5 Best 20 Minute HIIT Cardio Workouts For Rapid Fat Loss

Brad Borland
Written By: Brad Borland
January 13th, 2016
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Workouts Cardio
710.4K Reads
5 Best 20 Minute HIIT Cardio Workouts For Rapid Fat Loss
You don't have to spend hours on cardio equipment to burn fat. Try one of these HIIT cardio routines for faster (and less boring!) fat loss.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Lose Fat
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout20-30 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Bodyweight, Kettle Bells, Other
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps

Workout Description

Are you pumped, excited, and downright jumping out of your skin to saddle up to the treadmill for another 45-minute walk?

I didn’t think so.

Mundane, mind-numbing, and boring are just some of the words that come to mind. But you’ve read all of the mainstream noise about how you need to slog away on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical for hours every week if you want to burn body fat and finally get lean, right?

Related: 6 Intense Treadmill Workouts That Are Anything but Boring

There has to be a better way. A more effective and efficient way to scorch the fat and let your physique show. And there is.

You may have run across the term HIIT before (or high-intensity interval training). What is it?

HIIT for Fat Loss

It is a form of cardiovascular exercise that has you performing high levels of intensity for short durations coupled with rest periods. Each of these intervals is repeated for predetermined amounts of times in specified workouts. They are designed to be short to moderate in total workout duration increasing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC for short) enabling you to burn calories long after your session is over.

So, you get the benefits of:

  • More intense workouts
  • A workout that actually holds your interest
  • Shorter cardio sessions
  • An increased post-exercise calorie burn

Here are 5 unique and different 20-minute HIIT cardio workouts for rapid fat-loss. You'll crank up the intensity and finish in record time!

1. The Kettlebell Conditioner

Use this circuit utilizing only one kettlebell. Both the imbalance of the kettlebell and the fact that you will be fighting the weight on one side of the body will have your stabilizers, core, and other dormant muscles working in overdrive. This, in turn, will crank up your cardiovascular system all the while conditioning your muscles.

Perform 4 to 5 rounds of 10 to 15 reps each resting 1 minute after each round.

Exercise Reps
One-Arm Clean 10-15
Double Arm Front Swing 10-15
Goblet Squat 10-15
One-Arm Overhead Press 10-15
Reverse Lunge 10-15
Floor Crunch 10-15

Notes: For each single-limbed exercise, perform 10 to 15 reps for each limb. For the reverse lunge carry the kettlebell in the opposite arm as your stepping leg. The floor crunch can be performed with the kettlebell on your chest or as a standard non-weighted crunch.

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2. The Outdoor Blazer

Nothing beats training outside. Fresh air, no waiting on equipment, and the ability to perform cardio anywhere. Enter sprint interval training. Saying no to the treadmill and its other boring and confining friends will enable you to take advantage of real running drills with no push of a button required.

Related: Power Hour Cardio Routine for Gym Rats

Perform one of the following sprint interval workouts each workout alternating if needed:

  • Sprint 10 yards walk back to start, then sprint 20 yards and walk back to start. Sprint to each 10 yard marker up to 50. Shoot for 5 rounds.
  • Perform ten 30-yard sprints alternating going back to start with backwards running and side shuffles.
  • 10 rounds of a predetermined bleacher run, walking down to start each interval.

3. The Nontraditional Burner

Fat-burning cardio doesn’t have to be relegated to running, biking or rowing. Some nontraditional ways to get leaner are becoming the norm. Sled pulls/pushes, kettlebell circuits, and plyometric work not only are effective but can break the boredom that usually accompanies the traditional modes of cardio.

HIIT Circuit: Jump Rope

Perform 3 to 4 rounds of the following circuit. Rest 2 minutes between each round.

Exercise Reps
Sled Push 10yds
Kettlebell Front Swing 10-15
Sled Pull 10yds
Burpee 10-15
Box Jump 10-15
Push Up 10-15
Hanging Leg Raise 10-15

Notes: If your gym doesn’t have a sled, substitute with farmer’s walks and/or suitcase carries. If you are unable to perform box jumps substitute with jump squats and/or jump lunges.

4. The At-Home Fat Scorcher

If equipment is a factor or you don’t belong to a gym, then an at-home circuit may be your best bet for a fat-loss workout. The fact is you don’t really need anything fancy to get in a great workout – your bodyweight is more than enough.

Additionally, bodyweight training builds real-world strength and muscle allowing you to manipulate your body in such a way that weights and machines can’t.

20 Minute At Home HIIT Fat Loss Circuit

Perform 3 to 5 rounds of 10 to 15 reps of the following circuit. Rest 2 minutes between rounds.

Exercise Reps
Burpee 10-15
Push Up 10-15
Floor Crunch 10-15
Squat Jump 10-15
Bicycle Crunch 10-15
Mountain Climber 10-15
Reverse or Walking Lunge 10-15
Short Distance Sprint 20yds

Notes: For bicycle crunches, mountain climbers, and lunges, reps are counted per limb. For sprints choose a predetermined distance such as 20 yards. If you don’t have access to an area for sprinting (due to space or weather) perform jumping jacks for 10 to 15 reps.

5. The Dueling Partner Punisher

Training with another similar goal-oriented person has so many advantages. It obligates you to adhere to a program, you have to show up for accountability reasons, you are more inclined to be pushed during the workout, and you instill a little fun and competition between each other. If you have a dedicated training partner then you are that much better-suited for success.

20 Minute HIIT Partner Workout

Perform the following workout as a pair. You will start with the first exercise while your partner will perform the second exercise. Each of you will alternate between the two exercises without rest for 3 to 5 rounds before moving on to the next pair. Either take no break between pairs or take 30 seconds – depending on your level of experience. Shoot for 10 to 15 reps for each exercise.

Exercise Reps
1a. Burpee with Jump 10-15
1b. Bicycle Crunch 10-15
2a. Box Jump 10-15
2b. Push Up 10-15
3a. One-Arm Kettlebell Clean & Press 10-15
3b. Sled Push or Pull 10-15
4a. Sprint 30yd
4b. Kettlebell Front Swing 10-15

Notes: Box jumps can be substituted with jump squats, any kettlebell exercise can be substituted with dumbbells, sled pushes and pulls can be substituted with farmer’s walks or suitcase carries, and sprints can be substituted with jumping jacks.

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Eddie Jimenez
Posted on: Thu, 03/22/2018 - 11:39

Hello Brad, l was wondering how l can achieve what is believed by many to be impossible, and that is lose body (6-7% bf. Goal.) and build muscle mass as a type 2 diabetic. I am very disencouraged, and to point of giving. Your advie would be life changing!!! Thank you.

Posted on: Tue, 02/13/2018 - 17:48

Hello Brad, I would like to try one of these for 8 weeks, I am at 15% body fat right now and am only trying to get down to 12% to have more definition, if I keep my diet at maintenance or a bit below maintenance, about how much can I lose?

Posted on: Thu, 08/24/2017 - 10:12

Hello, those plans look quite interesting, looking forward to starting together with my gf. Myself I start at 110kg, but have some core strength from hockey and joints are used to running.
4 questions: Are there any examples for the kettlebell excercises? Also whats a good starting point weight wise (i bench around 60kg, and 12,5kg for hammercurls)?
And for the sprints, do only one of those on one day? How about a warmup? Usually we go for a light jog for 10-20 min before. And from personal experiences maybe, what are realistic fat loss results per month when combined with a healty diet?
Thanks for sharing, greetings from Germany.

Luv kashyap
Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2016 - 23:41

Really awesome tips....thanks Borland

Savannah D.
Posted on: Tue, 03/01/2016 - 17:41

Incredible bio. Thank you for your service and for the guidance you are giving us all here on Muscle & Strength. I'm using some of these to build an appropriate HIIT plan for myself.

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Posted on: Wed, 03/02/2016 - 22:38

Thanks so much, Savannah!

Richard Schultz
Posted on: Sun, 02/28/2016 - 12:32

I really like these different exercises; effective and non boring to say the least. Kudos, and please Keep it up!!

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Posted on: Tue, 03/01/2016 - 10:17

Thanks, Richard!

Lori Parnell
Posted on: Sun, 01/17/2016 - 12:18

Awesome article!

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Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2016 - 13:43

Thanks, Lori.

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Posted on: Wed, 01/13/2016 - 21:25

If you give one of these a try, let me know how you do...

Phil Sousa
Posted on: Sun, 01/17/2016 - 13:38

Congrats on your article and your background! I know the 4. The At-Home Fat Scorcher is a blast. Done consistently it's very effective. I come from Bodybuilding and Muay-Thai, during my Muay-Thai stages I drop a lot of weight and this is because the routines we have there demand it. The approach is one minute full speed, one minute recover. BMI goes way down!

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Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2016 - 13:44

Thanks, Phil!

Posted on: Fri, 03/31/2017 - 16:47

Thanks for this. I did #4 today as a Tabata session, so 20 seconds of each exercise with 10 seconds between, then rest 2 minutes for a total of 6 sets. Time went by really quickly. I'll be 50 in a couple months and my hr was getting up to around 160ish, is that ok or too high?