HIIT Training for the Ultimate Home Workout | Ascent at Marmalade

Maximizing Your Home Workout: Effective High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for Small Spaces

Looking for a way to squeeze in an effective workout without a lot of time or space? High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) might be just what you need. These short, powerful workouts are designed to deliver maximum impact, making them perfect for anyone with a busy schedule. Whether you’re in a small apartment or a cozy home office, HIIT can fit into your lifestyle seamlessly.

Why HIIT is Perfect for Small Spaces and Busy Schedules

HIIT is a game-changer for those with limited space and time. If your living room or bedroom is doubling as your fitness studio, you’re in luck. These workouts focus on high-intensity exercises that can be done without large equipment, often using just your body weight, and since all HIIT exercises can be done in a space equal to your wingspan in both directions, it’s great for small spaces. Think about exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, and high knees—all of which can be performed in a relatively confined area.  

What’s more, the flexibility of HIIT is ideal for a tight schedule. HIIT workouts are designed to maximize your effort in short bursts, which makes them a perfect fit for busy schedules. Even if you only have 20 minutes to spare, you can still fit in a highly effective workout. Traditional exercises might require an hour or more, but HIIT cuts down this time significantly without sacrificing the benefits. In fact, studies show that you can burn more calories in a 20-minute HIIT session than a longer, moderate-intensity workout. 

Understanding Effective Exercises in HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is about maximizing effort in minimal time, making each second count. To get the most out of your HIIT sessions, it’s crucial to choose exercises that elevate your heart rate quickly and effectively. Whether you’re in a small apartment or a hotel room, these exercises are designed to pack a punch, helping you burn calories and build muscle efficiently. Here are some example exercises to incorporate into your HIIT routine:

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a classic, full-body exercise that gets your heart rate up while engaging multiple muscle groups. They’re excellent for improving cardiovascular endurance and can be done virtually anywhere, making them perfect for small spaces. To do a jumping jack, start with your feet together and hands at your sides, then jump to a position with your legs spread wide and arms overhead, returning to the starting position in one smooth motion, repeat until the allotted time is out.


Pushups are a fantastic bodyweight exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, making them ideal for a full-body workout in a small space. To do them properly, begin in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, and lower yourself until your chest nearly touches the floor. Push back up to the starting position while engaging your core throughout the movement to maintain proper form. Regular practice can significantly improve your upper body strength and overall stability.


Burpees are a full-body exercise that combines a squat, plank, and jump to provide a high-intensity workout, boosting both your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. They work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core, making them incredibly effective for burning calories and building endurance. To do a proper burpee, start in a standing position, then lower into a squat with your hands on the floor. Kick your feet back into a plank position, complete a push-up, return your feet to the squat position, and explosively jump into the air with your arms raised.


Crunches are a fantastic core-strengthening exercise that targets your abdominal muscles, helping to build a strong, toned midsection. To perform crunches properly, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, elbows pointing out. Engage your core, lifting your shoulders off the ground while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Avoid pulling your neck; instead, use your abs to lift your upper body. Slowly lower back down and repeat.


Lunges are a fantastic lower-body exercise that primarily targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also engaging your core for balance. To perform a lunge correctly, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle, ensuring your front knee is directly above your ankle and your back knee hovers just above the floor. Push back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Proper form is key—keep your torso upright and engage your core throughout the movement.

Wall Sits

Wall sits might look simple, but they’re a powerhouse when it comes to building muscle and endurance. This exercise primarily targets your quadriceps, glutes, and calves, enhancing lower body strength and stability. To execute a proper wall sit, stand with your back against a wall, slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, and hold this position. Ensure your back remains flat against the wall and your knees stay above your ankles. Feel the burn as you maintain this posture, aiming to hold it longer each time to build endurance.


Squats are a foundational exercise that targets your lower body and core, focusing on muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform a proper squat, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, keep your chest up, and lower your body by bending your knees as if sitting back into a chair. Ensure your knees don’t pass over your toes and push through your heels to return to the standing position. Remember, good form is key to maximizing benefits and avoiding injury.

Triceps Dips

Triceps dips are a fantastic bodyweight exercise that target the triceps, shoulders, and chest, helping you build upper-body strength without the need for gym equipment. To perform triceps dips correctly, find a stable chair or bench. Start by sitting on the edge, place your hands next to your hips, and slide your butt off the edge. Keep your feet together and bend your elbows to lower your body until your arms form a 90-degree angle. Push through your palms to return to the starting position.


Planks are a powerhouse of an exercise that target your core, shoulders, and back, enhancing both muscle building and endurance. Holding the plank position not only strengthens these key muscle groups but also improves overall stability and posture. To execute a proper plank, position yourself face down with your forearms and toes on the floor, ensuring your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Keep your core tight, avoiding any sagging or arching in your back. Aim to hold this position for as long as possible, gradually increasing your time as your strength and endurance improve.

High Steps

High steps are a fantastic cardio exercise for small spaces, providing numerous benefits such as boosting your heart rate, improving coordination, and strengthening your legs and core. To do high steps properly, follow these steps: stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, lift one knee towards your chest as high as possible, then quickly switch to the other knee, mimicking a marching motion. It’s essential to maintain a brisk pace while swinging your arms in sync to maximize the workout’s effectiveness.

Mountain Climber

Mountain climbers are a fantastic full-body workout that primarily targets your core, but also engages your shoulders, arms, and legs. To do them properly, start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line and quickly drive one knee towards your chest, then switch legs in a running motion. Remember to keep your core tight and your movements controlled to maximize benefit and reduce the risk of injury. The intense, high-speed nature of mountain climbers makes them an excellent choice for boosting cardiovascular fitness and burning calories efficiently.

Stepping onto a Chair

Stepping onto a chair is a fantastic, space-saving HIIT exercise that targets your lower body and boosts cardiovascular fitness. This straightforward movement primarily engages your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, providing a full-leg workout while also increasing your heart rate. To do this exercise correctly, begin by standing in front of a sturdy chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step onto the chair with one foot, press through your heel to lift your body up, then step back down and switch legs. To maximize the benefits and ensure safety, keep your core engaged, avoid leaning forward, and always check the stability of the chair before starting.

Creating a HIIT Workout Plan

Now that you understand how to do each of these exercises effectively, (understand that HIIT is not limited to the above exercises. As long as the exercise can be done without any equipment and in a limited amount of space, and it gets your heart pumping or your muscles firing, then it can be worked into your HIIT workout!), you can now begin creating a HIIT workout plan.

Consider which of these exercises will target areas you want to strengthen. For example, if you struggle with knee pain after running or daily activity (and you have ruled out injury with a doctor), exercises like squats, lunges, and stepping onto a chair can be beneficial. Compile a list of workouts you’d like to focus on or incorporate a variety of exercises for a full-body workout. Choose 6 to 12 exercises to either complete once or cycle through for a longer workout.

For beginners, we recommend working out in time bursts, rather than counting each push-up, lunge, jumping jack, etc., as focusing on how long you do each exercise is most important for an effective and heart-pumping workout. As you grow more advanced in HIIT, you can set numbered goals for each time burst.

Using a timer to keep track of time, try to do as many of each exercise in the time you’ve set your timer to, whether it’s 30 second or 60 second intervals. Always start out with low-intensity workouts to warm up, such as wall-sits, planks, and jogging in place, for about 30 seconds each. Then go into 30 to 60 second intervals of each of your chosen exercises, with 15-second breaks in between. As you become more advanced, you can incorporate more exercises or replace existing exercises with ones that are higher intensity. Starting out, your HIIT workout should be about 7-10 minutes long, with rest days every other day. As you adjust your HIIT workout to your fitness goals and endurance, your HIIT workout can last up to 30 minutes.

Utilizing HIIT Apps and Video Resources

Numerous apps are available that have structured HIIT workouts to aid your personal workout journey. These apps go into depth about how to do each exercise and time you through each exercise and rest period, making it simple to follow along. If you prefer a more visual demonstration, there are plenty of video resources that allow you to watch and follow along with a trainer doing the workout, ensuring you’re on track every step of the way. Keep in mind that these resources are more difficult to personalize, but many offer workout plans that focus on the core or other specific areas of the body.

Ultimately, the key to successful HIIT workouts in small spaces lies in commitment and creativity. Whether you’re just starting or looking to spice up your routine, remember that consistency and variety can significantly amplify your results. Embrace the challenge, keep pushing your limits, and let each session bring you one step closer to your fitness goals. You’ve got this! 

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