You don’t need to run to burn fat, try this six-move bodyweight workout instead

It takes less than 11 minutes, but promises a comprehensive cardio workout

A woman performing mountain climbers, which can be used as part of a HIIT workout alternative to running
A woman performing mountain climbers, which can be used as part of a HIIT workout alternative to running
(Image credit: Future)

While some people love running, others can’t stand the thought of putting one foot in front of the other for mile after mile. If you’re in the latter group, it’s time we let you let you in on a little secret: you don’t need to don your running shoes for a comprehensive cardio session. 

If performed with the appropriate intensity, the right combination of bodyweight moves can bring about health and fitness benefits that, in many ways, surpass those offered by a session on one of the best treadmills. For example, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout can help you lower your body fat, increase your strength and improve your aerobic capacity, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – not bad!

If that brief but impressive CV has left you wanting more, you’re in luck. Master trainer and Sweat App co-founder Kayla Itsines has shared one of her favorite workouts which is sure to get your heart pumping just as much as (if not more than) a standard run. It involves six movements performed back-to-back for 30 seconds, followed by a quick 30 second rest to catch your breath. Repeat this three times to complete the session.

This workout takes less than 11 minutes and uses nothing but your bodyweight, so you can do it almost anywhere. The only piece of equipment we recommend investing in is one of the best yoga mats as this will protect your limbs and spine from unforgiving floors. 

Watch Itsines’ video below for a run-down of each exercise, and practice perfecting your form for each one by mirroring her movements before you start the session. 

Watch Kayla Itsines’ six-move bodyweight workout

A post shared by KAYLA ITSINES (@kayla_itsines) (opens in new tab)

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Chances are you’ve already come across HIIT workouts like this one, and even tried a few for yourself. They’ve boomed in popularity over the last decade.

What makes them even more appealing is their accessibility. They usually require very little space or equipment, so you can do them almost anywhere – whether it’s in your home gym, hotel room or al fresco (though we’d recommend saving that last option for the warmer months). 

They’re time-savvy too, combining short bursts of high-intensity activity with short rest times to deliver a rigorous workout in a matter of minutes. 

If this sounds right up your street but you also want to train in a way that builds muscle, another upcoming fitness trend you might want to try is high-intensity resistance training. This exercise method uses the same principles as HIIT (movements performed at high-intensity with minimal rest periods in between) but adds more resistance through the use of free weights like the best adjustable dumbbells, bolstering its muscle-building credentials. 

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.

When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.

Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.