The Best 30-Minute HIIT Workouts for a Quick Sweat Session

One of the best things about fitness is that it’s not one-size-fits-all — your personal preferences help to shape your journey. There are countless ways to arrange your workouts, including cranking out quick and dirty 30-minute sessions.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an outrageously diverse way to structure your training. HIIT allows you to tailor your program for the gym or at-home workouts, turning up the heat on your muscles and heart rate in several intervals during this high-intensity session. Here are the best 30-minute HIIT workouts to get you the most bang for your buck.

30-minute (Or Less) HIIT Workouts

You can mix and match all kinds of exercises with your HIIT session, but we’ve arranged our top choices here into equipment-specific workouts so you can take this training with you anywhere. No matter how you’ve equipped your minimalist home gym or how decked out your commercial gym is, you’ll find something for you.

Note: If you want to do the heart of your training session for a full 30 minutes, add a short dynamic warm-up and cool down before and after those 30 minutes. But if you only have 30 minutes total to get in and out, you can reduce the total time of the following workouts to 20 to 25 minutes. That way, you’ll be able to warm up, work out, and cool down in under a half hour.

[Read More: The Best AMRAP Workouts to Get (and Stay) Fit in Less Time]

Alternatively, perform your first round with very light weights and at a low intensity to get your muscles and body ready for a big effort. That first circuit can serve as your “ramp-up sets” for the rest of your workout.

Bodyweight HIIT Workout

Bodyweight exercises are an asset because you’re able to perform them anywhere at the drop of a hat. Here is an example of a no-equipment 30-minute HIIT workout using only your body weight.

Push-Up: 1 x 10 repetitions

Reverse Lunge: 1 x 10 repetitions per leg

Mountain Climber: 1 x 20 total strides

Burpee: 1 x 10 repetitions

High Knee: 1 x 20 total repetitions

Note: Perform each exercise consecutively in a circuit. Rest as little as possible between rounds, and complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) within 30 minutes. You can use this as workout finishers or as a session all on its own.

Modification: For push-ups, you can perform them with your hands on a wall or weight bench or do them on the floor from your knees. With mountain climbers, you can brace your hands on a wall or bench instead of the floor and step back slowly instead of moving very quickly. Instead of jumping with your burpees, simply step back into a plank position. You can add or omit the push-up.

Dumbbell HIIT Workout

Dumbbells help you implement the principles of progressive overload — gradually upping the intensity of your training over time — by adding external load to your exercises. But you won’t need a full spread of weights for this full-body dumbbell workout. Since you’ll be going as hard as you can for 30 minutes, a pair of light dumbbells will do the trick.

Dumbbell Thruster: 1 x 10 repetitions

Renegade Row: 1 x 10 repetitions per side

Dumbbell Floor Press: 1 x 10 repetitions

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 1 x 10 repetitions

Dumbbell Overhead Carry: 1 x 30 total steps

Note: Perform each exercise consecutively in a circuit. Rest as minimally as possible between rounds. Do as many rounds as you can in the 30 minutes you have. 

Modification: If you have access to dumbbell sets or adjustable dumbbells, have lighter options on hand in case you need to reduce the weight as you fatigue throughout the workout.

Kettlebell HIIT Workout

Kettlebells are another popular HIIT tool because of how mobile they are. Kettlebells also have some unique exercises that give your training session a fun (but challenging) spin. Here is one example to try.

Single-Arm Kettlebell Clean: 30 seconds per side

Kettlebell Front-Rack Walking Lunge: 30 seconds per side

Kettlebell Bent-Over Row: 30 seconds

Kettlebell Halo: 15 seconds per direction

Kettlebell Swing: One minute

Rest for 2 minutes.

Repeat circuit five times.

Note: Keep a tally of your reps during your rest periods. That way, you can compare your numbers the next time you complete this workout.

Modification: If you haven’t yet mastered the kettlebell clean, opt for either a goblet squat or an upright row (depending on whether you want to emphasize your legs or upper back). Hold two kettlebells by your sides during the walking lunges if it’s too difficult to maintain a front-rack position. If you don’t have a light enough kettlebell to safely do the halos, you can do this with just your body weight (doing the motion while “holding” an imaginary bell).

Barbell HIIT Workout

The barbell is a classic in strength workouts for a reason. It provides a unique challenge with the sheer amount of weight you can load — but you won’t want to go too heavy here. Stringing together a barbell complex is one of the more difficult but effective 30-minute HIIT workouts you’ll find. Here’s one example.

Barbell Push Press: 1 x 10 repetitions

Barbell Clean: 1 x 5 repetitions

Barbell Front Squat: 1 x 10 repetitions

Barbell Romanian Deadlift: 1 x 10 repetitions

Barbell Hip Thrust: 1 x AMRAP

Note: Perform each exercise consecutively in a circuit. Rest for three to five minutes between circuits, but still complete as many as possible within 30 minutes. For loading, choose your lightest lift of the bunch. Say it’s the push press. Select a weight that you can handle for push pressing 15 reps — that weight will be your limiting factor. Use it for your whole workout.

Modification: Use an empty barbell. If the standard 45 pounds is too heavy, that’s OK. Try to find a 35-pound barbell or use a fixed-weight barbell that’s even lighter. Many commercial gyms have these available.

Resistance Band HIIT Workout

The handy resistance band comes in the clutch more often than not. Not just for the realm of physical therapy, elastic resistance keeps you working hard but also gives you some freedom to get creative. Don’t underestimate the power of these deceptively challenging tools. 

Resistance Band Romanian Deadlift: 1 x 10 repetitions

Resistance Band Lateral Raise: 1 x 10 repetitions

Resistance Band Bent Over Row: 1 x 10 repetitions

Resistance Band Chest Press: 1 x 10 repetitions

Resistance Band Monster Walk: 1 x 20 total steps

Note: Perform each exercise consecutively in a circuit. Rest as minimally as possible between rounds and complete as many as possible within 30 minutes.

Modification: Use a lighter resistance band than you think you’ll need because the volume and fatigue will really add up here. Focus on moving as slowly as you can, holding the positions at your end ranges of motion during each rep to build full-body strength and increase the challenge.

What Is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training pairs intervals of all-out effort with specifically timed rest periods. The main goal is to combine exercises — generally full-body compound exercises — that raise your heart rate while only resting as much as necessary to complete the next round.

Depending on your goal, experience level, and type of HIIT, the exact parameters of your workout may vary. One example of a HIIT-style workout is the Tabata training protocol. During Tabata workouts, you work at a very high intensity for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of complete rest. You would then repeat this interval for eight total rounds (or four minutes). (1)

With the Tabata method, you’re going to give your all-out effort paired with complete rest. The idea is that you’re pushing yourself to the limit so much that you can’t go on longer than four minutes. 

[Read More: The Best HIIT Workouts for Any Fitness Goal]

To sustain a HIIT workout for 30 minutes, you have to use different parameters. You’ll work hard — very hard — but you won’t quite make an all-out effort during these workouts. During your rest times, you can choose to move a little bit (for example, walking instead of sprinting) or completely rest. Whatever you need to sustain your form and energy for 30 minutes.

This HIIT format may involve a circuit of exercises — combining upper body, lower body, or full body exercises in a series before resting for a predetermined (but brief) period. That way, you’ll rest your lower body while working your upper body, for example. This method also gives you a lot of freedom to customize your workout with different equipment and exercises.

Regardless of whether you choose something pre-set like a Tabata protocol or create your own HIIT circuit, the overall flow looks similar: warm-up, perform a short but intense full-body bodybuilding workout, and cool down.

What the Science Says About HIIT

Sure, HIIT isn’t your “classic” workout like LISS cardio (low-intensity steady-state cardio). You won’t be slogging for miles on end on your treadmill. Instead, you’ll be getting in and out in 30 minutes. But can such brief training sessions really improve your cardio health?

Research suggests that high-intensity training options such as HIIT and SIT (sprint interval training) can help improve cardiovascular performance indicators like your VO2 max. (2

In fact, HIIT seems to be able to generate similar results as moderate-intensity training for several markers of health and performance. A recent meta-analysis showed that HIIT can help change body composition, VO2 max, and total cholesterol to a similar extent as longer, moderate-intensity training sessions. Some data show superior benefits to cardiopulmonary outcomes using HIIT, as well. (3)

[Read More: 30-Minute Treadmill Workouts to Build Stamina and Strength]

One study comparing cardiometabolic benefits for untrained individuals with obesity showed that HIIT was capable of improving a greater number of health markers than moderate-intensity training. While both methods saw reductions in these benefits after four weeks of complete rest (no training), HIIT devotees tended to hold onto their benefits longer than moderate-intensity trainees. (4)

Benefits of HIIT 

There are several attractive benefits to weaving HIIT into your workout plan. Cardiometabolic benefits stand out as one major reason, but HIIT workouts are also extremely time-efficient and mentally engaging.

Cardiovascular Health

One of the leading reasons for using any form of cardio workouts at home is to improve your health. From resting heart rate to VO2 max or other markers of wellness, HIIT is an asset to your health

[Read More: HIIT Vs. LISS — Which Type of Cardio Is Better?]

To this point, one meta-analysis looked at the benefits of HIIT for patients with certain cardiometabolic diseases. The results showed that HIIT was able to provide overall superior results for VO2 max than when using moderate-intensity training for patients with coronary artery disease, heart failure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension. (5)

Time Efficient

Workout length is a big factor to consider in designing a workout program. LISS cardio options, while tremendously beneficial in their own right, may not fit into your timetable. They may also simply be a bit boring for your taste. 

[Read More: 3 Reasons Why You Should Perform Cardio After Lifting]

Another major asset of a HIIT cardio workout is the dramatically shorter time investment. While not every version of HIIT needs to be a brutal Tabata protocol, a 30-minute full-body HIIT workout is fully capable of packing a punch.

Mentally Engaging

Many athletes love the slow plod through LISS training and longer treadmill workouts. But hitting your 10,000 steps a day may not be in the cards for people who just don’t like slower-paced, low-impact workouts. 

[Read More: Cardio for Weightlifters? When Conditioning Is Important for Strength Athletes]

On the other hand, the full-body cardio workouts that HIIT offers allow you to get in a total body experience with no repeats and constant variety. You’ll keep the pace high and engagement through the roof.


You can tailor your HIIT workout to your daily preferences or equipment. From a bodyweight workout with a ton of burpees and jumping jacks to more strength training-influenced sessions at the gym (think: thrusters and muscle-ups), HIIT provides a ton of options. 

[Read More: The 12 Best Bodyweight Cardio Exercises You Should Be Doing]

Plus, you can adjust HIIT based on your experience level or any other needs you have. Want a no-jumping workout? Swap those full burpees for a modified stepping-back version and the jumping lunges for tempo split squats. This can be a great asset for beginners on the hunt for a high-intensity workout that’s still straightforward and accessible.


HIIT will supercharge your cardio training, slipping your sessions into bite-sized pieces throughout the week. From at-home bodyweight workouts to having full-scale barbell access, there are plenty of 30-minute HIIT workouts to suit your needs. With a body of research backing the benefits of HIIT behind you, take a crack at it on your next cardio day.


HIIT workouts are an extremely popular option for your cardio. You’re bound to have more questions. And as always, we’re bound to have answers.

Are 30-minute HIIT workouts effective?

HIIT workouts generally (including 30-minute HIIT workouts) are extremely effective. From cardiovascular gains to overall health benefits, 30-minute HIIT workouts are a time-efficient way to boost your health and hit performance goals.

Is it OK to do HIIT every day?

Unless you’re a serious CrossFitter or have worked overtime to scale up your volume — and have a recovery plan to keep you healthy — you probably don’t want to do HIIT every day. It’s a lot of wear and tear on your body to push as hard as you will during HIIT, and you’ll rack up a lot of volume with high-impact exercises.
Performing a 30-minute HIIT workout two to three times per week should be all you need to make significant progress but also allow adequate recovery. Aim to give your muscle groups 24 to 48 hours of recovery between intense workouts.

What is a HIIT workout?

A HIIT workout is a high-intensity interval training session. You’ll do a predetermined series of exercises at a very high effort while either resting minimally or taking set rest periods. The goal is to crank up your heart rate and keep elevating it over and over throughout the workout.


Tabata I. (2019). Tabata training: one of the most energetically effective high-intensity intermittent training methods. The journal of physiological sciences : JPS, 69(4), 559–572.

de Oliveira-Nunes, S. G., Castro, A., Sardeli, A. V., Cavaglieri, C. R., & Chacon-Mikahil, M. P. T. (2021). HIIT vs. SIT: What Is the Better to Improve V˙O2max? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(24), 13120. 

Su, L., Fu, J., Sun, S., Zhao, G., Cheng, W., Dou, C., & Quan, M. (2019). Effects of HIIT and MICT on cardiovascular risk factors in adults with overweight and/or obesity: A meta-analysis. PloS one, 14(1), e0210644.

Gripp, F., Nava, R. C., Cassilhas, R. C., Esteves, E. A., Magalhães, C. O. D., Dias-Peixoto, M. F., de Castro Magalhães, F., & Amorim, F. T. (2021). HIIT is superior than MICT on cardiometabolic health during training and detraining. European journal of applied physiology, 121(1), 159–172.

Weston, K. S., Wisløff, U., & Coombes, J. S. (2014). High-intensity interval training in patients with lifestyle-induced cardiometabolic disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine, 48(16), 1227–1234. 

Featured Image: Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

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