Even if you love making room in your schedule for long gym sessions, there will always be days when you just don't have a lot of time to work out. When you need a quick and efficient workout that builds muscle, increases strength and performance, and burns calories, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the way to go.
Interval training combines strength training and cardio for an all-in-one total-body workout. By using quick intervals, you'll get a killer training session in only 15-20 minutes. Best of all, this workout doesn't require any equipment. You can train in the gym, at a park, or even in your hotel room!
To keep track of your progress, time yourself during this workout, then compare your future times so you can see how much stronger and faster you've become.
Squat Jump In-and-Outs
This exercise takes regular squat jumps to a new level, targeting your entire lower body while giving you a killer cardiovascular workout.
Start standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a wide squat position with your thighs about parallel to the floor, then jump up as explosively as you can, landing back in a narrow squat with your feet close together. Jump back up, then land in a wide squat. That's one rep. Complete 10 full reps.
When doing in-and-out squat jumps, really focus on exploding up in the jump while keeping your core and glutes tight. As you grow more comfortable with this move, work on speeding it up—just make sure you're keeping good form.
Seven Push-Up Walks
This push-up variation combines a regular decline push-up with a pike push-up to target even more muscles for an additional challenge. The higher the box or bench, the more difficult this move becomes.
To do this exercise, place your feet on a plyo box, bench, or other elevated surface. Walk your hands toward your feet so that you're in a pike position. Do a push-up: It should almost feel like a handstand push-up or a shoulder press. Next, walk your hands forward until your body is in a straight declined plank position, meaning your feet are higher than your hands. Do a decline push-up, and repeat the entire sequence.
As you move forward and back in this sequence, make sure to keep your core tight to prevent your lower back from sagging. Make sure you keep your back straight and push up through your shoulders at the top of each position.
Burpee Box Jumps
Burpees and box jumps are two of the best full-body, explosive exercises you can do, and this exercise combines both for an efficient—yet fun—challenge.
Stand in front of a plyo box, bench, or other elevated surface, and drop down into a burpee. Jump your feet back to standing, then immediately stand up and jump up onto the box. Jump or step back down to your starting position behind the box, and immediately drop into another burpee. Continue this pattern for all 10 reps.
The intensity of this move comes from the height of the box jump, so the higher the elevated surface, the more difficult this exercise will be. You can also scale back to plain burpees if you don't have a sturdy enough surface to jump onto.
Toe Taps on Box
Toe taps are a classic conditioning exercise used to train quick feet and explosive lower-body power. Use this athlete-inspired movement to get your heart rate up and improve your speed, stamina, and coordination.
Face a bench or plyo box and put one foot up so the ball of your foot lightly rests on the top surface of the box. In one quick motion, switch your feet so the opposite foot is now on the box and the first foot is on the ground. Quickly reverse back to the starting position, then repeat.
Continue to quickly alternate your feet on and off the bench as fast as you can, driving your knees up and pumping your arms as fast as possible.
Keep your weight on the ground and lift your feet high so as little weight as possible transfers to the box, hence the "tap." Once you find your rhythm, you should feel like you're sprinting in place.
V-Up Tuck Combos
Whatever your fitness level, you'll feel the burn with this intense core exercise inspired by gymnasts, some of the strongest athletes pound for pound in the world.
Lie on your back, engage your core, and reach your hands toward your feet. Keeping your core tight, pull your knees up and tuck them in to your chest. Straighten your legs and stretch your hands above your head on the floor, keeping your core tight and lower back glued to the floor in a hollow hold.
From this position, raise your arms and legs towards each other at the same time in a V-up, keeping them as straight as possible and aiming to touch your feet with your hands. The entire sequence is one rep. Lower down and repeat.