Functional HIIT Workout
Page last updated: 14th March 2023
If you're not already familiar with the functional training area of your gym, it's well worth exploring. Functional areas have equipment like battle ropes, a prowler sled and medicine balls, all of which are perfect for a full-body workout that can improve your strength and fitness.
Stuck for ideas on how to train in the functional area or unsure of what to do? We've put together a functional HIIT circuit workout to try, to make the most of this space.
HIIT sessions are a great way to burn more calories in a shorter period of time, whilst strengthening your major muscle groups. Not to mention they are a great time saver!
Complete each of the following exercises for 20 seconds followed by 20 seconds rest. Then repeat this circuit for 20 minutes and make it a challenge to see how many rounds you can complete!
What Is Functional Training?
Functional training is a style of workout that focuses on compound exercises that reflect the types of movements you’re likely to do in your daily activities. That’s where the ‘function’ part of the name comes from, as it helps you to function more effectively as you go about your life. It usually includes exercises like squats, and pushing and pulling movements. You can do bodyweight functional training workouts, but adding in weights or gym equipment will help you to increase the challenge as you gain experience.
What are the benefits of functional training?
Functional training increases your flexibility and strength for routine activities like getting in and out of a chair, lifting heavy shopping, pushing a baby buggy, and climbing stairs. Plus, this workout style will also benefit other fitness activities like walking, running, cycling or sports, by improving your strength and endurance.
Why combine HIIT and functional training circuits?
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and refers to a workout style in which a burst of high-energy activity is followed by periods of lower activity or even rest. The timings can vary, but examples could include one minute of exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest, or if you’re up for a challenge, you could try Tabata which is 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by just 10 seconds of rest, for four minutes. HIIT circuit training, involving a range of different exercises and movements, means you can work through a range of exercises quickly and efficiently.
HIIT sessions are a great way to burn more calories in a shorter period of time, whilst strengthening your major muscle groups. This makes them a fantastic time saver, thanks to how effective they are at building fitness. You can learn more about the benefits of HIIT training here.
By combining functional training into a HIIT format, you can enjoy all the benefits of a functional workout in a shorter amount of time.
6 Functional HIIT training ideas to try in the gym:
You can incorporate functional training exercises into your normal gym routine, or combine several of these exercises into a functional, full body workout.
For this workout, we've combined the 6 exercises below to create a 20 minute functional HIIT workout. Simply complete each of the following exercises as part of a circuit for 20 seconds followed by 20 seconds rest, and repeat this circuit for 20 minutes. This is an AMRAP workout, which means you do as many rounds as you can within the 20 minutes.
Battle ropes - double waves
Ignored by most, the battle ropes are an excellent piece of equipment that will get your heart racing and your body sweating. This is a great exercise to work your whole body. When performing double waves using battle ropes, remember the further away you are from the anchor point, the more challenging the exercise becomes.
Grab hold of the battle ropes. Lean slightly forward, knees bent to a partial squat position, keeping the back straight, chest proud and core tight. Try to hold this position while moving your arms up and down, making waves with the ropes. The aim is to get the waves to travel all the way from your hands to the other end of the rope.
A great way to mix up your workouts and move away from the conventional barbell, this intense exercise is a great conditioning tool for building strength and endurance.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, get into a deep squat and place your hands under the tyre. Driving through the legs and hips, lift the tyre up onto its side while stepping forward, before using your whole body to push it over until it's flat on the ground again.
Kettlebell swings are probably one of the most popular movements with a kettlebell as they can be used to build strength, endurance and power and at the same time recruit the whole body.
Using both arms, pick the kettlebell up from the floor, adopting a nice wide stance. Bend at the knee slightly, pulling the kettlebell back between your legs to generate momentum. Drive the hips forward bringing the kettlebell up to shoulder height whilst keeping your abs braced. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, then hinge your hips back, returning the kettlebell back between your legs and repeat.
This is one of the oldest and most basic medicine ball exercises out there but is still considered a great way to develop speed, strength, coordination and power at once. As an additional bonus, it can be a great stress reliever.!
Holding the medicine ball in both hands raise it up above your head, fully extending your arms. As you hit full extension, flex your shoulder, spine and hips to throw the ball into the ground with power. Pick it back up and repeat.
A nice way to change up your deadlift. This exercise works exactly the same as the standard lift and should be considered one of your key strength movements.
Hold the bag in front of you using the handles. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart, knees slightly bent. Engage your shoulders and keep your back straight and your core tight. Hinge your hips towards the back of the room. Naturally, while doing this, the core bag should lower towards the floor. Pause, then hinge your hips forward back to a straight position. Throughout this movement, make sure you are keeping the bag as close to your body as possible.
The prowler is a great piece of kit to use to build strength, power, endurance and speed. Plus, it’s great fun to use too! To up your cardio game, we're going to be performing prowler sprints.
After loading the sled with an appropriate amount of weight, grab the bars, keeping your core tight and back straight. Drive your legs through the ground to move the sled and sprint to the end of the track. Try and move as fast as you can, this move is all about generating power.
For more support check out our free Exercises section and get a breakdown of how to perform a variety of movements for different muscle groups. You can also learn more about plyometric training with this guide. If you’d like more support in exploring the functional area of your gym, you could book some sessions with one of our expert personal trainers and discovering all of this useful fitness equipment.