Endorphins are without a doubt the best side effect of exercise. So, how do we get some? Try some of our HIIT workouts for women for the ultimate endorphin boost.
Endorphins ease pain, improve memory and even reduce fatigue. They also give you that post-workout elation, known as a runner’s high, that can help fight anxiety and depression and boost mood.
One study from Saarland University, in Germany, suggests the big endorphin rush happens after one hour of exercise*. However, while long runs and intense workouts usually get all the credit, a UK survey by Wiggle suggests you can still raise your endorphin levels in as little as 10 minutes!**
Try this full-body dumbbell HIIT workout
So, we’ve designed this high-intensity workout to work every muscle from head to toe, burn a ton of calories and give you a mood-boosting endorphin rush. Whether you’re stressed, short on time or simply fancy an energising full-body workout, we’ve got you covered with our selection of HIIT workouts for women.
How to do the workout:
Start by doing 40 seconds of each exercise then rest for 15 seconds. On the second set, do 35 seconds of each exercise followed by a rest. Continue this pattern until you’ve done 30 seconds, then 25, then finally 20 seconds. If you have the time and energy, you can then work your way back up the pyramid!
Full-body HIIT workout
- Inch worm
- Plank jacks
- Runner’s lunge mountain climbers
- Roll ups
- Reverse lunge to kick
Keep reading for full exercise instructions.
Benefits: This exercise will test your flexibility and coordination while working your abs, shoulders and upper back.
How to do an inch worm:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands by your sides (A). Hinge at the hips to fold forward while reaching your palms to the floor (bend your knees if necessary, B) .
- Keeping your core engaged, walk your hands forward to come into a high plank position (C). Pause, then walk your hands back towards the feet, bending your knees as you walk your hands in. Roll up one vertebra at a time to return to the starting position.
Benefits: Jumping your feet in and out while holding a plank will make you work your abs extra hard. Plus, you’ll target your glutes and inner thighs, too.
How to do a plank jack:
- Start in plank position with your arms extended, hands under your shoulders and feet together (A).
- Engage your abs, then jump both feet out wide to each side as if you were doing a horizontal jumping jack (B). Stay in the plank position as you quickly jump your feet back together.
- Continue to jump the feet in and out, keeping your back flat and hips up.
Runner’s lunge mountain climbers
Benefits: A real leg burner that will also stretch your hip flexors, hamstrings and inner thighs.
How to do a runner’s lunge mountain climber:
- Begin in a runner’s lunge position with your left leg extended back, your right foot under your right shoulder, and your fingertips touching the floor inside your front foot (A).
- Jump off your right foot and quickly switch the position of your feet, so your left leg is in front and right leg extended back (B).
- Continue to switch the legs, keeping your back flat.
Benefits: This exercise will work your abs and entire lower body.
How to do a roll up:
- Stand on a mat with your arms by your sides (A). Lower down until you’re sitting on the mat, then roll your back onto the mat and bend your knees towards your chest (B &C).
- Using momentum, quickly roll back to your feet, keeping your knees slightly bent. From here, straighten up and squeeze your glutes, then immediately roll back down.
Reverse lunge to kick
Benefits: Challenges your balance and strengthens your quadriceps, as well as your glutes, calves, hip flexors and hamstrings.
How to do a reverse lunge to kick:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands on hips before taking one small step back with your right foot, so your toes are in line with your left heel. Your right heel should be lifted off the floor and hips square to the front (A).
- Press into the mid-foot and heel of your left foot to stand, then quickly take a big step backward with your right foot and lower until both legs are bent at 90-degree angles (B).
- Press into your mid-foot and the heel of your left foot to stand, then kick your right foot up to hip height (C). Lower your right foot down to the floor to return to the starting position.
Be sure to perform any of these HIIT workouts for women on a supportive exercise mat. Try the Kin Yoga Mat.
Words and model: Lucy Miller | Photography: Eddie Macdonald | Clothing: Shein Solid Seamless High Stretch Raglan Sleeve Sports Set, £14.99; Kin Yoga Mats Halcyon Moon All-In-One Mat, £65; Skechers UNO Everywhere Rose, £55.99