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Best Interval Training Exercises

These interval training exercises will help you get fit fast

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Updated June 03, 2011

The great thing about adding interval training to your workout routine is that you can build both strength and endurance fast. Try a 20 to 30 minute routine that mixes and matches these great interval exercise options. Start with a 5 minute warm up and move into short high intensity intervals. Each interval can last from 30 seconds to two minutes, with a minute of easy walking between reps. Go for about 20 minutes then cool down. It'a a quick and effective workout. If you are new to high intensity training, read about Interval Training Safety before going all out.

1. Jumping Rope

Jumping Rope Workouts
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Get a jump rope and you have a simple, cost-effective way to add high-intensity interval training your workout routine. Done right, jumping rope can improve cardiovascular fitness, balance, agility, and strength. Do single jumps for a minute or two, and you'll feel the burn while you burn some calories.

2. Stair Running

Stair running workout
Inti St. Clair / Getty Images

Running stairs provides an excellent interval workout without much time or equipment. Running stairs provides a cardiovascular benefit similar to that of running and is a great way to build sprint power. Simply find a set of stairs and you're all set.

3. Burpees

Burpee Exercise
Photo (c) Mike Powell / Getty Images

Burpees are making a comeback. This tough, simple exercise works the total body and cardiovascular system quickly. Start by standing tall, then squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Quickly kick your feet back to a push up position. While here, you can perform a push if you want a really tough exercise, or just jump your feet back to start position, jump high in the air and repeat. Check out this burpee video to learn how to do it right.

4. Shuttle Sprints

Shuttle Sprints
Photo (c) Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Shuttle sprints are a standard agility and speed drill used by athletes who play stop-and-go sports such as soccer, hockey, basketball, and tennis. To do shuttle sprints, simply set up two markers about 25 yards apart. Sprint from one marker to the other and back. That's one repetition. Try for 10 sprints at a time. You can do shuttle sprints forward, forward and backward or side-to-side.

5. Spinning

Spinning
Photo (c) Stockbyte / Getty Images
Join a spin class and you'll probably do some high intensity spin intervals. But you can use your home trainer or head to the spin class during the off hours and create your own interval workout. Combine the bike with some other body weight exercises and the workout will fly by. Using a stationary or spinning bike is one of the most popular forms of indoor exercise that provides a low-impact, high intensity cardiovascular workout and builds both strength and endurance.

6. Tuck Jumps

Tuck Jumps
Photo (c) Nick White/ Getty Images

Tuck jumps are simple drills that improve agility and power. Start with your feet shoulder width and knees slightly bent. Squat down and powerfully jump straight up bringing your knees toward your chest while in midair. Try to land gently, sink down to absorb the impact and repeat the next jump.

7. Pull Ups

Pull Ups
Photo (c) Photodisc / Getty Images

The pull up exercise does require some basic equipment, or some creativity (go to a playground or find a sturdy low-hanging tree branch, for example), but it's a great, simple way to build upper body strength.

8. Push Ups

Push up
Photo (c) E. Quinn

For an easy, equipment-free total body exercise that builds upper body and core strength try standard push ups. Done slowly, this compound exercise uses muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and hips.

9. Walking Lunge with Weights

Walking Lunge with Weights
Photo (c) Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Add walking lunges and you will build endurance, strength and balance. This one exercise has tremendous benefits for almost every type of athlete. If holding a weight overhead while doing a walking lunge feels awkward, begin by holding a broomstick or empty barbell until you get comfortable with the movement.

10. V-Sit Abdominal Exercise

V-Sit Abdominal Exercise
Photo (c) Stuart Gregory / Getty Images

Finish up your routine with a minute or two of ab work and call it good. The v-sit is a tough core exercise that engages the rectus abdominis, the external obliques and internal obliques. This exercise also engages the hip flexors.

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