Hate running? This HIIT workout raises your heart rate with just 4 exercises

a photo of a woman doing a squat
(Image credit: getty/ciricvelibor)

Running is a great way to strengthen your muscles and build cardiovascular fitness, but if you’re not a fan, it can be difficult to find the motivation to lace up your running shoes and head out the door. Luckily, if running really isn’t for you, it’s not the only way to raise your heart rate and get a good workout. 

This workout, put together by trainers Ashley and Amanda, behind the fitness Instagram account roseytimestwo, only takes 16 minutes requires just one dumbbell. If you’re still working out from home, you can shop for the best adjustable dumbbells here.

As always, if you’re new to exercise, or you’re returning to exercise following an injury, it’s a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer before adding weight to the move. If you are a beginner, you can modify the workout by increasing your rest period and doing 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. 

This HIIT workout raises your heart rate with just 4 exercises

Ready to get going? Unroll your exercise mat, grab a dumbbell and give this one a try. The workout follows the format of 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest. Repeat the circuit of four exercises four times. 

Unweighted to weighted jump squat

For this exercise, start with a dumbbell on the floor in front of you, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Perform a jump squat, bending your knees into a full squat position. Engaging your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, propel yourself up into a jump. As your feet return to the floor, start to squat again, this time grabbing the dumbbell at the bottom of the movement and jumping with it in your hands. 

When it comes to selecting the right weight for your workout, look for one that feels challenging by the final few reps, but not impossible. The weight shouldn’t compromise your form. 

Jumping split lunges

For a jumping split lunge (also known as jump lunges), start with your feet together, and a slight bend in your knees. Jump into a lunge position, with one foot about three feet in front of the other. Engage your core, and lower yourself into a lunge, so your front thigh is parallel to the floor, and there’s a 90-degree bend in your back knee.

From here, either jump up and switch legs in the air, going into a lunge on the opposite leg, or for a slightly easier modification, jump both legs back together, then jump them out to lunge on the opposite side.  

Overhead cursty lunge

For this exercise, start with your feet shoulder width apart, and a dumbbell in your left arm outstretched above your head. Step your left leg back and around behind your right leg, shifting your weight onto your right side, and step down into a lunge.

At the same time, keep your torso upright, and engage your core to keep the dumbbell lifted above your head. Lunge down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, then straighten back up on your right leg, pushing from your heel, and return your left leg to it’s starting position. Do 20-seconds of curtsy lunges on one side, before switching to the other. 

Read what happened when this editor did 100 curtsy lunges every day for a week

Lateral lunge crunch

For this exercise, start by taking a big step out to one side, sinking your hips back and lower into the lunge. Ideally, your left leg should eventually be bent at a 90-degree angle, though you may find this is not an option to begin with. As you rise out of the lunge, lift your lunging leg up across your body, crunching it towards your opposite elbow. Do 20-seconds on one side, before switching.

This workout follows the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) format, working hard for 40 seconds, then resting for 20 seconds. HIIT training has a number of benefits, one being it’s one of the most effective ways to work out, giving you great results in a relatively short amount of time. It also raises your metabolic rate for a few hours you’ve finished a workout, so if losing weight is your goal, HIIT workouts are a good choice. 

In fact, a lot of the time your calorie burn for a 20-minute HIIT workout will be similar to a longer session of steady-state cardio, so if running isn’t your bag, you’ll still torch calories with a HIIT workout. 

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.