Training

20 Minute HIIT Workout At Home | No Equipment Workout

For many of us, it often feels like we simply don’t have the time to get an effective workout in – which can result in us doing nothing at all. HIIT workouts, or High-Intensity Interval Training sessions, can offer a method to workout with high intensity for a select muscle group or a whole-body workout. Due to the nature of them being high intensity, they tend to be quite brief – resulting in the same favourable adaptations to training that we are looking for.

If you’re struggling to come up with a good workout, give our 20-minute HIIT session a go. Once you understand the concept, then you can start making up your own!

20 Minute HIIT Workout At Home | No Equipment Workout

This upper body HIIT workout is ideal for keeping you on track even if you can’t get to the gym. It might be a quick 20-minute session with no equipment — but that doesn’t mean it won’t have you pushed to your limits! Personal trainer, Calvin Crooks, is here to make sure of that. Ready to feel the burn?

Following along with Calvin in the video, each set/exercise will consist of 45 seconds of work, followed by 15 seconds of rest – then we will progress to the following exercise. In set 1, we will do all the exercises, then in set 2, we will drop leg raises. In set 3, we will skip heel touches.

Set 1:

Shoulder Taps

  • Start in the plank position by getting into the prone position on the floor, then elevate your upper body by extending your arms out in front of you, stacking your shoulders over your elbows over your wrists.
  • Shifting your weight to one side, bring the opposite hand to touch your shoulder, then shift back and alternate arms.
  • Try to minimise swaying from side to side and try to maintain a good plank position with a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Advanced version: To make this exercise harder, you can include a push-up after your shoulder taps. This will increase the intensity of the exercise, challenging your anterior deltoid, pectoralis major & triceps brachii to a greater extent.

Inch Worms

  • Starting in a standing position, flex at your hips with soft knees, until your hands can touch the floor.
  • Using your hands like feet, walk out until you reach the plank position, then walk back to the start.
  • Try not to sway side to side as you walk your hands forwards.

Advanced version: To make this exercise harder, you can include a push-up once you reach the plank position. This will increase the intensity of the exercise, challenging your anterior deltoid, pectoralis major & triceps brachii to a greater extent.

Bicycle Crunches

  • Lying supine (on your back), start by contracting your abs/obliques to flex your hips and torso, touching the opposite elbow to the opposite knee. This should be done in a twisting motion, alternating sides each rep and allowing your upper back to lift from the floor.
  • Ensure each rep is controlled appropriately – fully contracting your abdominal muscles on each rep.

Advanced version: To increase the difficulty, speed the reps up so that you complete more reps within the same time frame – but make sure you maintain rep quality.

To make this easier: Perform each rep one by one as you alternate sides, allowing for a brief pause between reps.

Heel Touches

  • Lying supine on the floor, bend your knees so that your heels are close to your glutes.
  • Keeping your back on the floor, ‘crunch’ to one side to touch your hand to your heel.
  • Alternate sides, ensuring you fully contract your obliques on each rep.

Advanced version: Increase the tempo, allowing you to complete a greater number of controlled repetitions within the same time frame.

Leg Raises

  • Lying supine on the floor, place the palms of your hands on the floor at your hips.
  • Flex at your hips, with a slight flex in your knees, bringing your legs up so that they are perpendicular to the ground.
  • Lower to the start position and initiate the next rep.

Advanced version: Slow down the eccentric phase, where you are lowering your legs to the floor. This will provide a greater demand for the rectus abdominus muscle in your abdomen.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in the plank position, with your arms extended so that your wrist joints are stacked beneath your shoulders.
  • Bring your opposite knee towards the opposite arm, then return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Advanced version: Increase the tempo of the repetitions, so that you complete a greater number of controlled repetitions within the given time frame.

Plank

  • Get on the floor in a prone position, then elevate your upper body with your arms extended so that your wrist joints are stacked beneath your shoulders.
  • Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles, squeezing your glutes and abs throughout the exercise.

Advanced version: Elevate your feet using a chair, meaning your upper body will need to work harder to manage the increased load.

To make this easier: Drop to your knees to reduce the lever length, meaning less effort will be required.

[Related: How to plank properly]

 Set 2

Shoulder Taps

  • Start in the plank position by getting into the prone position on the floor, then elevate your upper body by extending your arms out in front of you, stacking your shoulders over your elbows over your wrists.
  • Shifting your weight to one side, bring the opposite hand to touch your shoulder, then shift back and alternate arms.
  • Try to minimise swaying from side to side and try to maintain a good plank position with a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Advanced version: To make this exercise harder, you can include a push-up after your shoulder taps. This will increase the intensity of the exercise, challenging your anterior deltoid, pectoralis major & triceps brachii to a greater extent.

Inch Worms

  • Starting in a standing position, flex at your hips with soft knees, until your hands can touch the floor.
  • Using your hands like feet, walk out until you reach the plank position, then walk back to the start.
  • Try not to sway side to side as you walk your hands forwards.

Advanced version: To make this exercise harder, you can include a push-up once you reach the plank position. This will increase the intensity of the exercise, challenging your anterior deltoid, pectoralis major & triceps brachii to a greater extent.

Bicycle Crunches

  • Lying supine (on your back), start by contracting your abs/obliques to flex your hips and torso, touching the opposite elbow to the opposite knee. This should be done in a twisting motion, alternating sides each rep and allowing your upper back to lift from the floor.
  • Ensure each rep is controlled appropriately – fully contracting your abdominal muscles on each rep.

Advanced version: To increase the difficulty, speed the reps up so that you complete more reps within the same time frame – but make sure you maintain rep quality.

To make this easier: Perform each rep one by one as you alternate sides, allowing for a brief pause between reps.

Heel Touches

  • Lying supine on the floor, bend your knees so that your heels are close to your glutes.
  • Keeping your back on the floor, ‘crunch’ to one side to touch your hand to your heel.
  • Alternate sides, ensuring you fully contract your obliques on each rep.

Advanced version: Increase the tempo, allowing you to complete a greater number of controlled repetitions within the same time frame.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in the plank position, with your arms extended so that your wrist joints are stacked beneath your shoulders.
  • Bring your opposite knee towards the opposite arm, then return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Advanced version: Increase the tempo of the repetitions, so that you complete a greater number of controlled repetitions within the given time frame.

Plank

  • Get on the floor in a prone position, then elevate your upper body with your arms extended so that your wrist joints are stacked beneath your shoulders.
  • Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles, squeezing your glutes and abs throughout the exercise.

Advanced version: Elevate your feet using a chair, meaning your upper body will need to work harder to manage the increased load.

To make this easier: Drop to your knees to reduce the lever length, meaning less effort will be required.

Set 3

Shoulder Taps

  • Start in the plank position by getting into the prone position on the floor, then elevate your upper body by extending your arms out in front of you, stacking your shoulders over your elbows over your wrists.
  • Shifting your weight to one side, bring the opposite hand to touch your shoulder, then shift back and alternate arms.
  • Try to minimise swaying from side to side and try to maintain a good plank position with a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Advanced version: To make this exercise harder, you can include a push-up after your shoulder taps. This will increase the intensity of the exercise, challenging your anterior deltoid, pectoralis major & triceps brachii to a greater extent.

Inch Worms

  • Starting in a standing position, flex at your hips with soft knees, until your hands can touch the floor.
  • Using your hands like feet, walk out until you reach the plank position, then walk back to the start.
  • Try not to sway side to side as you walk your hands forwards.

Advanced version: To make this exercise harder, you can include a push-up once you reach the plank position. This will increase the intensity of the exercise, challenging your anterior deltoid, pectoralis major & triceps brachii to a greater extent.

Bicycle Crunches

  • Lying supine (on your back), start by contracting your abs/obliques to flex your hips and torso, touching the opposite elbow to the opposite knee. This should be done in a twisting motion, alternating sides each rep and allowing your upper back to lift from the floor.
  • Ensure each rep is controlled appropriately – fully contracting your abdominal muscles on each rep.

Advanced version: To increase the difficulty, speed the reps up so that you complete more reps within the same time frame – but make sure you maintain rep quality.

To make this easier: Perform each rep one by one as you alternate sides, allowing for a brief pause between reps.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in the plank position, with your arms extended so that your wrist joints are stacked beneath your shoulders.
  • Bring your opposite knee towards the opposite arm, then return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Advanced version: Increase the tempo of the repetitions, so that you complete a greater number of controlled repetitions within the given time frame.

Plank

  • Get on the floor in a prone position, then elevate your upper body with your arms extended so that your wrist joints are stacked beneath your shoulders.
  • Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles, squeezing your glutes and abs throughout the exercise.

Advanced version: Elevate your feet using a chair, meaning your upper body will need to work harder to manage the increased load.

To make this easier: Drop to your knees to reduce the lever length, meaning less effort will be required.

 

[Related: Get back on form with these 30-day fitness challenges] [Related: Equipment-Free Home Workout]

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Scott Whitney

Scott Whitney

Sports Therapist and S&C Professional

Scott developed a passion for sport and performance through competing in long‐distance running and bouldering prior to attending university. Scott’s academic achievements include a BSc honours degree in Sports Therapy and an MSc degree in Strength and Conditioning. He is also a member of The Society of Sports Therapists and CIMSPA. Previously, he has worked with amateur and elite athletes, ranging from university sports teams to elite rugby league athletes and Team GB rowers. He currently works with various gyms in developing and delivering training programmes for amateur athletes and gym‐goers. While passive treatments remain in his arsenal as a Sports Therapist, Scott uses his skills to promote physical activity for combatting obesity, lower back pain and other sporting injuries, and simultaneously providing programmes for athletic development. Being a recent graduate, Scott strives to gain experience wherever possible, offering advice and sharing knowledge along the way. He believes it is important to practice what you preach, so in his spare time, Scott practices Olympic Weightlifting and enjoys being active outdoors in all weathers, although he still believes it is important to make ample time for social activities.


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