There’s a saying that goes, exercise should be a gift you give yourself—not a punishment. But if your workouts are starting to feel like a chore (or worse, torture), you likely need to reassess your current fitness plan. What’s that? Your gym time tends to consist of 30-minute sessions on the elliptical followed by a few strength exercises? Bo-ring. Time to trade in your monotonous steady state cardio workouts for more high-intensity interval training. According to a recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE, HIIT workouts became increasingly enjoyable for participants over the course of a six week program as they grew fitter and stronger, whereas the moderate continuous exercise group reported their enjoyment declined.
Still skeptical? Give this lower body HIIT routine a try. In just 30 minutes, you’ll be drenched in sweat, your glutes will be on fire, and you’ll be totally hooked.
How to: Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, focusing on quality, controlled reps. Try not to rest between exercises. At the end of the circuit, rest a maximum of two minutes, then repeat.
Newbie: 2-3 rounds
Intermediate: 4 rounds
Advanced: 5 rounds
Note: For single-leg exercises, perform one side for 45 seconds, then the other for another 45 seconds, before moving to the next exercise.
Begin in a lunge position with your left foot in front holding a dumbbell in both hands (A). Explode upwards, switching your feet in the air (B), and landing in a lunge with the right foot in front (C). Immediately repeat. Continue for all reps.
SINGLE LEG DEAD-LIFT
Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, stand with your weight shifted into your right leg. Hinge at the hips, raising your left leg straight out behind you as you lower the weight towards the ground, keeping a flat back. Return to the starting position and immediately repeat. Complete all reps on this leg, and then switch sides and repeat.
Hold a moderate to heavy dumbbell vertically in front of you with both hands, and place your feet in a wide stance with toes turned to approximately 45 degrees (A). Bend your knees and lower your hips, making sure your knees are in line with your toes (B). Press back up to the starting position and repeat.
SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIDGE
Lie on your back on the floor with one leg bent and the other extended and raised towards the ceiling. Press through your heel and lift your hips until fully extended. Lower back down and immediately repeat. Complete all reps and then switch sides.
SQUAT JUMP WITH FLOOR TAP
From standing, jump your feet wider than hip-width apart and lower into a squat. Simultaneously, bring one hand down and tap the floor. Quickly jump your feet back together and come up to standing, then back out into the squat, touching the floor with the opposite hand. Continue for all reps.