20-minute HIIT workout

Man in fitness gear standing in a park

As a fitness expert, Haydn Masters has worked with professional athletes (including the Australian rugby team, the Wallabies) and provided coaching for individuals and groups. His H_20 training program is designed to improve fitness, strength and core stability in just 20 minutes per session. You don’t need a gym or special equipment, so the workout can be done practically anywhere and anytime. 

“The workout style is challenging but the quick gains are amazing from session to session,” says Haydn. “It’s suitable for beginners to the very fit.” (If you haven’t exercised in a while, always consult your health professional before starting something new.)

The workout

Do as many reps as you can of each exercise for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break. Then move on to the next exercise. Complete the full set of exercises three times in 20 minutes. 

Squat jump

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands held up in front of the shoulders, elbows bent.

Swing your arms down and behind your back in a pendulum motion, as you bend your knees and squat down. Keep most of the weight on the balls of your feet.

At the bottom of your squat, swing the arms forward and up as you push through the feet to jump off the ground, keeping your legs straight. Start with small jumps to get your rhythm and progress to your desired intensity and jumping capacity. Jumping high will increase the intensity of the exercise but will also place more pressure on your knees and ankles.  

Land with your knees slightly bent to protect your knees and ankles, as you bring your arms down to begin the next jump.

Repeat the exercise for 20 seconds. 

man demonstrating a squat jump


Start in the push-up position and brace through the shoulders, keeping your hands on the ground.

Jump your feet forward and towards your right hand. Land your right foot on the outside of your right hand and your left foot on the inside, so that you’re straddling your hand. Aim to get your feet as close to your hands as possible. If you find this difficult, improving your hip mobility through proper stretching will help. 

Jump your legs back to the start position. 

Then jump your feet forward to your left hand so that your left foot lands on the outside and the right foot lands on the inside of your hand. 

Jump your legs back to the start position.

Man demonstrating a straddle

Speed skater

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides. 

Begin by stepping your left leg behind the right leg, so it crosses out wide behind you. There should be approximately one metre between your feet. Rotate your upper body to bring your left arm down to touch the inside of your right foot. Your right arm will rotate up to the sky behind you.

Repeat on the other side by stepping your left foot out to your left (sideways), then crossing your right leg behind it. 

Rotate your right arm to touch the inside of your left foot, while your left arm rotates to the sky behind you.

Continue alternating between sides for 20 seconds. As you build up your fitness, you can add a cardio component by turning each side step into a faster and more dynamic jump.

Man demonstrates speed skater

Snake push-up

Snake push-ups are a variation on a normal push-up, but with a pause and a sideways movement added at the bottom of thepush-up position.

Start in a plank position with your hands just outside shoulder-width and your legs and back straight. Keep your face, palms and toes all face down. If it’s too challenging to do a full push-up on your toes, do it on your knees instead. 

Lower your chest and body as far as you can while keeping your shoulders positioned over your hands; ideally you will be approximately 5cm from the ground. From this position, rock your body across to the right, so more weight is in your right hand. Then move across to the left, and back to the middle. 

Return to the start (top) position of the push-up by pressing up through your hands. Repeat the snake push-ups for 20 seconds. The sideways movement helps to build strength and stability through the shoulders and trunk.

Man demonstrates snake push up

Bear crawl

Crouch down with your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground directly under your shoulders and feet behind you with hips up in the air. Your knees should be just off the ground and your eyes should face forward.

Crawl forward, starting with your right hand and your left foot, then the left hand and the right foot.  Take four to six steps forwards or more, depending on the space you have available. 

Reverse the crawl, moving backwards to your original position. Start off slowly and increase the pace as you feel more comfortable. Increase the intensity by crawling faster. 

Man doing a bear crawl

Reverse lunge

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. 

Keeping your back in the upright position, take a large step backwards with your left leg.

The front leg should take most of the weight when you step back – aim to have about 70 per cent of your weight through the front foot.

Take your back knee to the ground and bend your front knee to 90 degrees.

Push up through the right foot and leg muscles to step the left leg back to the standing position. Repeat the process on the other leg. 

Alternate left-leg and right-leg reverse lunges for 20 seconds. 

Man demonstrating a lunge

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