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I Designed This Intense Workout At The Gym For Me – Now You Can Give It A Try

Woman performs deadlift
(Image credit: Getty Images)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may well conjure up an image of Joe Wicks and a series of high knees, squat jumps and burpees. However, the principle of intense work followed by a period of rest can be applied to any exercise and, when done properly, pushes your body to work in the anaerobic zone. This is when your body is working so hard that it can’t get oxygen to the muscles fast enough, so it breaks down glucose in the muscles for fuel (hello, carbs). 

Training in this zone is good for weight loss and your cardio fitness, and is so demanding that your body will keep burning calories post-workout – the so-called “afterburn” effect.

It isn’t very often that I can find the time for a long workout, so I use this type of training once or twice a week when I’m especially tight on time. 

I designed this 25-minute workout for myself and a friend to do at the gym. It’s quick, the mix of cardio and barbell exercises work the whole body, and it gets heart rates up fast. 

To get the most from this workout you need to keep the intensity high, but be sure to maintain good form on the weighted moves. It’s a tough session, but ideal for those who like a challenge and believe you get out what you put in.

Each round takes five minutes. I completed five rounds for a 25-minute workout, but you can do as many as time and your fitness allows.

1 Assault bike

Time 45sec Rest 15sec 

Hit a challenging RPM pace and hold it for the duration.

2 Barbell clean and press

Man performs barbell press

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Time 45sec Rest 15sec 

Keeping a flat back, bend down and take hold of a barbell in an overhand grip. In one fluid movement, explosively push through your heels and extend your legs to bring the barbell up to your shoulders, flipping your elbows under the barbell so they point forwards. Sink into a shallow squat, then use power from your lower body to stand upright and press the barbell overhead. Pause, then lower the barbell back to your shoulders and then down to the ground, moving under control.

3 Rowing machine 

Time 45sec Rest 15sec 

Hit a challenging RPM pace and hold it for the duration.

4 Romanian deadlift into bent-over row

Group performs Romanian deadlift

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Time 45sec Rest 1min 15sec 

Hold a barbell in front of your thighs with an underhand grip, palms facing forwards. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, push your hips back to lower the barbell down to your shins. Pause, then lift the barbell to your rib cage, leading with your elbows. Lower the barbell again, then drive your hips forwards to come back up to standing. 

Lucy Gornall
Lucy Gornall

Lucy is a freelance journalist, and former health and fitness editor across various UK women’s magazines. She is also a level 3 personal trainer and is trained in pre- and post-natal fitness.