T Nation

HIIT Workouts


Hey guys just wondering what are some of your favorite HIIT workouts other then just sprints?

Looking to start doing some and have found a few that I like, but wanted to see what you guys have done/seen around the web.

So far I've done:
1) car pushes 20seconds/40seconds rest
2) Jump rope/rope waves 40 seconds on/20 seconds off
3) Sled drags 15 seconds on/30 seconds off
4) boxing and some kettlebell swings.

Any other ideas??


jumping rope for hiit is too easy, unless you are doing double unders.. but even then it doesn't touch hiit for sprints..

the thing is, hiit is supposed to be the most intensity you can muster. to give you an idea of the hiit i have done.. i did tabata sprints, 20 sec on 10 rest.. and these are full on sprints.. i didn't last 4 rounds of that, and was planning on doing 8. i changed to doing sprints with 20 seconds on 90 seconds off. the thing about sprints is it's very easy to know you are at maximum intensity, because you are utterly destroyed by the end of those 20 seconds. this doesn't happen with many other exercises. for jump rope to be that intense, you have to be jumping and swinging like a monkey. i can EASILY do tabata for double unders for AT LEAST 10 rounds.

you really wanna be doing hiit for sprints. thats intensity. doing hiit with weights your gonna pull something, doing it with boxing your gonna have to break your hand to exert maximum intensity.. its just not safe. sprint, to me, is the only REAL hiit. everything else i would call mhiit (moderately high intensity interval training) and go for shorter intervals..

i have tried hiit on a cardio rower and that works pretty well, i have also done cycling.. but again and again, its all about the hiit sprints. they suck, i hate them, i NEVER wanna do them and always regret doing them. sprints. ok im done.


I disagree. I've found that pushing a small car, sledgehammering a tire, and sled work all have me just as winded as I am when I sprint.

Not saying that sprinting is bad or anything, I just like to change it up a bit.


i haven't done any of those things.. but try 20 sec on 10 sec off for sprints.. see how many rounds you can get.. and then try those other activities and see how many rounds you can get. personally.. based on all the kinds of hiit activities i have tried.. sprints are the only one i can truly do an all out 100% cardiovascular exertion. for everything else, there is always a factor that gets in the way of me being able to do that.


and i would disagree with you here.. i think sprinting IS bad. bad as in sucky, shitty, hard... but it's the god of all cardio.. it reigns supreme. its like pullups, squats, or deads. everybody should be focusing on it.

its all about sprints. as much as i hate sprints. fuck changing it up, it should be a focal point..

theres my opinion.


Ya, I'll be sure to take you up on that 20s sprint 10 sec off. I don't doubt for a second it will be tough.

Like I said though, I enjoy doing different workouts. :slightly_smiling:


My experience [ as a UK Masters 100m/220m sprinter ] for HIIT - at our club, on the track , one very effective HIIT protocol is : Racing start, sprint all -out 25m, decelerate [ which typically lasts about 3 seconds ], turn round jog back SLOWLY towards the 25m mark, role-in to another 25m max effort sprint, turn round, repeat for a total of 8 runs.

So you have sprinted 200m , but the near-constant acceleration/decel is very energy sapping, so , if timed by an observer, your 25m time will drop off by around 7-10 per cent by rep 8 - the performance drop-off is a good thing, just maintain the very high intensity. Walk 400m slowly, and do again, number of sets according to your fitness level.

Or, continuous 400m laps, sprinting for 10 secs, then jogging for 60 secs, etc is very popular,completing 2-3 laps......otherwise hill sprints are good - I think that for other exercise types, the key is finding an exercise that involves very large numbers of muscle groups - so very high heart rates including a real challenge for the working muscles will be effective, whether it involves strongman type exercises or anything else. Experiment with an open mind, discover what you enjoy and what works for you - and attack it with a ruthless and complete determination, the effort is certainly justified for the potential results.

Good luck !


ya man, cardio is the one thing i like to change up a bit from time to time to shake things up... but i almost exclusively focus on sprints and jumping rope... occasionally ill do a little swimming, cycling, and row machine.. but very little.


Have you tried "waves" of:
On = 100 double unders
Off = 100 regular jumps


Digger - Can't say I have. Would love to try those out though.

Earthman - I'll definitely try out your recommendations!

Any other ideas??


I play basketball at the local YMCA every morning. I don't know if it's better or worse then any other types of conditioning, but it does involve a lot of sprints, jumps, lateral moves, etc...plus it's just a lot more fun then anything else I have tried.

One thing I have learned as well, is that it give me an outlet to use for the strength training you do. It's great to be strong, but how does this carry over into real life? I discovered a routine called the 80/20 or something to that effect type workout. The philosophy is, that 80% of our gains, are done by 20% of our work. I've tried this over the last few months and it has been an eye opener. Here is what I do. In the evening on the way home from work, I lift for about 30 minutes. Here is my plan, adopted from this workout

Mon-5/3/1 squat workout
Tues -5x5 bench
Wen-5/3/1 Deadlift
Thur 5x5 squat
Friday-5/3/1 bench

I throw in some pullups, pushups and dips as well on the end. I feel stronger and fresher then I ever have.

In the mornings, I do basketball.


Personally I am a kettlebells guy when it comes to conditioning. I will grab a heavy bell (70lbs) and knock out some combination of Swings, Presses, Squats, Jerks, or snatches. Usually about 2 minutes worth of work. Then rest as long as I need to to feel ready to do again. I will try to hit about 20-30 minutes worth of this.

The great thing I find about this is that I can spread the stress around my body. When my legs get tired, I can throw some upper body work in so that my Cardio has to keep working but my legs can kinda rest.

I hope that helps.


to be honest, none. when done the right way, all intervals hurt big time. they are no fun. 30 seconds all out, 1 minute all out, 5 minute intervals @ 90% of heart rate. 10 minute intervals @ 85-90% of heart rate, and the early season 20 minute interval @ 80% of heart rate. they all hurt..big time..cyclists smile warming up and cooling down. inbetween, i never seen a smile on a cyclists face.. a 2-3-4-5 hr race and its pain the whole time..