Life can be complicated, but luckily your workout doesn't have to be.
You can reap the benefits of exercise with just 5 minutes of high-intensity interval training. All you have to do is be strategic. The key to making the best use of your time is focusing on compound movements, good form and the mind-muscle connection.
Do that and you might even find that your super-short sweat sessions are more focused (and intense) than your "full-length" workouts.
Try This 5-Minute HIIT Workout
Part strength training, part cardio, this high-intensity body-weight routine — from Chris Brown, CPT, and Daniel DeBaun at Life Time — works your body from head to toe in just five minutes.
Do each exercise below for 30 seconds, resting for 30 more between moves.
This 5-minute HIIT workout is meant to be intense and challenging, but never painful. If you struggle with any of the moves, check out the modifications listed after each exercise. These can help keep things comfortable, safe, effective and fun.
Move 1: Burpee
- Stand with your knees bent, back straight and feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your hands to the floor in front of you so they’re just inside your feet.
- With your weight in your arms, kick your feet back so you’re on your hands and toes in a plank.
- Jump your feet back to their starting position.
- Stand up, reach your arms overhead and jump quickly into the air.
- Land softly with your knees bent. This is 1 rep.
Struggling with burpees? Try breaking up the move into 15 seconds of plank jump-backs (steps 3-4 above) followed by 15 seconds of jump squats or star jumps.
Move 2: Jump Squat
- Stand with your feet slightly farther than hip-width apart in a parallel position with your arms in front of your chest.
- Squat down by pushing your weight back into your heels and your hips behind you. Keep your chest upright.
- Drive through your heels to jump into the air, simultaneously moving your arms down and back for momentum.
- Land with soft knees.
Jump squats aren't right for everyone. If the impact is too harsh on your joints, nix the jump and stick to air squats. Do them as quickly as possible while maintaining good form.
Move 3: Up-Down Plank
- Begin in a high plank with your hands beneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
- Keeping your hips as stable as possible, lower one elbow/forearm to the ground.
- Then move the other arm down so that both forearms are flat on the ground.
- Pause, then take the arm that went down first and plant that hand on the mat. Push yourself up on that side.
- Take the other arm, plant your hand and push yourself back up to the top position of a push-up. This is 1 rep.
- On the next rep, switch the arm that goes down first.
This challenging plank variation develops your core and sculpts your shoulders, Brown says.
If you need a modification, try an incline, straight-arm or forearm plank.
Move 4: V-Up
- Lie face-up on the floor with your legs straight and your arms overhead. Lift both your legs and arms slightly off the ground.
- In one movement, lift your torso and legs as if you're trying to touch your toes.
- With control, slowly lower your body back down. This is 1 rep.
This multifunctional movement is designed to both target your abdominal muscles and improve your mobility, Brown says. That said, it's very challenging and requires a lot of strength to do with good form.
Tailor the move to fit your needs with the butterfly crunch, Brown suggests.
Move 5: Split Jump Lunge
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and brace your core.
- Keeping your arms by your side, take a big step forward with your right leg.
- Shift your weight forward into this leg, then lower your body until your front leg is parallel to the floor. This is the bottom position.
- Jump up, quickly switching the position of your feet in the air so your right leg moves back behind you and your left leg comes forward. To help you move explosively, propel your arms into the air while you jump.
- Softly land back on the floor in a basic lunge position with the opposite leg forward. This is 1 rep.
- Repeat this movement, switching legs on each jump.
“This trifecta of an exercise will work on strengthening your legs, cardio and balance as well,” Brown says.
Again, if jumping is rough on your joints, you can modify the move to make it low-impact. Simply do alternating reverse lunges.
Move 6: Push-Up
- Get on the floor on all fours, positioning your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Extend your legs back so that you are balanced on your hands and toes. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging in the middle or arching your back. You can position your feet to be close together or a bit wider depending on what is most comfortable for you.
- Before you begin any movement, brace your core.
- Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
- Exhale as you begin contracting your chest muscles and pushing back up through your hands to the starting position.