Hate Burpees? You’ll Love This Low-Impact, Sweat-Inducing HIIT Workout - Women's Health

Hate Burpees? You’ll Love This Low-Impact, Sweat-Inducing HIIT Workout

You and your downstairs neighbours can thank us later.

By Kirsti Buick

We wouldn’t blame you if you thought burpees were a HIIT essential, especially as most trainers treat them as a go-to to get your heart rate up. But not Courtney Black, author of The Pocket PT (HarperCollins, $29.99), who’s put together this burpee-free workout exclusively for WH. 

“It’ll be as hard as a higher-impact session, but great for anyone with injuries who can’t perform jumping HIIT workouts – and less noisy,” she promises. “Perfect for a quick sweaty blast.” Sign us up for all of the above.

1. Woodchop

Targets: Core, chest, shoulders

Do: 15 secs on each side

(a) With your feet hip-width apart, lower into a squat and twist to the left, lifting your right heel, to touch the outside of your left foot with both hands. This is your starting position.

(b) Driving through your left heel, straighten your legs to push back up to standing and rotate your torso to the right, reaching your arms up overhead and to the right. Then reverse back to the starting position. Repeat for 15 secs, then swap sides.

2. Squat oblique crunch

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, obliques

Do: 30 secs

(a) Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and raise your fingertips to your temples.

(b) Sink your bum back and down into a squat, keeping your back flat and chest up. Keep your knees in line with your toes.

(c) Push through your heels to come  up to standing and twist to the right, lifting your right knee to meet your left elbow. Rotate back to starting position, then lower down into a squat. Continue, alternating sides, for 30 secs.

3. Boxing jab cross

Targets: Full body

Do: 15 secs on each side

(a) Take a wide stance with your knees slightly bent, left leg in front of right, hips rotated to the right. Bring your fists up to chin height, and, with your core tight, punch your left fist forward to jab.

(b) Bring your left fist to your chin, twist your hips to the centre, pivot on your right foot, then punch your right arm across your body – that’s a cross. Bring your fists back to your chin and repeat, starting with the jab.

4. Low skater step

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors

Do: 30 secs

(a) Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, arms reaching up overhead.

(b) Keeping your weight in your left leg, hinge at the hips and bend your knees to cross your right leg behind you and touch your fingertips to the floor. Keep your back and neck straight. Push through your left leg to come back up to standing, then repeat on the other side. Keep alternating for 30 secs. Tougher than it looks, isn’t it?

5. Knee drive

Targets: Full body

Do: 15 secs on each side

(a) From standing, take a big step back with your left leg, keeping your weight in the right leg. Reach your arms overhead, twisting your torso slightly to the right.

(b) Push through your right foot to drive your left knee up and to the right as you rotate your torso to the left, pulling your arms down and bending your elbows to meet your left knee with your right elbow. Reverse to come back to start position. Keep going on that leg for 15 secs before switching sides.

6. Three-way mountain climber

Targets: Abs, glutes, triceps, shoulders, obliques

Do: 30 secs

(a) Start in a plank position, hands under shoulders, body in a straight line from your head to heels. Bring your left knee in to touch your left elbow, then return to plank.

(b) Bring your left knee forward again, this time twisting your torso to bring your knee to your right elbow, then return to plank.

(C) Bring your left knee forward again, twisting to bring your knee out to the left. Now return to plank and repeat all over again with right leg. Continue alternating for 30 secs. Sweating yet? 


01. Do each exercise for 30 secs, then move on to the next, resting for 10 secs between moves. “Give each set maximum effort, then rest in between,” says Black. Do three circuits for a 12-min session.

02. This full-body workout is safe to perform two or three times a week, with a rest day between each session.

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