This article discusses interval training for beginners to help anyone new to exercise get started. It also includes ten simple beginner interval training workouts to try.
Interval training involves working at your highest level of effort for a specific time, then easing back to recover. This cycle is repeated for the duration of the workout.
Exercising in this manner is efficient.
It improves endurance and power, and because it burns a lot of calories, it promotes weight loss and lowers BMI.
It is also great for building endurance.
Another major plus is the variety of exercises you can incorporate into each session.
These include aerobic activities such as speed walking, jogging, running, and sprinting.
You can also utilize a treadmill, stepper, stationary bike, rowing machine, or elliptical trainer.
Dumbbells or kettlebells are other options to consider.
By varying the type of exercises you do, you will work new muscles and constantly challenge your body.
Your workouts will be more fun, and you will be far less likely to become bored. And, because the pace will vary, workouts will seem to go faster.
Interval training can be challenging for advanced-level athletes, so it’s not something I’d recommend for absolute beginners.
If you are new to exercise, wait until you have some cardio conditioning under your belt before attempting it.
On the plus side, this type of workout is typically shorter than most, making it ideal if you don’t have much time to exercise.
However, you will have to factor in the time to do a Warm-Up before working out and Cool-Down after.
Table of Contents
Interval Training for Beginners Workouts
Following are ten beginner interval training workouts for you to try. Be sure to warm up for a few minutes before you begin, and cool down for a few minutes afterward.
Start your Warm-Up with some gentle arm, waist, and leg stretches.
Next, march on the spot, alternating between raising your hands up and down above your head and pushing them straight out to the front.
You can also do front-to-back leg kicks while swinging your arms, and side bends.
To Cool-Down, reverse your Warm-Up moves, walking on the spot and slowing your pace as you go.
Follow this with some gentle arm, waist, and leg stretches.
The first six workouts below do not require any fitness equipment; however, a mat will make your sessions more comfortable for the first three.
All of the routines are perfect for anyone just getting into interval training. Most will also suit those looking for a workout that doesn’t place a lot of stress on the joints.
Do each of the five moves in the first three workouts for 30 seconds, putting in as much effort as possible, then resting for 30 seconds until it’s time to do the next move.
Repeat this sequence from the beginning. As your fitness improves, shorten your rest period.
If you want to extend the workouts to 15 minutes, add an extra set. To make the workouts 20 minutes long, add two extra sets.
3 x 10-Minute Beginner Interval Training Workouts
- High Knees
- Push-Ups – If you don’t have a lot of upper body strength, do Bent Knee Push-Ups
- Speed Skaters
- Step-Out Burpees
- High Planks
- Alternating Side Lunges
- Sumo Squats into Oblique Crunches
- Squats with Alternating Glute Kickbacks
- Mountain Climbers
2 x 15-Minute No Equipment Beginner Interval Training Workouts
The next six workouts require fitness equipment.
If you can’t do one minute at a high intensity to start, decrease this to thirty seconds.
Do two sets if you want to extend the workout to thirty minutes.
Do the same Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs outlined above, or use your exercise equipment at a very slow pace to start, gradually increasing your speed.
Workout 4: 15 Minutes of Walking
You can do this walking workout indoors on a treadmill or outdoors.
Walk for two minutes at a very brisk pace, then reduce your speed to a moderate level for one minute. Repeat the sequence five times.
To increase the challenge, do the workout wearing a weighted vest. If using a treadmill, try raising the incline.
Workout 5: 15 Minutes of Jogging
You can do this jogging workout outdoors or indoors on a treadmill.
Jog briskly for 30 seconds, then walk or jog slowly for 2 minutes. Repeat the sequence six times.
When you are fitter, try wearing a weighted vest or raising the incline if using a treadmill.
5 x 15-Minute Interval Training Workouts Requiring Equipment
Workout 6: 15 Minutes of Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a fun, full-body exercise that requires minimal equipment.
It can be done outdoors or in your house if you have enough free space and ceiling height to turn your rope.
Start by jumping for two minutes at low intensity, then increase your pace and jump higher for one minute. Repeat five times.
NB: Jumping rope places more pressure on the joints than the other exercises covered here. For this reason, I don’t recommend it to anyone with joint issues.
Workout 7: 15 Minutes of Stair Climbing
Quads and hamstrings are the primary muscles targeted when using a stair climber.
Do two minutes at low intensity, then increase your pace and do one minute at high intensity. Repeat five times.
Workout 8: 15 Minutes of Cycling
Cycling targets the glutes, the hip flexors, the quads, the hamstrings, and the calves.
Cycle for two minutes at low intensity, followed by one minute going as hard as you can. Repeat five times.
Workout 9: 15 Minutes of Elliptical Training
The main muscles targeted during elliptical trainer workouts are the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Do two minutes at resistance levels 0 to 2, then one minute at levels 8 to 10. Repeat this sequence five times.
Workout 10: 15 Minutes of Rowing
Rowing machine workouts work the entire upper and lower body.
Do three minutes at the lowest setting, then go all out for one minute. Repeat this sequence three times, then work at the lowest setting for another three minutes.
Final Thoughts on Interval Training for Beginners
Interval training is a fitness method involving short workouts that alternate between intense super-fast and more gentle, slower-paced moves.
It offers an efficient means of improving fitness and endurance, and it burns a lot of calories.
This type of exercise provides virtually unlimited variety and is perfect if you are easily bored.