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10-Minute Workouts That HIIT It Hard

kettlebell-renegade-row
(Image credit: Unknown)

Not having enough time is one of the most common reasons people give for not exercising, and even though that’s rarely literally true, finding a moment to squeeze in a workout among all the other work and life commitments can be tricky.

The answer could lie not in cancelling your other appointments or getting up obscenely early, but simply making your workout shorter, because you can still do yourself a whole load of good with a brief bout of exercise.

It has to be the right kind of exercise of course. Ten minutes of very slow jogging is a perfectly fine way to spend your time, especially if you’re starting to exercise again after a layoff, but if you’re reasonably fit already it’s probably not going to have much effect. If you fancy a challenge, however, then high-intensity interval training is perfect for short stints of exercise. Power through short intervals working as hard as you can and you’ll rack up the reps, raise your heart rate and burn a decent number of calories.

You’ll find seven great 10-minute HIIT workouts below. We start with more beginner-friendly workouts that require less equipment, continue to more advanced sessions using weights, and finish with a 10-minute treadmill blast that’ll work well for everyone.

10-Minute Fat Burning Workout

Lunge

(Image credit: Getty Images / Hiraman)

This fat-burning workout, inspired by the US strength and conditioning coach JC Santana, lasts just a couple of minutes but forces your body to burn extra calories long after you’ve finished it. Do the exercises in order without stopping. Complete one round at first and build up to doing three rounds, resting for two minutes between rounds.

1 Lunge

Reps 12 each side

Take a stride forwards and bend both knees until they are at 90°, then push back up.

Squat

Reps 24

Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

3 Jump lunge

Reps 6 each side

Lunge, then jump up. Swap your legs in mid-air and land softly to perform the next rep.

4 Jump squat

Reps 12

Squat, then jump up. Land softly and do the next rep.

10-Minute Six-Pack Workout

Bicycle crunch

(Image credit: Getty Images / Gary Yeowell)

Give your abs a quick blast with this 60-second circuit. The first move works your upper abs, the second works your lower abs and the final move works your side abs. Do as many reps as possible with good form in the allotted time, then move on to the next exercise. Do five circuits, resting for a minute between them.

1 Crunch

Time 20sec

Exhale before you crunch to engage your abs.

2 Leg raise

Time 20sec

Lie on your back, then raise your legs as high as you can, keeping them straight. Lower under control.

3 Bicycle crunch

Time 20sec

Lie on your back. Bring your left elbow up to your right knee, then bring your right elbow up to your left knee. Continue, repeating that sequence.

10-Minute Pec Workout

Press-up

(Image credit: Getty Images / Halfpoint Images)

This is another Santana-inspired session, this time focusing on the upper body, and the pecs and triceps in particular. Do the moves in order and keep going until you fail on the press-ups. If you can’t complete ten reps of each move, lower the rep count to something achievable. Build up to doing three rounds in total.

1 Plyometric press-up

Reps 10

Lower into a press-up, then push up explosively so that your hands leave the floor.

2 Diamond press-up

Reps 10

Place your hands together so your index fingers and thumbs are touching.

3 Wide press-up

Reps 10

Place your hands double shoulder-width apart.

4 Press-up

Reps To failure

Perform as many standard press-ups as you can.

10-Minute Ladder Workout

Kettlebell swing

(Image credit: Getty Images / AzmanJaka)

This workout from Olli Foxley is great for improving your lower-body endurance. The ladder style means the amount of reps goes down in each round, and you’ll be able to get the whole session done in under 10 minutes if you move fast.

How to do it

You alternate between two exercises in this session – kettlebell swings and the sled push. Start with 50 kettlebell swings and a 20m sled push. Then do 40 swings and a 20m sled push, and so on, finishing with 10 swings and a 20m push. Take minimal rests between rounds and see how quickly you can get it done.

1 Kettlebell swing

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell in both hands in front of you. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees slightly to take the weight back between your legs, then drive your hips forwards to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Control the swing back down. 

2 Sled push

Load the sled with weight and get into a low position to push it 20m with either straight or bent arms.

10-Minute Kettlebell Workout

Kettlebell press-up

(Image credit: Getty Images / Westend61)

If you want to make big progress in a short time, take on this ten-minute kettlebell blast. Using two kettlebells increases the load and therefore the training stimulus of the exercises. The squat to overhead press is a thoroughly demanding exercise because you move the weights through a big range of motion, which also makes it good for fat loss. The press-up renegade row will work your entire upper body while also helping to sculpt your abs.

How to do it

Do 40 seconds of exercise 1, then 40 seconds of exercise 2, then rest for 40 seconds. Do this mini-circuit a total of five times.

Squat to overhead press

Hold a kettlebell in each hand at shoulder height, then squat down by simultaneously bending at the hips and the knees. Keep your torso upright and don’t let your knees come inwards as you lower. Power back up to the start, then press both kettlebells directly overhead. Return the weights under control to the start, then go straight into the next squat.

Press-up  renegade row

Start in a press-up position with your hands on the kettlebells’ handles. Perform a press-up, taking advantage of the increased range of motion, then row one kettlebell up to your side, leading with your elbow and minimising torso rotation. Lower the weight back to the floor and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Perform as many reps as you can in the allotted time.

When you’re doing a renegade row, taking a wider stance will make the move more stable and therefore easier to perform. To make the move more difficult, simply bring your feet together.

10-Minute AMRAP Workout

Racked kettlebell lunge

(Image credit: Getty Images / svetikd)

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) workouts are great for those with just 10 minutes to spare, and this short session from trainer Olli Foxley hits muscles all over the body so you’ll finish knowing you’ve done some serious work.

How to do it

You’ll be holding two kettlebells throughout this workout, in which you alternate between lunges and another exercise. Here’s one round:

  1. Racked kettlebell lunge – 5 reps each side
  2. Overhead press – 2 reps
  3. Racked kettlebell lunge – 5 reps each side
  4. Renegade row – 2 reps
  5. Racked kettlebell lunge – 5 reps each side
  6. Kettlebell swing – 10 reps

Aim to complete as many rounds of the above as you can in 10 minutes. First and foremost make sure you’re working with good form, and warm up before you begin, because these are explosive moves with heavy weights and starting cold risks injury.

Racked kettlebell lunge

Rack the kettlebells by resting them on your forearms and holding them by your shoulders with your elbows tucked in to your sides beneath them. Take a big step forwards on one leg and lower until both your knees are bent at a 90° angle. Then push back up to standing and lunge forwards on the other leg.

Overhead press

Stand with the kettlebells racked. Press both weights directly overhead, finishing with your arms extended and palms facing forwards. Lower them under control to the rack position.

Renegade row

Get into a high plank position with your hands on the kettlebells and your feet wider apart than normal to create more stability. Row one kettlebell up to your chest, then lower it back to the floor and row the other weight up.

Double kettlebell swing

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding both kettlebells in front of you. Bend at the hips and knees and take the weights back between your legs, then drive your hips forwards to swing both kettlebells up to shoulder height. Control the swing back down.

10-Minute Treadmill Workout

Treadmill

(Image credit: Getty Images / xavierarnau)

If you think 10 minutes on the treadmill is barely worth it, give this session from strength and conditioning coach Jamie Lloyd a shot. Each minute you’ll change the incline and speed, with the former ramping up and the latter slowing down.

How to do it

You can change the exact numbers below to suit your current fitness level, but the aim is to start at a fast speed with 1% incline, then reduce the speed each minute while adding another percentage point to the incline.

  • 1min - 10km/h, 1% incline
  • 2min - 9.5km/h, 2% incline
  • 3min - 9km/h, 3% incline
  • 4min - 8.5km/h, 4% incline
  • 5min - 8km/h, 5% incline
  • 6min - 7.5km/h, 6% incline
  • 7min - 7km/h, 7% incline
  • 8min - 6.5km/h, 8% incline
  • 9min - 5.5km/h, 9% incline
  • 10min - 5km/h, 10% incline

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.

With contributions from