How Long Should A HIIT Workout Be? [Workouts 101]

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are becoming increasingly popular these days, with many people swapping weights for high-intensity exercise. But how long should a HIIT workout be when you want to achieve maximum results?

How Long Should A HIIT Workout Be

The idea behind HIIT workouts is that you can get your heart rate up as high as possible for bursting intervals, with tiny breaks in between each set.

This allows your body to reap the rewards of exercise in less time, which is ideal for busy people with hectic lives.

Let’s dive deeper into the world of HIIT workouts, shall we?

What Do We Mean By HIIT Workouts?

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a workout that has a work-to-rest ratio to keep our bodies guessing.

You’ll work with maximum effort for one amount of time, take a quick break barely long enough to get your breath back, before exuding maximum effort again.

A popular form of a HIIT workout is sprinting for 30 seconds, and walking for 30 seconds. These 60 seconds are repeated for the entirety of the workout.

Since your body is working incredibly hard during those 30 seconds of sprinting time, your heart rate increases, and therefore so does your capacity for burning calories. Intense training can also improve your potential for burning fat.

HIIT training can sound daunting and the idea of it puts a lot of people off. However, the bursts of high-intensity exercise go incredibly quickly – and so do the breaks. HIIT workouts are quick and effective, and they can even be fun!

Group doing high intensity workout with kettlebells.

How Long Should A HIIT Session Be?

The answer to this question all depends on your fitness level and goals. Many people say that the sweet spot is somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes of HIIT training.

The reason for this is that if you’re able to work out for longer than 30 minutes when following a HIIT session, you’re likely not working hard enough to maximize the benefits coming from HIIT.

You’re supposed to be tapped out by 30 minutes!

For people with lower fitness levels, 10 minutes of HIIT training can be effective at getting their energy levels up and improving their overall fitness.

This is enough time to work all of the major muscles and release the flow of endorphins.

As they build their fitness level up, they can begin working out for longer periods. However, a HIIT session shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes.

Anything longer than this will see a decrease in your energy levels and you’ll lose form and momentum.

This can put you at higher risk of injury, so make sure that you don’t overwork yourself.

However, this time does not account for your warmup and cooldown. These will need to be added to either side of your workout routine.

A warm-up should be between 5 and 10 minutes, with the cooldown being around the 10-minute mark.

This could bring the total workout time between 20 and 40 minutes.

The most important thing to remember is that HIIT workouts require you to be working at maximum intensity at all times.

If you’re letting your intensity slip due to fatigue, you’re not getting the most out of the workout. To keep your intensity as high as possible, keep the workout on the shorter side.

Types Of HIIT Training


There are many types of HIIT workouts for you to try. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones here.


Tabata is a very popular form of HIIT workout as it follows the ideology of traditional HIIT practices. Here you’ll work for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You’ll continue this pattern for as long as your set is.

Our Tabata workouts usually look like this:

Exercise one: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8 = 4 minutes

A rest period of 1-minute

Exercise two: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8 = 4 minutes

A rest period of 1 minute.

We continue this method for as long as it takes to complete all of our exercises. There are plenty of Tabata timers online and you can easily construct your own workout with this easy-to-follow structure.


EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute. You’ll create a set of exercises with a number of reps that lasts less than a minute. You complete these exercises at the top of each minute, having the leftover seconds of rest periods.

Here’s an example:

Our list of exercises is 5 burpees, 10 plank jacks, 15 hip dips, and 5 commando planks.

This should take us around 40-50 seconds. We start every minute with the burpees, followed by the rest of the exercises, and have 10-20 seconds of rest before the next minute starts.

This is a great form of HIIT as it allows you to be the judge of how long your breaks are. The higher intensity you work out at, the longer your break will be.

Man doing high intensity exercises.


We love a good AMRAP workout. These are the shortest HIIT workouts as they don’t technically offer any rest time.

However, don’t let this deter you. AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) only lasts for between 5 and 10 minutes, and you can add your own breaks in to make it a true HIIT workout.

Here’s an example of our favorite AMRAP workout:

  • 10 squats
  • 10 crab walks
  • 10 lunges on both sides
  • 10-second plank
  • 10 burpees

Repeat this as many times as you can for 5 or 10 minutes. Make a note of how many rounds you complete in the timeframe and see if you can beat your record every time you repeat it!

HIIT Benefits

There are plenty of benefits that come with HIIT training. Not only does it help you burn a lot of fat thanks to your high heart rate and impressive intensity, but it also allows your body to continue burning fat after you’ve finished working out.

HIIT workouts also help you improve your physical performance. With regular HIIT training, you’ll see an improvement in your stamina and strength. These two benefits will help you exercise better and more efficiently as time goes on.

One of our favorite things about HIIT is that it is quick and simple. There are no tricky workout schedules to follow, and the exercises seem to fly thanks to the quick turnaround between working and rest.

This makes HIIT ideal for beginners as they’ll be surprised at how quickly the workout comes and goes.

This can also boost your mood and energy levels!


Thanks for reading our article on HIIT workouts! The time your HIIT workout should be will depend on your fitness level. However, the general rule of thumb is that it should be between 10 and 30 minutes.

Any shorter than that, you’ll barely feel the effects of exercise. Any longer than that, and you’ll probably not be working hard enough to reap the rewards of HIIT!

One of the reasons why HIIT workouts are loved so much is because they offer you the same benefits of a traditional 60-minute workout in a much more condensed time. Even if you only complete 10 minutes of training, that’s much better than nothing!

TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
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