Interval Training Workout Examples

Interval training workouts are a great way of efficiently burning body fat and improving your overall fitness.

The higher intensity level of the workouts split up with short spans of rest and recovery makes these workouts better than doing cardio like biking or running for long distances. The after burn effect is much better than static exercise so you will burn fat even after your workout is over.

HIIT does not need to involve a lot of equipment though it can if you wish. A lot of interval training workouts are cardio based exercises like running, biking, jump rope, or swimming but can also be designed to use plyometrics (body weight exercises) or with light weights like kettle bells. Those with cardio equipment can use a rowing machine, elliptical trainer, stairmaster or treadmill. Having a gym memberships is not necessary for those on a tight budget.

Guidelines for Interval Training Workouts.

As with any exercise routine, it is important to warm up with a light jog or bike ride for 5 - 10 minutes and some dynamic stretching (not static). As a general rule, your warm up activity should mimic your training program. If you are doing sprints, do some light jogging. If it is a swimming workout, start with some light work before cranking it up. Increase your intensity one step at a time, not from light to all out in back to back sections of your routine.

Warming up properly will help prepare your body and muscles for the work ahead. If you jump straight into intervals without warming up, you put yourself at a greater risk of injury. Once you're warm and have properly prepared yourself for some speed work, choose one of the following interval workouts and challenge yourself.

Interval Training Workout - Fartlek.

Fartlek training is quite unique in that it does not have a specific structure. The idea is to combine a constant speed interval with high speed intervals based on time or distance of your choice. The high and low intensity intervals do not have to be the same each time. The speed and intensity varies whenever you want. For example run at 75% effort followed by walking at 25% then sprint at 90% followed by walking at 10%. This will develop your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems in the same workout. This will add variety to your workout and can make it way more fun.

Workout Example:

  1. Jog 7 min
  2. Fast run 4 min
  3. Sprint 20 s
  4. Walk 1 min
  5. Sprint 30 s
  6. Walk 1 min
  7. Sprint 10 second
  8. Walk 1 min
  9. Jog 6 min
  10. Finish with a fast run for 1 min and cool down walking 5 - 10 min

Total time is 27 - 32 minutes.

Interval Training Workout - Walk Back Runs.

This is the easiest one to do as it only requires a given distance marked out for you. Do a full sprint for your distance and walk back at a moderate pace to slow your heart rate down and repeat. Do this pattern 4 - 8 times depending on your fitness level. The better your fitness, the further the distance you should use. Start at 50 m and progress to 100 m, 150 m and 200 m.

Interval Training Workout - Lunge and Sprint Combo.

This is a combination workout alternating cardio with strength training. The lunges are done using light dumbbells or kettlebells. With the difficulty of this version, I would not start with it if you have never done HIIT.

Workout example:

  1. 15 dumbbell lunges (stationary or walking) on each leg (30 total)
  2. 30 s sprint on a treadmill.
  3. Recover for 30 - 90 s.
  4. Complete 3 - 5 times.

For a home version of this, do the lunges and then sprint a given distance and back to the start so you are back for the next lunge interval.

Interval Training Workout - Jump Rope Countdown.

This workout specifically uses a time limit and not a given number of jumps. Each interval of the workout will drop the time by 30 s for the next interval.. Recovery time matches the previous jumping interval time.

Workout Instructions:

  • 2 min of continuous jump rope revolutions
  • Rest 2 min
  • 1.5 min of continuous jump rope revolutions
  • Rest 1.5 min
  • 1 min of continuous jump rope revolutions
  • Rest for 1 min
  • 30 s of continuous jump rope revolutions
  • Rest 3 min
  • Repeat 2 more times depending on your fitness level
Timing can be tough as you can't look at your wrist watch. Use a wall clock with a seconds hand or a countdown timer on your laptop or iPad.

Creating Interval Training Workouts.

You are more than capable of creating your own workout by changing the exercise, distance, time and/or weight of the intervals. The factors to consider in changing your workout over time are:


Choose a reasonable exercise combination. Doing two in combination that put too much stress on one body part is not good. For example, lunges and squat jumps. Too much leg strength training in one workout.


Changing your workout over time with different distances is a great idea but don't go too long as sprinting for 800 m is a bit too far! I would suggest a maximum of 400 m. If you need more of a workout, just add more sets rather than distance.


The length of time you work out will depend on the exercise you are doing. Hill sprints are tougher than flat ground sprints and will need less time to get you tired. Small increases in individual intervals is enough to make a difference. There is no need to double the time. Changing from 20 s to 25 s will challenge you when sprinting.

Another way of switching things up is to decrease your rest time. Earlier in your training when you are getting used to HIIT, your rest time will be longer. As you get used to it, drop the recovery time so you a spending more time in the higher intensity portion.


When initially starting HIIT, using just body weight exercises is a good idea to get used to the pattern of your workout before adding weight. As you find them easier to do, add weight while leaving the time or reps the same.

When making changes, do not do them every week. Take 2 - 3 weeks of the same pattern so your body adapts. When you make a change, only change ONE factor at a time. Increasing reps AND adding weight is too much of a change for your body to adjust to.

How often should you use interval training workouts? As little as once a week will help but not more than 4 times. This is a higher intensity workout so your body will need rest to rebuild the damage you cause. As your fitness improves, you will be able to work out for a longer period of time and recover faster as long as your body gets appropriate rest. Listen to your body and track your results so you can see improvement as you progress week to week.

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