The best strength and HIIT home workout for women — 9 killer dumbbell exercises in a challenging, full body workout. Get all the benefits of strength training and HIIT workouts for women in one effective, 35-minute home workout!
It’s an advanced HIIT workout I come back to when I need a solid, total body workout at home (you can follow Rachel, the modifier in the home workout video above, for the beginner HIIT workout for women version).
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT workouts can burn more calories per minute of exercise than aerobic training (like jogging, swimming or cycling) does, making it the better cardio option when you’re short on time.
What makes this HIIT workout ‘the best home workout for women’?
EFFICIENT. Nine full body exercises that build muscle mass and burn fat in a short amount of time. Hitting EVERY muscle in your entire body — from the legs, butt and thighs to the arms, chest, back, abs and core!
SCALABLE. Fun fact, I originally filmed this home workout when I was 6 months postpartum with Brody (see the picture below). It’s tough, but scaleable. We’ve included modifications for ALL fitness levels. Make this a low impact HIIT workout by following Rachel (on the right in the HIIT workout video) and perform as many reps as you can in the timed intervals.
ENGAGING TIME INTERVAL TRAINING (time drop format). Short bursts of targeted exercises to exhaust each muscle group. But the work time decreases (and rest intervals increase) as you move through the workout.
HIIT Workouts for Women FAQs
Strength Training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
Studies show that people who include both weight training and cardio exercises (like HIIT) in their weekly exercise routine have the best overall results in terms of weight loss, strength and cardio endurance. That’s exactly what you get in this strength and HIIT home workout for women: the muscle building benefits of strength training AND the calorie burning benefits of HIIT training.
Do HIIT Workouts Burn Belly Fat?
Like weight training, HIIT sessions increase post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) — a period of time after exercise where the body is using more energy to restore itself to pre-exercise levels. So yes, HIIT workouts burn calories (including fat) both during and after the workout.
How Many Times Per Week Should You Do HIIT Workouts?
This all depends on your fitness goals, but I suggest two HIIT workouts per week (depending on the intensity). Both lifting weights and HIIT workouts place stress on the body and require recovery time. If you’re a fitness beginner with a goal of working out three times a week, I suggest two strength training workouts and one HIIT workout per week. Try this 10-Minute Low Impact HIIT Workout for Beginners. If you’re more advanced with a goal of working out five times a week, I suggest three strength training workouts and two HIIT workout per week.
The Best Strength + HIIT Home Workout For Women
This HIIT workout combines functional strength training with heart-pumping cardio to make an EFFECTIVE home workout for women (a great workout for busy moms).
And you don’t need fancy gym equipment, just a set of dumbbells.
Medium to heavy set of dumbbells.
I recommend anything from 5-20 lbs. We’re using 12 and 15 lb dumbbells in this workout video.
Follow along with the HIIT workout for women YouTube video at the top of this post. I’ll be your personal trainer, providing form cues, motivation and modifications for the nine full body HIIT exercises.
Your Workout Looks Like This:
9 Full Body HIIT Exercises For Women
Time Drop Format (SET 1: 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest, per exercise, SET 2: 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest, per exercise, SET 3: 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest, per exercise)
Repeat All 9 Exercises x 3 Sets
The Best Home Workout for Women
1. Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch + Overhead Reverse Lunge, R 2. Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch + Overhead Reverse Lunge, L 3. Split Lunge Jumps 4. Push Ups 5. Sumo Squat + Bicep Curl 6. Plyo Squat Jack 7. Lying Tricep Extensions + Glute Bridge 8. Dumbbell Overhead Pull + Leg Lift 9. Burpees
9 Full Body Strength and HIIT Exercises for Women
Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch and Overhead Reverse Lunge
Targets: The legs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, shoulders, back and core.
The single arm dumbbell snatch is a powerful full body strength exercise — pairing it with an overhead reverse lunge builds strength and improves core stability.
How To Do A Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch and Overhead Reverse Lunge
Start standing, feet hip-width apart, shoulders stacked over hips with a dumbbell laying horizontally between your feet. Hinge at the hips and slightly bend your knees to reach for the dumbbell. Grab the dumbbell with your right hand.
Drive through your heels to stand tall as you press your hips forward and pull the dumbbell up the center of your body; using the power of your legs to drive the dumbbell overhead as you return to standing. Think of how you’d zip up a jacket as you pull the dumbbell along the front of your body.
With your right arm extended, bicep by ear, hold the dumbbell overhead as you step your right leg back into a reverse lunge. Dropping your back right knee towards the ground, aiming for both knees to reach 90-degree angles (front thigh parallel to the floor).
Push through your front, left leg to return to standing, and lower the dumbbell back down the center of your body.
Return to the starting position and repeat this powerful, complex full body exercise for the timed interval.
*Note, you’ll repeat this on the left side of the body (left arm and left leg), as move two of this home workout for women.
Modification: Follow Rachel on the right and front rack the dumbbell for the reverse lunge rather than having the arm/dumbbell extend overhead.
Split Lunge Jumps
Targets: The legs, butt, quads, hip flexors, calves and core.
Build strength and burn fat with this powerful lower body exercise.
How To Do Split Lunge Jumps
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, shoulders stacked over hips.
Jump your right leg back into a reverse lunge position; dropping your back right knee towards the ground as you lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle; front thigh parallel to the floor.
Drive through your front, left leg to explode up as you switch legs in the air. Jumping your left leg back into a reverse lunge. Land softy in a bent knee lunge.
Repeat this explosive movement for the timed interval.
Modification: Option to perform step back lunges or 2-pulse step back reverse lunges.
Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and core muscles.
Push ups are a classic bodyweight exercise for building upper body strength; a fast and effective way to build muscle definition in the arms and abs.
How To Do Push Ups
Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Feet hip-width apart. Option to place your hands on weights if you have wrist pain.
Hold this plank position, maintaining a straight line through your spine, gaze slightly in front of you.
Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall about 6 inches away from your body (not out to the sides).
Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position. Repeat.
Modification: Substitute incline push-ups by placing your hands on a chair or bench; or drop to your knees for modified push ups.
Sumo Squat and Bicep Curl
Targets: Legs, glutes, quadriceps, outer and inner thighs (hip abductors and adductors), arms and biceps.
How To Do A Sumo Squat and Standard Bicep Curl
Stand with feet wider than hips, heels in and toes pointed out (sumo squat stance). Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your hips, palms facing out away from your body.
Bend your knees to lower down into a sumo squat, pushing your knees out towards your pinky toes as you drop your hips parallel to your knees.
Pause for a moment at the bottom of your sumo squat, then drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes and inner thighs to return to standing. As you return to standing, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders (palms facing shoulders).
Modification: Option to alternate arms on the bicep curl.
Plyo Squat Jack
Targets: The lower body — legs, glutes, quads, outer glutes and inner thighs.
Bodyweight squat jacks are a great HIIT exercise to build lower body strength, specifically for the inner thighs, while also raising your heart rate to burn fat.
How To Do Plyo Squat Jacks
Start in a standing position feet hip-width apart, core engaged, shoulders over hips.
“Jack” your feet out wide as you drop your butt back into a wide squat. Aim to bring your hands to touch the ground if that’s available to you.
Explosively stand tall, squeezing your inner thighs as you “jack” your legs back together, and return to standing as you rotate your arms overhead. Think, wide at the bottom, narrow at the top.
Modification: Option to perform side-to-side sumo squat jacks or tap downs (follow Rachel on the right).
Tricep Extensions and Glute Bridge
Targets: Tricep muscles (along the back of the arms), glutes and hamstrings.
How To Do Lying Tricep Extensions Or Skull Crushers and Glute Bridges
Lie flat on the ground, knees bent at 90 degrees; feet flat on the mat.
Hold one dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms so the dumbbells are directly overhead (palms facing one another).
Squeeze your glutes and drive through your heels to lift your hips off the mat, performing a glute bridge.
Then bending at the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head (just bending at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells towards your temples). As you lower the dumbbells, simultaneously lower your hips back towards the mat.
Then press the dumbbells back overhead as you lift your hips high to return to the starting position.
Modification: You can always perform this exercise from a stability ball or bench. If lying on your back isn’t available to you you can perform standing bent over tricep kick backs.
Dumbbell Overhead Pull and Leg Lift
Targets: The upper back muscles (lats), chest (pecs), transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, lower abs and hip flexors.
How To Do A Dumbbell Overhead Pullover and Leg Lift
Start lying on your back, core engaged so your lower back is pressed into the mat. Legs straight overhead (advanced) or knees bent at a 90-degree angle (modification). Hold one dumbbell horizontally between your hands.
Alternate lowering your legs, lowering one or both heels towards the ground. As you lower the legs, lower the dumbbell by extending your arms overhead.
Squeeze your back muscles (lats) to pull the dumbbell back overhead to starting position as you simultaneously pull your extended leg back overhead to meet the dumbbell.
Modification: Lower and lift one leg at a time, or bend your knees to shorten the “lever”.
Targets: Full body — the arms, chest, back, shoulders, legs, glutes, hips and core.
A true full body HIIT exercise — build strength and endurance in your lower and upper body.
How To Do Burpees
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
Bend your knees and drop your hips as you lower into a squat, then place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet.
Shift your weight into your hands as you jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a high plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels.
Elbows fall back towards your body as you lower your chest towards the ground, bringing your chest to meet the floor. Press back up and return to high plank.
Jump your feet up towards the outside of your hands, landing in a loaded squat position. Then drive through your legs to explode up, jumping into the air with arms extended overhead.
Land softly and repeat.
Modification: Make this a low impact HIIT exercise by stepping the right foot, then the left foot back to plank and stepping into a loaded squat instead of jumping. Option to omit the chest lower and hold plank or add a push up from your knees. You can always make this exercise a little easier by adding an incline, placing your hands on a chair or bench.
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