend your right knee, and then push through your foot to jump to your left.
  3. When you land on your left foot, cross your right foot behind you as you lower your until your left thigh is parallel to the floor.
  4. Pause for a moment and then repeat the movement to your left, pushing off with your left foot and landing on your right foot.

Jump squats

You can add regular bodyweight squats to your HIIT workout, but you can take it up a notch by adding a jump to it. This will help really fire up your glutes and other leg muscles while helping you burn more calories.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, head up, and arms by your side.
  2. Go into a squat position, keeping your back straight and chest up. Squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Press on the balls of your feet and jump up as high as possible.
  4. Once you touch the floor, immediately get into a squat position and jump again.

Plank jacks

Planks are already a great intense exercise that challenges your core, but adding a little jumping movement will take it to the next level and help you burn more calories!

How to do it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with ankles close together.
  2. Make sure your core is engaged, and your body is forming a straight light from your head to heels.
  3. With your core and other muscles engaged, jump both feet out wide and then back together.


Everyone knows and loves (or hates) the classic burpee! Even if you hate it, you can't deny it's a great calorie and fat burning exercise that works your entire body.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing tall with your feet together. Then begin to lower your body into a squat and place your hands on the ground and directly in front of your feet.
  2. Keep your core tight as you jump back. Jump back far enough so that you are fully extended and in a push-up position. Do not let your butt stick up in the air.
  3. Then jump your feet back up to your hands and jump up off the ground.

Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are another classic exercise you probably did in school during gym class. It only requires your body, but it really has you working up a sweat while working your entire body – from your shoulders all the way to your hamstrings and quads!

How to do it:

  1. Get into a plank position, making sure your wrists are stacked beneath your shoulders and body in a straight line.
  2. Step your right foot to the inside of your right palm. Jump your right foot back to plank position.
  3. Do the same on the left side, and continue alternating in quick succession.


For those who can't do high-impact exercises that requires jumping, walkouts (along with kettlebell swings and bear crawls) are an excellent alternative! This low impact exercise gets your heart rate pumping while working various muscles in your upper and lower body.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend forward towards your feet, and then walk your hands forward, one in front of the other, until you're in a high plank.
  3. Pause for a few seconds during the plank before walking hands back to feet.

There you have it! Now you can create different HIIT workouts for weight loss, muscle-building or whatever your specific goal is. All you have to do is pick your favorite exercises from our list, pick how many rounds you want to do, and most importantly, give it your all!

Not sure how to build a HIIT workout or prepare for one?

Read our article How to Prepare for HIIT Workouts Like a Pro to learn how to create the perfect HIIT workout with the exercises above. Plus, get tips on how to prepare so you give your HIIT workout your maximum energy!

10 of the Best HIIT Exercises for Any Fitness Goal