The 12-Minute Workout That Really Works
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most efficient ways to improve your fitness. Trainer Farouk Houssein (pictured) created this plan to target your entire body in only 12 minutes! (Photo: The Fhitting Room)
When life has you down or stress seems overwhelming, sometimes there’s only one thing you can do: Sweat it out.
The body benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are well-known: You reap the results of your plan (whether it be cardio, strength, or a combination of both) in a super-short workout. I practice this style of training frequently with my fitCAMP training group. The mental benefits, however, shouldn’t be underestimated: After a HIIT session, you’ll feel refocused, proud of yourself, and powerful. The workouts are so short that even the most crazy-busy person can fit one in.
“This workout is efficient and to the point. Anyone who is pressed for time or limited on equipment can do this,” Houssein tells Yahoo Health. “These dynamic exercises combined with the high-intensity design of the workout will build lean muscle and blast fat long after your workout is complete.”
How to do it: The workout has two parts: a 2-minute interval session and an 8-minute circuit challenge. Rest 2 minutes after the intervals before going on to part two of the workout.
PART 1: 4-Minute Tabata Burn
Tabata is a method of interval training that combines all-out bouts of exercise with very short rest periods. For this workout, you’ll do 20 seconds of max effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat this eight times (4 minutes total). Alternate between the two exercises below each round.
Start on the ground, balancing yourself on only your butt and hugging your knees.
This will be your start and end position.
Then, simultaneously extend the legs and arms out.
Bring your knees and arms in to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and hips to lower your body into a squat, then place your hands on the floor in front of your body.
Then, kick your feet back so that you are in pushup position. Lower your chest to the floor.
Then reverse the movement: Press up to finish the pushup, kick your feet into a squat, and stand up. Complete the move by jumping into the air with arms overhead. All of that is one rep.
PART 2: Full-Body Challenge
For the second part of this workout, set a timer for 8 minutes. Do eight reps of each exercise below, in order. That’s one round. Complete as many rounds as you can before the timer buzzes. (Rest as needed.) Record how many rounds you finish so that you can try to beat your number the next time you do this workout.
1. Dumbbell Thrusters
Perform this exercise as one continuous movement.
To begin, hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders with palms in and elbows facing forward.
Then, bend at your hips and knees to lower your body into a squat.
Now rapidly stand up while pressing the dumbbells overhead. (It’s OK to use the momentum of your body to help press the dumbbells.)
Return the weights to your shoulders, and repeat the steps.
2. Renegade Row with Pushup
Grasp a set of dumbbells, palms in. Set up in a plank position: dumbbells and your toes on the floor, arms straight, with your body forming a straight line from head to toe.
Keeping your body in a straight line, pull one dumbbell up to your chest, squeezing your upper back at the top of the movement.
Return to the plank position.
Row the dumbbell on your other side, then perform a pushup. All of that is one rep.
3. Jumping Alternating Lunges
Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step forward and lower the body until the back knee gently touches the ground. Keep your shin vertical, and don’t let the front knee pass your toes.
Jump both feet off the ground simultaneously and switch leading legs in the air.
Land in the same position, but with the other leg in front. That’s one rep.