HIIT exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers, med-ball slams and squat jumps are classic weight loss fare, and anyone who's done any form of circuit training or boot camp-style classes will be familiar with them. They're all great for weight loss because they share similar attributes: they're very intense exercises, requiring lots of different muscle groups to act at the same time, and they often incorporate dynamic or explosive movements, requiring you to work harder.
It's no wonder many of them made our best exercises for weight loss list. However, these exercises can be very off-putting because of their intensity, especially if you're coming into fitness for the first time, returning after a long absence, or you're a little older and used to less high-intensity stuff.
However, Tiktok trainer Ella Mae Rayner (opens in new tab), an ex-gymnast, diver and current fitness coach, has teamed up with her mom to demonstrated beginner and advanced versions of HIIT exercises to show there's plenty of ways to do these exercises that aren't quite as taxing, allowing you to build up your fitness over time. Eventually, you'll be able to tackle the advanced versions at your own pace. Check out the vid below:
Watch the workout video below:
@ellamaerayner (opens in new tab)
Beginner vs advanced exercises with my mummy 🤍 ##workout ##fitness ##fittok ##homeworkout ##hiit ##lifestyle ##motivation ##challenge ##fyp ##foryoupage ##gym♬ Lifestyle (feat. Adam Levine) - Jason Derulo (opens in new tab)
Exercises include squat jumps, which Ella recommends performing as air squats, lowering yourself slowly and coming up fast. You can check out our guide on how to do squats for more on this.
Burpees are also included, hated and loved in equal measure by fitness fans due to their effectiveness and incredibly taxing nature. These chest-to-floor burpees are particularly gruelling, especially when done as fast as you can in sets of 10. If you're a beginner, Ella recommends squatting down, extending your legs into a plank position, before returning to the squat and standing up again. This takes away the sprawl and the jump – the most intense parts of the exercise – but still works your heart and muscles hard.
Jumping split lunges have been replaced with more sedate reverse lunges, which again remove the plyometric element, making this move less taxing on your knees and ankles while still toning muscles in your legs, bum and core.
Mountain climbers work with less range of motion, keeping your legs in a straight line and bringing them parallel with your hips, rather than all the way up to your elbows. You get the idea: by removing the jumps, or sprawls, or reducing the range of motion, any exercise can be made more accessible. Fitness is a journey, and we all start somewhere – even if you ca't access the more advanced moves straight away, you should feel proud of yourself for choosing to get on your exercise gear and get moving.
If you're looking for low-impact exercises, many of the best exercise machines to lose weight are extremely low impact, such as stationary bikes and elliptical machines. These great pieces of workout kit can live in your front room and be wheeled away when not needed, and often come pre-loaded with workouts ranging from sedate, low-level endurance exercises to demanding HIIT sessions or spin classes.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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