When you’re in a crunched for time, training with purpose gets difficult. Such occasions call for 30-minute HIIT workouts that make the best of a bad situation. Instead of winging it, come prepared with effective routines that do the most with what you’re working with. Turning to high-intensity interval training—implementing a high work to rest ratio that keeps your heart rate elevated for most (if not all) of the session—helps train your conditioning and elevate your metabolism to trigger fat loss. Now who wouldn’t want that? Bookmark these killer 30-minute HIIT workouts. They’ll get you fired up in no time.
Best 30-Minute HIIT Workouts to Burn Fat and Build Muscle
Workout 1: Barbell Complex
Equipment needed: barbell and weight plates
Directions: A complex is a very efficient method of weight training that asks you to perform sets of many different exercises in succession without putting the weight down between to regather. For that reason, it makes the most sense for one move to “flow” into the next. By the end of the last rep of the final exercise of a complex, you’ll likely have been under load for up to 2 minutes. And that’s the point. Rest as long as needed between rounds, but challenge yourself to see how many rounds you can perform in 30 minutes. The goal: Try to hammer out 7 rounds.
A1) Barbell Romanian Deadlift x 8 reps
A2) Barbell Bentover Row x 8 reps
A3) Barbell Hang Clean x 6 reps
A4) Barbell Front Squat x 6 Reps
A5) Barbell Push Press x 6 reps
Pro tip: When selecting the weight for the complex, be sure to choose a weight that caters to the “smallest” or “weakest” lift of the group. In the workout above, that would likely be push presses or hang cleans for most lifters. Don’t choose your deadlift 8RM knowing you’ll have to clean and press that weight.
Workout 2: EMOM Training
Equipment needed: Set of dumbbells (kettlebell optional)
Directions: EMOM training stands for “every minute on the minute,” and it’s a great way to manipulate a time crunch and short rest intervals to burn more fat and trigger muscle growth. To do an EMOM workout, choose a big lift and select a weight that’s 60 percent of your normal 10-rep max. Start your timer, then start your first set of 10 reps (it’ll probably take around 20 seconds). You now have the remainder of that minute to rest. Your next set begins promptly when the clock begins the next minute. The idea is to repeat this work/rest until you’ve reached the designated time. Try this EMOM workout next time you’re in the gym:
1. Goblet Squat x 8 Reps – EMOM for 15 minutes
Rest as long as needed after set 15
2. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press – 10 Reps – EMOM for 15 minutes
Pro tip: EMOM training will completely exhaust a given muscle group once all sets are complete. If you plan to do EMOM sets of more than one exercise over the course of a workout (like this one asks for), make sure you’re using non-competing muscle groups. It wouldn’t be wise to follow up 15 minutes of EMOM goblet squats with split squats, for example. Nor would it be wise to succeed dumbbell incline bench press with pushups or overhead presses. Give your muscles a chance to get all the benefits from the exercise.
Workout 3: Tabata Training
Equipment needed: Set of dumbbells
Directions: Employing the Tabata method epitomizes HIIT. For a given exercise, you’ll focus on 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, then repeat that sequence 8 times before going onto the next movement. The goal should be to use very light weight or bodyweight where applicable, and aim for fast, explosive, but honest repetitions that use full range of motion and good technique. In 30 minutes, you should be able to get through 5 Tabata rounds, while resting for some time between exercises. Try this:
1. Tabata Bodyweight Squats: Set a target below (like a low step platform) to have a consistent depth achieved in each set. It won’t be easy as the clock ticks on. Aim for 25 reps.
Rest 1 minute before moving on to exercise B
2. Tabata Pushups: Following the same principle above, set a mat or pad on the floor under your chest for it to contact on each rep.
3. Tabata Bentover Rows: Use no more than 10 pounds
4. Tabata Dumbbell Push Press: Use no more than 10 pounds
5. Tabata Bodyweight Stationary Lunge: You can decide whether to lunge forward or backward, but remember not to spend time standing between reps.
Pro tip: With this kind of training, it’s easy to cut range of motion when fatigued. Though the overall goal is indeed to perform as many reps as possible, always make an assessment in your mind. Don’t aim for more reps at the expense of good form. If tired, take a second or two to gather yourself, then knock out a couple more great-quality reps.
Workout 4: Active Rest Approach
Equipment needed: Set of dumbbells or kettlebell, heavy resistance band, and ab wheel
Directions: To keep your heart rate from bottoming out between sets, you’ll simply perform filler exercises for the duration of your intended rest that recruit completely different muscle groups from your main exercise (use 30 percent of your typical efforts). You must continue doing reps for the entire time allotted.
1. Goblet Squats: 5 x 12 reps with 1-minute rest between rounds
Filler exercise: Banded Triceps Pressdowns x 60 seconds
2. Bodyweight Chinups: 4 x max reps with 1-minute rest between rounds
Filler exercise: Bodyweight Glute Bridge x 60 seconds
3. Ab-Wheel Rollouts: 4 x 10 reps with 1-minute rest between rounds
Filler exercise: Dumbbell Biceps Curl x 60 seconds