8 Ways To Turn Any Space Into A HIIT Workout

woman working out in the park

Alyssa Bialowas

We all know what it feels like to be on an epic workout stretch and then face an intense week of meetings, deadlines and social obligations to ruin a perfectly good streak. For the millions of reasons in which our busy lives keep us away from getting to the gym rarely do we think of transforming our home or workspaces into your personal workout area. The most beneficial type of exercise you can perform in minimal space is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT leads to muscle retention, increases your overall aerobic capacity and your cardiovascular fitness, improves your endurance, and helps you burn calories after the fact while resting.

Related Article: A Midday Cardio Session May Make You A Better Worker

Here are 8 ways to turn any space into a HIIT workout space…

1) Just Do It

Whether at home, at work, or on vacation, a personal investment in fitness equipment can increase the intensity of your HIIT workouts. Dumbbells, resistance bands, jumping ropes, kettlebells, a bosu trainer or stability ball, and a yoga mat are some of my favorite pieces of transportable equipment to use in my workouts. That being said – be aware of your personal level of exercise competence. Don’t push yourself too hard or use equipment or furniture that you’re uncomfortable using in your workouts.


2) Measure The Space

Then, you want to measure the space you’re working with – whether your kitchen, your bedroom, living room, basement, backyard, or office, you’ll want to know if the space can accommodate the exercise ideas you have in mind, or if you need to tweak your moves to fit in an environment with minimal/zero space. Measure your time – when I only have 15 minutes, I spend about 3 minutes on 5 different exercises, split up into short 30-second bursts, with little to no rest in-between sets. With more time, pace out your exercises and push hard to hit your peak cardio output.


3) Your Living Room 

I encourage you to use your own furniture (furniture that you can guarantee is firmly secured to the floor or furniture that won’t slip on your floor material – lets avoid all trips to the hospital at all costs).

Use your couch for triceps dips – below the cushions, you’ll find the frame of most couches is the perfect distance from the ground for triceps dips.

Use the coffee table for Bulgarian squats, and a secured dining room chair for elevated press-ups.

Set up your yoga mat, or put a towel down on your floor so you can add an abdominal exercise into your circuit.

Incorporate the use of your staircase into your circuit. On the stairs, the up-up-down-down technique can assist in building aerobic capacity while increasing leg strength – stairs specifically target your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Stairs are also really fun! Once I started and couldn’t stop and woke up with some pretty insane leg cramps.


4) Your Office 

woman working out in officeThere are days when you can only fit in a 20-30 minute workout on your lunch hour, and if you have an office that you work out of, chances are you have enough room to move aside some furniture and carve out space for a HIIT session. Store a yoga mat in your office for this reason, with a fresh change of clothes and gym clothes.

Any desk at waist-height can be used for counter pushups. Place your hands on your desk shoulder-width apart, or slightly wider. Stand approximately three feet away from the desk, and straighten your spine by tightening your abs. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Inclined pushups are beneficial because you can target your chest (the lower portion of your pectoralis major) and upper body more than regular pushups. For beginners, start at an 80-degree angle and as you develop your strength, gradually decrease that angle to 65, 45, eventually to 30 degrees.
If you can fit your yoga mat in your office, you can get down on the ground for an abdominal workout!


5) Your Backyard / Patio 

If you backyard or patio has enough space to fit a few yoga mats, you have enough space to set up a full HIIT circuit to complete at any time.

If you choose wisely to invest in workout equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, jumping ropes and bosu balls, bring them outside with you so you can take full advantage of the additional space outdoors.

Set up your HIIT full body circuit as follows –

3 sets of 15 kettlebell squats, 3 sets of 15 bosu ball squats, 3 sets of 15 bosu ball push ups (ball side down), 3 sets of 15 sit ups (balance on ball side-up), 3 sets of 10 lunges on each leg while holding dumbbells (weight of your choice), 3 sets of 2 minutes of skipping with your jump rope.


6) Your Bedroom 

Use a chair or your bed to elevate one of your legs for your Bulgarian squats so you can achieve a deeper burn and targeting of your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.

Use your low night-side table or a coffee table for decline pushups – beneficial for muscle development and also increases blood flow to your upper body. The increase of blood flow to your upper body will assist in decreasing post exercise soreness.

Measuring your space to see if you’ll have a full range of movement in your exercises without hitting anything, use your yoga mat as a platform for pushups, situps, squats, and burpees!


7) On a business trip / Vacation 

The lethargy from a vacation or from a work trip that turns out to be especially gluttonous can leave you feeling unhealthy, unfit, and really in the mood for an intense workout session.

To keep your workout regimen strong while on vacation, try to pack a jump rope or resistance band with you in your suitcase. You can use both of these in your circuit in your room, use your bed frame or coffee table for triceps dips, use a chair to elevate one of your legs for a deeper burn and targeting of your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.

If your vacation is (hopefully) tropical – use the sand on the beach as an obstacle in your HIIT circuit! The unstable surface of sand stabilizes the muscles in your lower body – specifically your knees, your ankles, and your feet, thereby strengthening them at the same time.

Sand sprints will test your cardio as well as the muscles in your lower body. For upper body exercises in your circuit, bring your resistance band down to the beach for a series of upper body exercises that work your chest, shoulders, and arms. Perform 3 sets of at least 3 different exercises, such as pushups or the standing chest press (12-15 reps), the overhead press (8-12 reps), and the concentration curl (8-10 reps) for your full body HIIT circuit.

(See https://greatist.com/fitness/resistance-band-exercises for a long list of full-body resistance band exercises).


8) In Your Neighborhood 

Use the steep incline of a grassy hill or a steep hill with very light traffic to incorporate short inclined sprints. Short sprints as part of your circuit is a great way to increase your aerobic capacity, your overall cardio fitness, and muscle retention throughout your entire body.

In addition to grassy hills, I also encourage you to use any staircases that you may find outside as part of your circuit, again as stairs specifically target your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.

Use a park bench for triceps dips or pushups on an incline or decline, and bring your resistance band with you so you can add bicep curls, triceps extensions, and the forward raise for your shoulders.

There you have it, 8 ways to turn any space into a HIIT workout space. Now you have absolutely zero excuses for not working out!

Related Article: 90 Seconds A Day Of HIIT Might Be All You Need


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