3 Bodyweight HIIT Workouts for Women to Get Toned



Don’t want to spend hours putting one foot in front of the other on the treadmill? Don’t want to lift weights and get yoked? Then High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, might be for you.

HIIT is a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time and get a slim, toned body without living at the gym. HIIT workouts are super versatile, from beginner-friendly options to advanced HIIT workout circuits applicable only at the gym.

But you don't have to have a gym membership to benefit from HIIT.

That's where bodyweight HIIT workouts come in, like those we're going to share in this post, can be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone.

Read on to get a few HIIT workout ideas that require no workout equipment, before learning more about why interval training is so effective. Let's start with a quick HIIT workout.

Workout 1: Bodyweight EMOM Workout

EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute. An EMOM workout aims to perform a set number of reps each minute. Once you finish, you can rest until the start of the next minute.

There’s nothing too complicated about this. All you need is a round-timer and a little free space.

Here are some bodyweight exercises in an EMOM workout you can use:

  • 10 burpees
  • 15 pushups
  • 15 squats
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 20 lunges

Complete each exercise within 1 minute (i.e. 10 burpees within 1 minute), then rest, then move on to the next.

You can start out at 15 minutes. That means 3 sets of this 5-exercise circuit. 15 minutes doesn't sound like much, but you'll get a hell of a high intensity workout (physically and mentally) by the end of it.

If you find you’re able to get through the 15 minutes without keeling over, try increasing it to 20 or 25 minutes for an even better workout.

Workout 2: Bodyweight Tabata Workout


A Tabata workout is similar in some ways to EMOM. Both don’t require too much thought - just listen to the timer and hammer out your reps.

With Tabata training, though, you don't count your reps - it's all about time. You'll do sets of 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 total sets. That makes 4 minutes' workout time.

At the end of each 4 minutes, take 1-minute rest. Repeat this 3-5 times, for 15-25 minutes total.

In each active time (20 seconds each), you work as hard as you can. Each workout duration is only 20 seconds, so go all out.

Here’s a bodyweight Tabata circuit for inspiration:

  • Tabata One: jumping jacks (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 8 sets)
  • Tabata Two: mountain climbers (as above)
  • Tabata Three: shoulder touches (as above)
  • Tabata Four: crunches (as above)
  • Tabata Five: 180-degree squat jumps (as above)

Again it’s not going to feel like much when you start, but you’ll be hurting by the end of it.

There are a thousand different types of exercises you can do here, as well. So if you want to focus specifically on core strength, legs, or upper body, feel free to substitute any other exercise that works for you.

Workout 3: Bodyweight Jump Rope HIIT Workout

Woman doing HIIT Workout with Jump Rope

Jump rope is a super efficient way to work out, burn calories, lose fat, and get toned. So it goes hand-in-hand with HIIT, as a short jump rope workout can be just as beneficial for you as an hour on the treadmill.

There are a bunch of ways you can set up a HIIT workout with the rope. You can do it just like a Tabata: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeated 8 times, then do this routine 3-5 times in total.

You can also alternate between different styles and speeds - e.g. right or left leg only, fast or slow.

Here's a HIIT cardio workout that's a little different from the Tabata, but utilizes a similar style. Remember to keep your feet at hip width and your arms shoulder width apart for the best starting position.

  • Jump rope (normal) 30 seconds.
  • 10 seconds rest.
  • Jump rope (left foot) 30 seconds.
  • 10 seconds rest.
  • Jump rope (right foot) for 30 seconds.
  • 10 seconds rest.
  • Jump rope (high knees) 30 seconds.
  • 10 seconds rest.
  • Jump rope (fast) 30 seconds.
  • 10 seconds rest.
  • Jump rope (normal) 30 seconds.
  • 10 seconds rest.

That gives you four minutes - rest for a minute once you’re done, and then repeat 3-5 minutes, like your Tabata.


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Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT Workouts)

Why is HIIT the flavor of the month anyway? Why do people rave about this style of workout?

HIIT exercise is not all fluff. There are some pretty big benefits, for everyone - but even more so for women.

Here’s a rundown of the biggest benefits of HIIT workouts.

They’re Efficient

The best part about HIIT workouts is how efficient they are. They're specifically designed to get the heart pumping and calories burning in a short space of time. You can sneak in a 25-minute workout and get similar benefits to a full 1-hour gym session, which is perfect if you're on a busy schedule and want to burn fat fast.

The best HIIT exercises are high intensity exercises, but they can take less hours of your time. You can fit in a full body HIIT workout in half the time, while experiencing the best outcomes you can expect from the gym.

HIIT Helps Maintain Bone Density

woman doing bodyweight HIIT workout push ups

You might think working out is good for building muscle, losing fat, and improving cardiovascular health. But long-term, the benefit that you’re likely to notice the most is improved bone health.

This is a benefit that’s particularly big for women. Women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis as they age, due to hormonal differences and the fact that they have thinner bones.

80% of the 10 million Americans who suffer from osteoporosis, in fact, are female.

HIIT has proven benefits for bone health, helping you maintain bone density and avoid brittle bones later in life.

HIIT also Builds Lean Muscle and Strength

HIIT is also excellent for building muscle - in particular, lean muscle. They promote hypertrophy (muscle growth), but the cardiovascular element of HIIT workouts ensure you’ll stay lean and won’t get too bulky, despite getting stronger over time.

HIIT Boosts Metabolism

We come to possibly the biggest benefit of HIIT. HIIT is one of the best activities to boost metabolism, which is the rate at which the body passively consumes energy.

That means, after a HIIT workout, you’ll continue to burn calories even though your workout is finished, making it great for fat loss.

This study backs this up, finding significant benefits in metabolic rate for the women participants, compared to aerobic and resistance training.

Suitable for all Fitness Levels

HIIT is great for anyone - particularly bodyweight HIIT workouts, like those we’re talking about here. Whether you’ve literally never worked out before, or you’re a fitness geek looking for something new, you can adapt your HIIT workout to fit you.

They’re Versatile, Fun, and Interesting

Finally, one of the most underrated benefits is that HIIT workouts are more fun. It’s less repetitive than lifting weights or running on the treadmill, which is a huge benefit if you’re someone who struggles to get motivated to work out.

If your workout starts to get boring, you can switch it up. Change your Tabata to an EMOM workout, or maybe try a jump rope Tabata. There are endless possibilities, which allows you to keep it fresh and exciting.

Think you've tried them all? There are always more HIIT workouts to get your blood pumping.

Are HIIT Workouts Effective for Women?

woman doing crunches

HIIT workouts are great for anyone, but especially for women.

One reason is that a lot of women want to get stronger and toned, but don’t want to get too bulky, which is what HIIT is perfect for. HIIT also has benefits for bone health, which we already established is a bigger issue for women than for men.

How Long Should a HIIT Workout be for Women?

HIIT workouts can be any length of time - from just a few minutes to 30+. But generally, you’re looking at 15-25 minutes.

You can adjust the length of your workout to your fitness levels. When you’re just starting out, you might want to go for 15 minutes, and eventually work your way up to 25-30 minutes.

How Many Times a Week Should I Do HIIT Workouts?

Aim to do HIIT workouts 2-3 times per week. Though this can vary depending on your fitness levels.

HIIT workouts are high-intensity (it even says so in the name). So you should make sure you give your body enough time to recover in between each intense workout.

Are HIIT Workouts Good for Weight Loss?

HIIT workouts are amazing for weight loss. The American Council of Sports Medicine says that HIIT workouts burn more calories per minute than aerobic exercise, like running or cycling. 

This is true during the workout, as well as after you’re finished. The metabolic boost from HIIT burns an additional 6-15% more calories, on top of what you burn when you’re working out.

Do HIIT Workouts Help With Belly Fat?

woman working out her core on a mat

HIIT workouts are great for belly fat too. The metabolic boost and calorie-burning properties we’ve already established. And a lot of exercises you do in HIIT workouts target the core, which is great for cutting down belly fat.

There are tons of ways to switch things up too, so your sets never become dull or boring. Try switching up your plank position after your own HIIT workouts from right knee to left knee, and alternate right to left arm for stabilization.

Is HIIT Better Than Strength Training for Women?

In the end, it depends on your own preferences. Strength training can work for women just fine. But some may prefer to build strength in a way that maintains a lean, slim look. For that, HIIT is perfect.

Of course, if you want to get bigger, and build serious muscle, there's no reason women can't do traditional weight training, especially something like a full body dumbbell workout. But HIIT allows you to build muscle and get stronger, all without putting on a noticeable boost in muscle mass.

Combine that with the fat loss and cardiovascular benefits of HIIT, and it’s easy to see why HIIT workouts are so popular today.