20 Minute HIIT Workouts For Beginners To Kick Start 2020

Who says you have to slog for hours in the gym?


Everyone heading to the gym to start a healthy & happy 2020, whether they are beginners or gym bunnies just having another day of training. You may have seen the word HIIT floating about in the fitness world, but if you are just starting out you might be unaware of what it means.

It’s not some top secret gym slang and it’s not something that only the finest athletes can complete. What if I told you that the average gym goer can do this and not only will it take you less time in the gym but if done correctly, give you better results than an hour on that running machine?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, which might sound daunting but don’t fear, if you’re willing to put the graft in HIIT workouts can shave off those calories in no time. HIIT has been around for a long time and is a complete all rounder that’s sure to aid your efforts in the gym whether that be muscle gain, weight loss or increase your fitness level in general.

The idea behind HIIT is to get that heart rate going (within 80-95%of your maximum heart rate) by doing a series of exercises in short bursts ranging from high to low intensity instead of a continuous routine going at one pace.

Seasoned gym goers can get their workout complete in as little as 5-8 minutes as their bodies are used to the highest level of intensity. For these workouts we are still going strong, but they can be done in a 20 minute time frame allowing for beginners to try this out too.

A few bits to remember - HIIT is meant to be uncomfortable guys & gals, it’s giving it your all so it’s gonna be tough but the results are so worth it, especially the afterburn. Remember that you need rest days in between gym going, you can cause yourself more injury or risk overtraining, not the one.

Before engaging in any high level activity, especially ones that raise the heart rate at such a pace, make sure you know your limits and what your body is used too. Always consult your doctor if you are unsure about taking part and remember to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.

Adjust weights to suit your needs, try to stick to the reps and remember it’s all about raising that heart rate. Repeat each of these sets 3 times with minimal rest in between - 30 seconds max between sets and if you are unsure of any of the below, there are tonnes of Youtube videos on how to do each exercise properly.

Abs/Core Focus

Weighted Sit Ups

Reps: 10-15

Holding onto a weight (such as a 10kg wheel) with both arms across your chest, begin your sit ups. Using a sit up bench at the gym helps keep your feet firmly placed but you could also place weights on your feet to keep them down to make this easier.

Weighted Russian Twist

Reps: 20-30

Tough to master but once you have got your balance in check, you can smash these out when you’re in the rhythm. Hold onto the weight with both hands and make sure it touches the ground as you go from side to side.

Bulgarian Bag Squats

Reps: 15-20

Your gym may not have bulgarian bags but a kettle bell will do just fine, as long as the squat is weighted, try a 10kg bag or 14kg kettlebell.


60 Seconds

These get tougher as you go through the sets but the result is getting your sweat on and massively engaging your core. Remember to use your abdominal muscles to keep yourself in check, otherwise you will uncomfortably transfer the weight to your arms and defeat the purpose of plank. If 60 seconds is too much, try for 30 and see if you can push for more.


Arms Focus

Jumping Jacks

30 seconds

Grab yourself a mat and start yourself off with one of the easier exercises on the list

Push Up’s x 30

Self explanatory, smash out these bad boys as fast as you can.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Reps: 10-15

Try this with an 8kg weight as a beginner and increase if your arm strength is already in a good place.


30 seconds

The dreaded burpee, a full body heart racing exercise that packs a calorie burning punch - doing a minute will burn an average of 10 calories!


Cardio Focus

Running/ Running Machine

Aim for 5 minutes minimum not including warm up.

Yes, running machine is on here but don’t be on there lightly jogging for half an hour, this is a mix of stopping & sprinting to get yourself going. Start off doing 3 minutes of warm up jogging, then pump up that speed and start sprinting 30 seconds on and off.

To do this, high speed run for 30 seconds, straddle the mill (just jump off the belt by placing your feet either side on the machine), rest for 30 seconds and jump back on for another 30. Repeat this process until you can no longer do this, but aim for going for 5 minutes.

If this seems daunting, you can also do this outside before the gym/en route.

Rowing Machine

5-10 minutes

Get the gloves out if you have them because this can take a toll on the hands. You’re going to do 30 seconds fast intense row then 30 seconds steady row, aim for between 5-10 minutes, as long as the short bursts of high energy are happening you are good.


5 minutes

Simple - as far and as fast as you can go in 5 minutes!

Make sure you keep yourself hydrated and warm up before getting stuck in, stretch and cool down once you are done. You got this!


While HIIT workout has gained popularity for its benefits, it may be more likely to cause injuries if you do not do it properly. It's important to be physically well-prepared before engaging in high-intensity interval training to avoid HIIT injuries.


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