HIIT Workout Warm Up: 10 Minute Warm Ups You Will Want to Do

Make the most of your workout, don't skip the warm up. I've got three, fun, HIIT workout warm ups that you will actually want to do.

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Be honest now, how many times do you skip a warm up?

We’ve all been guilty of it.

You haven’t got very long. You’ve got enough time to get in a quick workout before your kids start harassing you again, and you’ve got to get dinner on soon. So you save some time. You skip the warm up and go straight to your actual workout.

It’s tempting. It really is.

But, and I think you know what’s coming, it’s a mistake.

Warm ups are really important, especially when you’re doing a high-intensity workout, like a HIIT session. But, I’ll get into that in a second.

One thing I will tell you now, they don’t have to be boring.

You can make them fun. You can make them as appealing as your actual workout.

In fact, I’m going to lead a charge against boring warm ups, let’s start making them so much fun that you’ll actually want to do them.

Are you with me?…

HIIT workout warm up: warm ups don't have to be boring. Let's start making them fun...

Jump Straight to the Warm Up

HIIT Workout Warm Up: Why Warm Up?

Ok, so before we get to the fun part, let’s talk about the why?

Now I could explain here that warm ups increase your blood flow, your body temperature, your heart rate, activate your central nervous system. They reduce your risk of injury.

They do. All of that. But I think there’s a more important reason to warm up. One that you can relate to a bit more.

Your warm up helps you get more out of your workout.

Let me explain…

You know what it’s like when you first get out of bed, you’re a bit stiff, your muscles are a bit tight. It takes a while, doesn’t it, to feel a bit more limber. Before we can move a bit freer.

Now imagine doing a high-intensity interval training workout, feeling that stiff.

I know this is a bit on the extreme side, you wouldn’t do a workout a soon as you got out of bed, but to your muscles, if you haven’t prepared them properly, it’s pretty much the same thing.

So, imagine trying to do that workout when you’ve got that just out of bed stiff body feeling.

Can you squat properly? Can you lunge properly? Can you move properly, do the exercises with good form? Or, is your technique suffering because your range of motion isn’t great?

I think I know.

Working out with cold muscles is the worst thing you can do. Yes, it’s going to increase your injury risk, but it also means you won’t be pushing yourself as much as you could. You won’t be physically able to.

And we all know giving maximum effort when we’re HIIT training is the secret to success. It’s the secret to soaking up all of those lovely benefits of HIIT.

Your warm up helps to loosen up your muscles. It gets them moving a bit freer. It gets your body a bit more limber. And all of that means, you can workout that bit harder.

You can push yourself a bit more.

You can make the most of the time you’ve got to workout by giving it all you’ve got.

And, surely that’s got to be worth it.

HIIT Workout Warm Up: Warm-Up Tips

Infographic entitled Tips to Warm Up for Your Workout shows the top tips to get your body prepared for your workout.

I promise, not long before we get to the fun part, but first, here are some tips to make sure any warm up you do hits the mark.

1. Foam rolling

Starting any warm up with a bit of foam rolling, if you’ve got the time, is a great way to get your body into exercise mode.

Most of us think about using a foam roller after a workout, but, it can be used beforehand as well. It will increase the elasticity of your muscle tissue, your range of motion and circulation. And all of this helps injury prevention.

2. Dynamic stretching

Focus on dynamic stretches during your warm up. They’re the stretches you do moving. Static stretching, the stretches that you hold, actually have a relaxation effect on the muscles so they can impede your workout performance.

Concentrate on dynamic stretches for your warm up and save static stretches for your cool down.

3. Warm up your entire body

Yes you might be doing a lower body workout, or an upper body workout, but when you’re warming up, warm up your whole body.

Dynamic stretches help to improve your range of motion so it won’t be wasted I promise.

4. Don’t forget the cardio

Remember the purpose of a warm up is to prepare your body for your workout.

Yes, you need to prepare your muscles, but you also need to prepare your cardiovascular system as well. Slowly increasing your heart rate, your blood flow and your core temperature.

5. Include some workout specific movement patterns

This is where we get into preparing for your actual workout. This doesn’t have to be difficult. Just a few light weight, high speed movements that will be included in your workout. It will help with muscle activation.

For example, if you’re doing a kettlebell swing workout, include a few light weight swings in your warm up. If you’re going to be doing squats, yep you’ve guessed it, a few high speed body weight squats.

Whatever movement you’re going to be doing include a few in your warm up.

HIIT Workout Warm Up: Dynamic Warm Up Routine

There's a range of repetitions next to each dynamic movement. Aim for a least the lower number, but, if you're particularly tight in that area go for the higher number. 

I like to start every warm up with dynamic movement that works all of my body. All of the main muscle groups. I start at the top of my body and work my way down.

So, in the start position, standing with your feet hip-width apart…

Neck circles

Circle your head one way 5-10 times and then repeat in the other direction.

Arm circles

You can do these with single arms, both arms at the same time, or if you want to get your brain firing as well, both arms moving in different directions. Or, all of the above if your shoulders are feeling tight. Hit 10-15 reps on your right arm and your left arm, in both directions.

Upper body

Twist just your upper body to the right side, and then to the left side. Make sure your hips are facing forwards. I like to put one arm on top of the other in front of me, but you don’t have to. You can leave them hanging loosely by your side. The important thing is to keep your hips facing forward.

Lower body

Hip circles are great for hip mobility. If you’re not sure what I mean, with your hands on your hips, move your hips to one side, then back, then the other side and then to the front. Repeat quite quickly in a circle like motion. Do 10-15 and then change direction.

Hip Flexors

These are muscles we could all do with stretching a bit more. Start with your right leg, circle your leg in and then out, repeat 10-15 times and switch legs.

Hip Flexors again

If you think your hip flexors could do with more stretching, a few slower pace lunges will do the trick. Take your left foot out in front bend both knees until your right knee hovers just above the floor and then return to the starting position.


Leg swings, swing your left leg up in front of you, getting progressively higher as you do more reps and then repeat on your right leg. You should be aiming for the back of the legs to be a least parallel to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times and then switch sides.

Bum and quads

Deep squats, and I’m talking deep. Go as far down as you can, arse to grass as the saying goes. 8-10 reps. You might want to hang out at the bottom of your squat and move around a bit. It really hits the hip flexors as well as your glutes.

Home Workout Warm Up: The Warm Ups

Ok, Let’s have some fun with our cardio warm-up routine.

The world is your oyster when it comes to warm-up exercises. You could go traditional and do some jumping jacks, a few squat jumps, reverse lunges or some sumo squats. Something along those lines.

Or, you could make it a game...like tag, or dancing.

I’ve got 3 game type warm ups for you to choose from, you don’t need to do all three. Although you may want to.

Each takes 5 minutes. Combine them with the dynamic routine I’ve just gone through, and you’ll have a 10 minute warm up that will have you ready and raring to go for the main event.

You could also use these to get you ready and raring to go for your day. That’s just as much of a workout I bet.

Anyway, let’s get to it…

HIIT Workout Warm Up 1: Don’t Drop The Balloon

Warm up for your HIIT workout with a balloon. It'll get your body moving and you laughing...

You’ll need a balloon for this warm up. It is silly and should get you laughing. Also a great game to play with the kids if they’re bored on a rainy day.

  • Blow up a balloon and get a stop watch ready. If you have an interval timer that would work well. Set your timer, or stop watch for 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 10 rounds.
  • Get into a reverse table top position. So, your belly will be pointed upwards, it’s like a crab walk.
  • The aim of the game is to keep the balloon in the air, using 1 limb at a time. Crab walking back and forth if the balloon gets away.
  • If the balloon does touch the ground before the time is up you’ll need to do 3 burpees and start again.

If you enjoy this one you can increase the intervals, maybe 45 secs on 15 seconds rest.

HIIT Workout Warm Up 2: Hopscotch

Warm up for your home workout with an old classic, hopscotch

Your hopscotch board can be real or imaginary. I tend to just use the tiles on my kitchen floor.

I love taking old classics and making them into a workout. There’s so much scope for kids getting involved and for them seeing that exercising, working out doesn’t have to be a boring chore. It can be fun.

  • Assign each rung of a hopscotch board an exercise. Ideally use the exercises you’re going to be doing in your workout.
  • Roll a dice onto the board. The rung it lands on tells you which exercise to do. The number it lands on tells you how many.
  • Hop, skip and jump as you would normally to pick up the dice, and when you’ve returned it complete your exercises.
  • Repeat for 5 minutes.

HIIT Workout Warm Up 3: Equipment Grab

You've got to get your equipment anyway, so why not make it a part of your warm up...

Your warm up is to get all of your equipment ready and in the place you’ll be working out.

If you’re equipment is stored far away concentrate on walking or running. But, if it’s stored in the same room, try duck walking, lunging, frog hopping etc etc.

  • Get one piece of equipment at a time.
  • Choose your method of getting there. But always carry it back safely and with control.
  • Put it down and get another one.

HIIT Workout Warm Up: Enjoy Your Warm Up

I hope these give you some ideas for making your warm up fun.

They don’t have to be just about cranking out the reps of a movement.

They can be about giggles and laughing. And if they are, you’ll be more likely to do them.

What’s your favourite way of warming up? I’d love to know...

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If you have more questions about HIIT workout warm up then head to the FAQ section...

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HIIT Workout Warm Up: What Else You Want To Know?

How do you warm up for HIIT?

There are three fun and effective ways to warm up for your HIIT above.

But, if you don’t fancy doing those, then concentrate on exercises that will be in your workout but do them at a slower pace.

If you have access to a cardio machine, like rowing machine use that.

If you haven’t, you could try a jump rope, or high knees on the spot.

What are 5 warm up exercises?

This will largely depend on what you’re doing in your workout. It’s always best to do slower, easier versions of your workout.

Some good examples of warm up exercises are:

  • squat jump
  • reverse lunge
  • high plank
  • lateral lunge

How long should a HIIT warm up be?

5-10 minutes is an ideal amount of time to warm up.

You don’t want to make it too long that your energy levels drop before your workout, but you want to make sure it’s thorough.

Aim for 5-10 minutes and you’ll have the sweet spot.

Can a 15 minute HIIT workout be effective?

The short answer is yes. HIIT workouts, even short HIIT workouts are unbelievably effective.

That's what make them perfect for busy people. 

They are the best way to improve your fitness level, especially if you’re strapped for time.

That’s one of the appeals.

You don’t have to spend hours working out. Just 15 minutes can give you all of the benefits you’re looking for.

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