10 Best Interval Training Exercises

Interval Workouts

The great thing about adding interval training to your workout routine is that you can build both strength and endurance fast. You can put together a 20- to a 30-minute routine that mixes and matches these great interval exercise options.

For a quick and effective workout, start with a 5-minute warm-up then move into short high-intensity intervals. Each interval can last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, with a minute of easy walking between reps. Go for about 20 minutes then cool down.

Below you will find instructions and benefits for the following interval exercises: Jump rope, stair running, burpees, shuttle sprints, spinning, dumbbell squat to press, pull-ups, push-ups, walking lunge with weights, and v-sits.

Jumping Rope

Woman Jumping Rope at Sunset
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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.

Stair Running

Woman running bleachers

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Running stairs provides an excellent interval workout without much time or equipment (all you need is a set of stairs). The cardiovascular benefits are similar to running. Stairs are a great way to build sprint power.


Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Burpees are making a comeback. This simple but strengthening exercise quickly works your whole body, especially your cardiovascular system.

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, perform a push-up if you want a really tough exercise. You can also just jump your feet back to start position, jump high in the air, and repeat. Watch a burpee video if you want to make sure you are doing it right.

Shuttle Sprints

netherlands Training Session-2010 FIFA World Cup
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Shuttle sprints are a standard drill for agility and speed 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 to do 10 sprints at a time. You can do shuttle sprints forward, forward, and backward or side-to-side.


Unrecognizable athlete cycling on stationary bike in a health club.
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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 bodyweight 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.

Dumbbell Squat to Press

Woman with dumbbells
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Weights are an easy way to add intensity to an exercise. Combine a dumbbell squat with an overhead press to create a full-body workout that challenges your arms and shoulders, core, quads, and glutes.

Pull Ups

A pull-up.
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The pull-up exercise requires 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.

Push Ups

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

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.

Walking Lunge With Weights

Woman doing barbell walking lunges with friends
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Add walking lunges and you will build endurance, strength, and balance. This exercise has tremendous benefits for almost every type of athlete.

If it feels awkward holding a weight overhead while doing a walking lunge, begin by holding a broomstick or empty barbell until you get more comfortable with the movement.

V-Sit Abdominal Exercise

Boat Pose - Navasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

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.

10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Elizabeth Quinn, MS
Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist, sports medicine writer, and fitness consultant for corporate wellness and rehabilitation clinics.