The 20-minute HIIT workout that will build strength fast

High-intensity interval workouts have become popular in recent years as we look for ever more efficient and effective ways of burning fat and gaining strength. HIIT is a form of training that involves quick and intense bursts of exercise with short rest periods in between. It’s designed to increase your heart rate and burn more fat in less time.

HIIT isn’t just cardio-focused. As opposed to longer periods of prolonged training, such as distance running, HIIT can help to build muscle as well as burn fat. And its effects are best felt after only 20 minutes of exercise! We’ve compiled some of the most effective high-intensity exercises we know into a 20-minute HIIT workout that’ll help you build strength fast. Perform each exercise, full-pelt, for one minute and then give yourself a minute between each to rest. All you need are your own body and a skipping rope. Be sure to warm your body up first with five minutes of light jogging and some jumping jacks.

Squat jumps

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes slightly out-turned. Bend at the knees and lower to a basic squat position. Instead of rising back to standing, propel yourself upwards into a jump with the balls of your feet, keeping your body straight. Land in a squat position and repeat.

Single-leg sit-ups

Lie on your back with your legs long and hip-width apart. Sit up, lifting your right leg higher as you reach your hands towards your foot. Lower back down to lay on the floor and then continue with the left side.


Lower from standing to a squat position. Place your hands on the floor in front of you and kick back into a plank. Jump forwards to return to a squat position. Jump into the air with your body straight. Land in a squat position and repeat.

Lateral jumps

Lower into a squat and then jump straight up and over to your right, lifting your arms up into the air. Land softly and continue, jumping to the left next.


Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders and straighten your legs so that only your hands and toes are touching the floor. Keep your feet close together. Bend at the elbows and steadily lower your body to the ground, keeping your body in a straight line. Stop a couple of inches from the ground and straighten your arms, rising back up into a plank position, and then lower again. If you struggle to hold your bodyweight with your legs straight, bend them so your knees are on the floor. Lean forwards slightly, keeping your hands under your shoulders, so your weight is distributed across your upper body.

Tuck jumps

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly out-turned. Lower into a squat position. Jump straight up as high as you can and bring your knees to your chest as you do so. Land softly and repeat.


Start at the top of press-up position, with your hands and feet the only body parts touching the floor. Lower your chest and then push back up quickly. At the top, tap your left shoulder with your right fingertips. Return your hand to floor and continue on the other side.

Lunge jumps

Extend one leg behind you and one in front. Bend your front knee until it is at a right angle. Ensure your knee doesn’t extend over the toes of your front foot. From this lunge position, jump into the air and switch your legs. Land on your toes in a lunge position on the opposite side.

Mountain climbers

Start in a high plank position with your hands on the ground, directly under your shoulders, and your legs outstretched behind you. Your hands and toes should be the only body parts touching the floor. Bend one leg and bring your knee forward to your chest. Return to plank position and immediately switch legs, bringing your opposite knee forward to your chest. Continue switching legs at a fast pace.


Round off your workout with an exercise that isn’t just for the playground. Skip with your rope as quickly as you can for one minute.


And there you have it! Blast through this quick workout at least three times a week to burn fat, build strength and reap the optimum benefits a great HIIT routine can bring.


READ THIS NEXT: Are you making any of these common HIIT mistakes?


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