Best High-Intensity Cardio Workouts to Do in 20 Minutes

Having a busy schedule is not an excuse to miss the gym


High-intensity interval training has been a trending fitness routine for several years. “HIIT is such a big hit because it's the quickest way to burn the most amount of calories you can in a short amount of time,” according to Famisha J-Millman, a Master Personal Trainer and owner of Glisten Girls Fitness, because this type of training can literally transform your body.

Interval training has proven to burn more calories because of the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide by the body. Also, it takes longer to recover after an HIIT workout, which means you’re still burning calories even though you’re not exercising.[slideshow:87372]

HIIT is fast and efficient, but it’s not for everyone, according to Andrea Claassen, a certified personal trainer at SaFire Training, who specializes in 30-minute workout sessions. New moms, for example, should wait about six months before they do any kind of jumping exercises; people with back problems should not perform overhead movements or high-intensity strength moves; and people with feet issues should steer clear from pushups. “It is more difficult because [people] are on their toes in a high plank position,” Claassen says.

As with is the case with all exercises, proper form is everything. “If you cannot perform one pull up without swinging yourself up, swaying your back out and hunching your shoulders up, do not do it,” J-Millman says. If you just go to a gym and try to mimic what you believe you saw someone strong do, or take an HIIT class but don’t inform the instructor of any prior injuries, you could make it worse or re-injure yourself.

Duration is what matters with HIIT routines. There are tons of different ways you can set up your time. “All moves should be done for at least 10 reps,” Claassen says. The rest time should be about 20 seconds, depending on a person’s fitness level. “A more seasoned gym-goer may not need rest at all.” Another way to do it is to do an exercise hard for 45 seconds and rest for 10, she adds.

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