Published On By Dimitar Marinov [MD, PhD]

High-Intensity Exercises For Quick Weight Loss

High-intensity exercises could help speed up the weight loss process. Burpees, rope jumping, jumping jacks, or high knees are some simple bodyweight exercises that could possibly increase calorie burn and support your weight loss efforts.

High-intensity exercises involve short bursts of intense physical activity followed by brief rest periods. Doing exercises at an intensive pace may help raise heart rate, improve cardiovascular function, boost stamina, and support fat loss.

In this article, we will look at 15 high-intensity exercises that may support your weight loss efforts. The exercises mentioned on the list have moderate to high intensity, improve blood circulation, and accelerate fat-burning.

15 High-Intensity Exercises to Support Weight Loss

  1. Burpees

    Burpees are a dynamic full-body exercise that is easy to integrate into your daily workout routine. Performing burpees may help elevate your heart rate, burn calories, and strengthen multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

    Performing burpees may boost your metabolic rate during and after your workout. The intense nature of burpees causes your body to continue burning calories even after exercise sessions, a phenomenon called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). It’s important to clarify that the actual calorie burn due to EPOC is typically modest compared to the calories burned during the exercise itself.

    The exercise requires no equipment and may be done in a small space. Such convenience helps maintain consistency in your fitness regimen, which is vital to sustain weight loss efforts.

    Here is how to perform burpees correctly:

    1. Start by placing your feet shoulder-width apart.
    2. Lower your body into a squat stance, then place your hands on the ground in front of you and kick your feet back into a push-up position.
    3. Lower your body to the ground, perform a push-up if desired, and then jump your feet explosively back to the squat position.
    4. Stand up and repeat the movement for a challenging full-body workout.
  2. Lunge Jumps

    Lunge jumps are a dynamic plyometric exercise that may help build endurance and muscle strength in the lower body. Increased muscle mass might enhance your resting metabolic rate, enabling you to burn even more calories and sustain weight loss.

    Including lunge jumps in your workout routine may enhance your athletic performance, increase overall power output, and improve dynamic stability. The explosive movement targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, promoting strength and agility.

    Lunge jumps may improve cardiovascular fitness by challenging your heart and lungs. Improved cardiovascular health supports more efficient fat-burning and overall calorie expenditure, which is necessary to maintain weight loss.

    Consider the following steps to perform Lunge Jumps correctly:

    1. Begin in a split position with your left leg positioned forward and your right leg extended back.
    2. Engage the core muscles and explode upwards, switching your leg positions mid-air to land with your right leg in front and left leg behind.
    3. Perform 10-12 reps of lunge jumps on each leg to boost lower body strength.

    Remember to maintain proper form, focus on explosive movements, and engage your muscles throughout each repetition to maximize the benefits of lunge jumps.

  3. Jumping Jacks

    Jumping jacks engage various muscle groups, including your core, legs, and arms. The full-body workout helps improve overall muscle tone and strength while enhancing coordination and agility.

    Doing jumping jacks could increase your heart rate, providing a cardiovascular workout that may boost your endurance and stamina over time.

    You could easily perform jumping jacks anywhere, making them a suitable choice for quick bursts of physical activity during the day or as a warm-up before more intense exercises.

    Here is how to perform jumping jacks properly:

    1. Stand upright with your feet together, and your arms relaxed at your sides.
    2. Engage the core and keep your back straight.
    3. Jump up slightly and spread your legs apart to a shoulder-width stance. Simultaneously, raise the arms above your head, keeping them straight until they nearly touch.
    4. Perform desired repetitions, alternating between spreading your legs and arms out and bringing them back together.
  4. High Knees

    High knees (a dynamic plyometric exercise) help strengthen the lower body. The repetitive motion of lifting your knees towards your chest engages your lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings.

    Doing high knees may engage the core muscles, including the abs and lower back. Strengthening your core improves stability and posture, making your body more efficient at performing other physical activities that contribute to weight loss.

    The dynamic movement of high knees helps improve flexibility and mobility in your hip joints. Better flexibility may improve your exercise performance and mitigate the risk of injury, enabling you to maintain a consistent workout routine.

    Steps to perform high knees:

    1. Stand with your feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides.
    2. Keep your gaze forward, open your chest, and engage the core muscles.
    3. Lift your right knee toward the chest, slightly higher than waist level. At the same time, move your left hand upward in a pumping motion.
    4. Lower your right leg and left hand quickly.
    5. Repeat the movement with your left leg and right hand.
    6. Alternate between your right and left legs for the desired duration.
  5. Push-Ups

    Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise to enhance upper body strength and overall fitness. It targets multiple muscle groups, including the triceps, shoulders, chest, and core. Push-ups may help build muscle mass and increase your resting metabolic rate, supporting weight loss efforts.

    Push-ups may boost your metabolism during and after exercise. The intense nature of push-ups may increase your heart rate and keep your metabolism elevated for hours post-exercise, contributing to greater calorie burn.

    Here are the steps to perform push-ups correctly:

    1. Begin by keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
    2. Maintain a strong core to stabilize the body and prevent overarching of the lower back.
    3. Lower your body until your chest is just above the ground while keeping your hips, head, and heels aligned.
    4. Exhale as you push back up to the starting position, focusing on controlled movements.

    You could maximize the effectiveness of push-ups by following proper form and technique. Start by performing traditional push-ups with just your body weight and gradually add resistance using dumbbells or a barbell to raise difficulty levels.

  6. Bicycle Crunches

    Bicycle crunches may engage various muscle groups, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors. The full-body engagement leads to a high-calorie burn, helping you maintain a caloric deficit necessary for weight loss.

    The twisting motion of bicycle crunches engages the oblique muscles, which are important for waist definition. Strengthening these muscles may improve the appearance of your midsection as you lose weight.

    You do not require equipment to perform bicycle crunches, and they can be done almost anywhere. These benefits make bicycle crunches a convenient exercise for home workouts or when traveling.

    Steps required to perform bicycle crunches:

    1. Lie on the back with your knees bent and feet firm on the floor, and lightly support your head with your hands.
    2. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground while engaging your core.
    3. Rotate your torso slightly to bring the right elbow near your left knee as you stretch your right leg.
    4. Keep alternating sides by drawing your left elbow toward your right knee and simultaneously extending your left leg.
    5. Continue alternating sides in a controlled, fluid motion for about 30 seconds to maximize its effectiveness.

    Remember to keep a proper form, breathe steadily throughout the movement, and gradually increase the intensity as your core strength improves.

  7. Flutter Kicks

    Flutter kicks involve rapid leg movements that may help improve the mobility and flexibility in your hips and legs. The continuous leg movements in flutter kicks may stimulate blood circulation throughout the body.

    They primarily engage the core muscles, including the abdominal muscles and lower back, along with the muscles in the legs. Flutter kicks help tone and strengthen these muscle groups, contributing to a better posture, stability, and overall strength in the core and lower body.

    You could perform flutter kicks at a high intensity, which may improve cardiovascular fitness over time. Such effects may allow you to engage in more intense workouts, leading to greater calorie expenditure and weight loss.

    Here is how to perform the flutter kicks:

    1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and slightly raised at a 45-degree angle off the ground. Keep your arms at your sides.
    2. Lift your shoulders, head, and neck slightly off the ground.
    3. Move your legs up and down, one after the other. Flutter your legs at a speed that feels challenging but keeps your core still.
    4. Do the fluttering movements for 90 seconds or until you feel too tired to continue.
    5. Repeat these steps for 3 sets of 90-second flutter kicks.
  8. Side Jackknife

    Side jackknife exercise mimics movements used in sports and daily activities, such as twisting and bending. Building functional strength through side jackknife may improve the ability to perform these functional movements, potentially enhancing calorie burn.

    It may target the oblique muscles along the sides of the abdomen. Strengthening these muscles might improve muscle definition and tone, which might improve the appearance of your waistline as you lose weight.

    Here are steps on how to perform the side jackknife exercise properly:

    1. Begin by lying down with your feet close together to set the foundation for the movement.
    2. Place your bottom arm straight out in front of you and your top hand behind your head.
    3. Engage your core and lift your top leg and your torso simultaneously, bringing your elbow towards your knee.
    4. Lower your leg and torso back to the starting position with control.
    5. Perform the desired number of repetitions.
  9. Mountain Climbers

    Mountain climbers primarily target the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. It requires coordination and agility, which engages the stabilizing muscles and improves overall body control.

    You could perform mountain climbers anywhere, whether at home, in a park, or at the gym. It requires minimal space and no equipment, making it accessible and simple to include in your workout routine.

    To execute mountain climbers correctly:

    1. Start in a plank position with your hands firmly planted on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
    2. Start by bringing one knee towards the chest, then quickly switch legs by jumping and bringing the other knee in while extending the first leg back to the plank position.
    3. Continue alternating legs at a brisk pace, aiming for 30-60 seconds of continuous movement.
  10. Rope Jumping

    Rope jumping is a high-intensity cardiovascular exercise that targets various muscle groups, including the core, legs, and arms. The full-body workout burns a significant number of calories in a short period, helping support weight loss efforts.

    Jumping rope could be a fun and stress-relieving activity. Managing stress may support weight loss, as high-stress levels may often lead to overeating and weight gain.

    Proper method to perform rope jumping:

    1. Stand in the middle of the rope so that its ends reach up to your armpits. The length allows for proper rotation without tripping.
    2. Keep your feet together and your knees slightly bent when jumping. Landing lightly on your toes may help reduce impact and prevent injuries.

    You could increase the challenge by wearing a weighted vest or holding weights in your hands. Doing so might elevate your workout and enhance your strength and endurance gains.

  11. Russian Twists

    Russian twists is a core-strengthening exercise that may target the abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back. Including Russian twists in your exercise routine may help improve core strength and stability, which improves strength for daily functional movements.

    Here is how to perform Russian twists:

    1. Start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your feet firm on the floor.
    2. For added support, place your hands on the ground behind you.
    3. Engage the core muscles, then twist your torso to the left and then to the right, ensuring controlled movements throughout.

    The rotational aspect of the Russian Twist helps engage the oblique muscles, which could help support the spine and maintain proper posture.

  12. Jump Squats

    Jump squats involve dynamic and explosive movements that help build strength, power, and endurance. Sports training programs often include jump squats to improve athletic performance, agility, and vertical jump height.

    Performing jump squats may engage your core muscles, improving core stability and posture. Such effects could make it easier to engage in other physical activities that support weight loss.

    Here is how to execute jump squats correctly:

    1. Begin in a squat stance with the feet hip-width apart and your hands by your sides.
    2. Engage the core, keep your chest lifted, and jump explosively into the air, reaching as high as possible.
    3. As you land, ensure your knees are bent to absorb the impact safely.
    4. Repeat the movement for the desired repetitions.
  13. Resistance Band Finisher

    A resistance band finisher is a quick, intense workout using resistance bands to target specific muscle groups. For instance, you may perform resistance band push-ups, banded rows, banded squats, etc.

    Resistance bands create constant tension throughout each movement, forcing your muscles to work harder. Using resistance bands in a finisher could push your muscles to fatigue, promoting muscle growth and toning.

    Including a Resistance Band Finisher at the end of your workout may help stretch and strengthen your muscles simultaneously. It allows you to perform exercises through a full range of motion, improving flexibility and joint stability.

    Here are some exercises you may try with resistance bands:

    Resistance band rows

    1. Tie the band around a stable object at chest height.
    2. Hold the ends of the band with both hands, arms extended.
    3. Pull the band near your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
    4. Slowly return to the starting position.

    Resistance band squats

    1. Stand on the band with the feet shoulder-width apart, holding the ends at shoulder height.
    2. Do a squat by bending the knees and lowering your hips.
    3. Push through your heels to return to the original position.
  14. TRX Pull-Ups

    TRX pull-up is a variation of the standard pull-up exercise that uses a TRX suspension trainer for added challenge and variety. It is a compound movement that targets the muscles in the back, shoulders, arms, and core.

    Using the TRX system may offer added support and stability, allowing for a greater range of motion and control during the exercise. Beginners may benefit from doing TRX pull-ups, or those who are looking to focus on form and technique.

    The TRX pull-up engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it a compound movement that targets the back, shoulders, arms, and core.

    Here is how to perform TRX Pull-Ups:

    1. Adjust the TRX straps to hang at about waist height. Face the anchor point and use an overhand grip to grasp the handles. Keep the palms facing away from you.
    2. Lean back slightly, extending your arms fully and keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels. Your weight should be on your heels.
    3. Pull your chest towards the handles by bending at your elbows and squeezing the shoulder blades together.
    4. Lower yourself back to the starting position under control, fully extending your arms.
    5. Perform for the desired number of repetitions.

    As you become more comfortable with the TRX pull-up, challenge yourself by increasing the difficulty. You may do so by adjusting the angle of your body relative to the TRX system or using variations like single-arm pull-ups or added weights for extra resistance.

  15. Plank Jacks

    Plank jacks are a high-intensity exercise that helps strengthen your core and engage your shoulders, chest, and legs. The dynamic nature of plank jacks may increase your heart rate, making it a great addition to any HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) routine.

    To perform a plank jack:

    1. Begin in a low plank position with your feet hip-width apart. Ensure that your body maintains a straight line from head to heels.
    2. Engage your deep core muscles to stabilize the body.
    3. From this position, jump both feet out wider than hip-width, then jump them back together.

    The plank jack movement could mimic the action of horizontal jumping jacks, challenging your core stability and coordination. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, adding Plank jacks to your routine may bring variety and challenge to your workouts.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can HIIT Exercises Be Done Daily for Weight Loss?
    Performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a daily basis might increase the risk of burnout or injury. Therefore, you should include rest days and varying workouts to optimize HIIT’s effectiveness and prevent overtraining.
  2. Is It Necessary to Use Weights in HIIT Workouts?
    Using weights in HIIT workouts is not mandatory, but it may enhance muscle strength and calorie burn. They could add resistance and intensity to your HIIT workouts. However, you should adjust weight selection based on your fitness level. Experiment to find what works best for you.
  3. How Long Should a HIIT Session Typically Last?
    A normal HIIT session usually lasts between 15 to 30 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down. You should prioritize intensity over duration for effective results. Tailor your session length based on goals, fitness levels, and recovery capacity.
  4. Are There Specific Warm-Up Exercises for HIIT?
    Performing dynamic movements like leg swings, arm circles, and light jogging may help your body prepare for the intensive movements of HIIT exercises. Doing these movements before HIIT may raise your heart rate, improve flexibility, and reduce injury risk.


High-intensity exercises could help improve your cardiovascular function and support your fitness goals. These HIIT exercises include a mix of cardio, strength, and bodyweight movements that may target and work different muscle groups.

Exercises like mountain climbers, burpees, and jumping jacks could elevate your heart rate and increase endurance. Strength-based moves like jump squats, push-ups, or TRX pull-ups may help build muscle and improve functional fitness.

You could modify these exercises to suit your fitness levels and goals. Integrating these high-intensity exercises into your regular workout routine may help you achieve noticeable improvements in strength, speed, endurance, and cardiovascular health.

  • This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before following health tips or instructions.

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