I tried this Heather Robertson HIIT workout with 3 million views — here’s what happened

A photo of Heather Robertson doing a reverse lunge
(Image credit: Heather Robertson)

I don’t know about you, but after spending too much time sitting down behind my desk, or a weekend of overindulging, I find myself scouring the internet for workout challenges. 

It was after the Black Friday weekend that I stumbled across the Heather Roberston 12 week program, which has amassed thousands of views on YouTube. Robertson is a certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, and author, plus she’s created a 12-week program that promises to “build strength, burn fat, improve endurance, and increase energy and confidence,” and it’s absolutely free. 

My body doesn’t like not moving, so after four days of sitting down writing up fitness deals (you’re welcome), I felt sluggish and lethargic. Unrolling my mat, I opted for day one of Robertson’s challenge — a full body HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout with over 3 million views. The results? Robertson’s workout left me with that instant muscle ache you get when you know you’ve targeted muscles you’ve forgotten about for a while. Read on to find out more. 

As a fitness editor and enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for new workouts. From aerial yoga, to trampolining, I’ve tried most of the industry’s weird and wonderful fads over the years, as I believe above all else, working out should be fun. If you’re looking for more inspiration, read what happened when I tried the Lily Sabri Squid Game workout, the Bretman Rock ‘ab-solutely not’ challenge, and this Pamela Reif six-pack ab workout

What is the Heather Robertson Full Body Workout?

One of the joys of following the workout with Roberston on YouTube is that, unlike other trainers, she doesn’t stop the workout to explain the different moves. Like attending a group HIIT class you just follow along and watch her technique. The full-body workout doesn’t require any equipment and can be done from just about anywhere. I did use a yoga mat to soften the impact on my joints, and if you’re on the lookout for a new one, we’ve rounded up the best yoga mats on the market here. 

If you’d rather follow along by reading the workout first, here’s what to expect: 

Following a warm-up, you’ll move into three rounds of the following circuit: 

30 seconds of laydown pushups: Starting lying flat on your stomach, raising your arms and legs into the air, raising your head and torso up off the mat. Bringing your arms next to your body, with your palms flat on the floor, press up into a press-up, before lowering back down and returning to your starting position.

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of inchworms: Starting standing at the end of your mat, bend at the hips and place your hands flat on the mat, then walk your hands forward so that you are in a plank position, keeping your core engaged the entire time. Pause, then walk your hands back towards your feet and raise up to your starting position.

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of V-squeeze: Lying on your stomach, raise your arms, head and torso up off the mat. At the same time, raise your legs, as if you’re trying to make a V position, with your stomach still pressed into the mat. Once you are in position, pull your arms down to your sides, keeping your elbows bent and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Straighten your arms and lower back to your starting position, then repeat. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of shadow boxing: With one foot forward, brace your core and punch your arms out in front of you as fast as possible. You should be on the ball of your foot on the back leg. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of hold elbow plank: Get into a plank position, with your core engaged and your body weight on your elbows. Hold for 30 seconds. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of plank jacks: Starting from a plank position on your elbows, engage your core and think about sucking your belly button into your spine. Jump your legs out to the side, as if you’re doing star jumps, then jump them back into your starting position.

You’ll then get 30 seconds of rest, before moving into three rounds of the second circuit: 

30 seconds of reverse lunges: Starting with your feet underneath your hips, standing shoulder-width apart, lunge back on your right leg, lowering your right knee until it is a few inches off the ground. Step back to your starting position and repeat on the left side. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of squats: Starting with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, sit down and back into a squat. Heather keeps her arms straight out in front, but you can also cross them or interlace your fingers in front of your body. Pause at the bottom of the squat before rising back up to your starting position. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of side lunges: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step out to the left, and bend your left knee and push your hips back. Then step back into your starting position and repeat on the right side. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds of pop squat: For this exercise, start with your feet together and jump them out till they are shoulder-width apart. As you do this, squat down and touch your left hand to the floor, before jumping back to your starting position. Repeat, this time touching your right hand to the floor. Keep alternating between your left and right hand.

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds chair pose: For the chair pose, get into a low squat position with your arms raised above your head and hold for the full 30 seconds. Be warned, it’s a killer. 

10 seconds rest 

30 seconds high knees: For high knees, think about jogging on the spot, but raising your knees up to your chest each time. Robertson keeps her hands out above her knees, tapping each knee to her hand to ensure a full range of motion. 

I tried the Heather Roberston full-body workout — here’s what happened 

Part of me loved the repetitive nature of this workout — by the third round of each circuit, I really felt like I’d mastered the moves and knew what was coming next. I also loved the fact I could do this workout next to my desk, between meetings, and really felt like I’d worked hard in a short amount of time. 

In my workouts, I often opt to focus on one muscle group at a time, so I’ll train legs on a Monday, arms, and abs on a Wednesday, and back and shoulders on a Friday. In-between this, I run and swim, and try and squeeze in the odd yoga or Pilates class. This full-body workout reminded me how much I’ve missed heading to group classes since the coronavirus pandemic. Although I was definitely working out alone in my spare bedroom, I enjoyed the uncertainty of what was coming next, and the fast-paced rotation between each exercise. 

It sounds odd, but I also enjoyed how Roberston wasn’t chatting throughout the workout, which allowed me to listen to a podcast, without missing instructions. You get to see a demonstration of the next exercise during the 10-second rest period, but you can follow along with your phone or tablet on silent. 

When it came to how I felt post-workout, my body ached, but I felt great. I’d got a killer, full-body workout without touching a pair of dumbbells, or doing a single burpee. I’m excited to see what the results are after the full 12-weeks of workouts, I just don’t want to do another chair pose for a long time. 

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.