How to Design Your Own HIIT Workout

What is HIIT? Its the acronym for high intensity interval training. HIIT can be very useful if you’re short on time, need to hit multiple muscle groups and get a full body burn. HIIT can be done with or without equipment, gym or at home. There are a few key notes to consider when creating a good HIIT workout to ensure its effective and efficient.


When making a HIIT workout its important to focus on all muscle groups, or simply the multiple muscle groups you plan to work that day. Figure out what muscles to train, then choose exercises that target a few of those muscles at once and alternates between the groups. For example, training biceps, triceps, shoulders and back. Good exercise choice would be pushups, renegade rows, pullups and bicep curls into a bent over row. These choices can be effective because they target two or more of each of the muscles at the same time. Knowing what to train, and knowing what exercises will primarily target those muscles will help plan your session.


Using all planes of motion make a good HIIT session. Switching between exercises that include the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes of movement. Let’s use a full body HIIT workout for example. Exercises include alternating forward lunges (sagittal plane), standing shoulder press (frontal plane), Russian twist (transverse plane), and burpee (sagittal and frontal plane). Involving all planes of motion keeps the workout upbeat and compelling.

Lastly, change the volume and frequency when creating a HIIT workout. Each exercise shouldn’t consist of vigorous jumps and copious reps. The type of exercises should also vary. Let’s use full body HIIT again for example. Start off your HIIT workout with 15 plyometric box jumps to get the heart rate up. Then, slow it down with 12 controlled dumbbell bicep curls. After that, start bringing the intensity back up with 10 count plank jack shoulder taps, 30 sec of battle ropes, and end it with 12 tricep dips. Rest for 1-2 minutes and start it all over again for the desired number of rounds. As you can see the reps are different, some exercises are for time, and the intensity fluctuates. By doing this allows muscle recovery breaks that prevent total fatigue.

In a nutshell, an effective HIIT workout session involves multiple muscle groups, all planes of motion, and fluctuates intensity and volume. Rest time between rounds is a recommended 1-2 minutes, with at least 4-8  workouts for each round. I also recommend 4-5 rounds. With high intensity, you should continue each set of exercises until each round is complete (back to back). I hope this was helpful for the autonomous athlete, or personal trainer. If putting together your own workouts isn’t quite your thing, check out my Total Body 9 Week Program in the training session tab above to help you reach your fitness goals.


1 comment

  • Brilliant. Nice concise detailed description and brought it all back to the point; buy my shyt!


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