A Total-Body HIIT Workout Without a Single Mountain Climber or Burpee

It’s no secret that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routines are great for squeezing in a quick and efficient workout in a limited amount of time. All you have to do is give it your all for 10-20 minutes, and you’ve gotten in your heart-pumping workout for the day. But personally, I’ve found that a lot of HIIT workouts rely on two exercises I pretty much dread: mountain climbers and burpees. They tend to be go-tos for intense workouts, but if you’re like me and don’t really care for them (I’m being polite here), you may get sick of seeing them pop up almost every single time you do a HIIT workout. Can’t a gal get a good HIIT workout without having to suffer through mountain climbers?

The answer is yes, yes we can, thanks to the workout below from certified trainer and Equinox group fitness instructor, Colleen Conlon. She chose the exercises for this workout because they use different muscle groups, get you moving in multiple planes of motion, and can be done with the intensity that a HIIT workout calls for. “The exercises selected allow you to move at a pace that can result in breathlessness, which is what HIIT is all about,” Conlon says. She also chose them because we told her we just couldn’t bear the thought of doing another HIIT workout with a burpee or mountain climber.

This total body HIIT workout is in Tabata format, which means that you’ll do four minutes of each exercise, broken up into intervals of 20 seconds of all-out intense work and 10 seconds of rest. In those four minutes, you’ll complete eight total rounds of work-rest intervals. Then you’ll move onto the next exercise. Since this workout includes five exercises, the whole workout will take 20 minutes to complete.

Conlon says to remember that to get the full effects of the total body HIIT workout, you need to try to go all-out during the work intervals. “The first two rounds might not feel like a lot, but if you aren’t feeling challenged for the final six, you will not see the reward.” The reward? An awesomely intense cardio-conditioning and strength workout.

If you are new to exercising, Conlon suggests trying these moves using a less-rushed format at first. “Try performing each move 10 times on its own at a comfortable pace with adequate rest in between to become comfortable with the techniques,” she says. Over time, once you feel comfortable doing the moves, you can try upping the intensity and doing it Tabata-style.

Model Tiana Jones is a dance and fitness instructor based in New York City.

The Workout


  • Side Kick-Through
  • Lateral Shuffle
  • Explosive Crab Reach
  • Loaded Beast to Runner Stretch
  • Transverse Lunge to Power Skip


Do each exercise for 4 minutes, alternating between 20-second intervals of intense work and 10-second intervals of rest.

After you do 8 intervals of each, or 4 minutes total, move onto the next exercise.

Follow this pattern—20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, 8 times—for each exercise on the list.

Here’s how to do each move:

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