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It’s time to amp up the intensity. Circuit training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and Tabata training produce killer results in little time.

Circuit training involves moving from one workout directly to the next, and HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by short rest periods. In Tabata (a form of HIIT), you alternate 20 seconds of intense work and 10 seconds of rest for 8 cycles. Hope you like sweat.

Some studies have found that HIIT workouts help people burn fat.Heydari M, et al. (2012). The effect of high-intensity intermittent exercise on body composition of overweight young males. DOI: 10.1155/2012/480467 Other research suggests HIIT is better than moderate exercise at reducing the risk of disease.Karisen T, et al. (2017). High intensity interval training for maximizing health outcomes. DOI: 10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.006 (Eat dust, moderate exercise!)

The only tricky bit is making sure you keep on top of those timed intervals while working up an intense sweat.

Forgo fumbling with a watch while staying accountable (yep, rest for only 30 seconds — we see you, lollygagger!). Instead, try one — or all — of these awesome mobile apps to keep you on point.

EXPLODE. Rest. EXPLODE. Rest. EXPLODE. Rest. Come on, app, you can beep now…

A HIIT Interval Timer

This no-frills app is a simple way to time all those interval runs without fumbling with the buttons on a treadmill. Set custom workouts and follow the color-coded interface to know how many sets are left before it’s time to hit the showers.

HIIT Timer & Interval Timer

As simple as it gets, with clear audio and visual cues for switching between intervals and resting, this is for those just starting out or people who don’t need a whole lot of fuss around their workout.

It doesn’t even interrupt your music, which means you can keep ABBA going both while you’re breaking a sweat and having a pause (and we know you listen to ABBA, there’s no shame in it whatsoever).

  • Available on: iOS
  • Cost: Free


Any app that includes “time wizards” is cool with us. Customize infinite workout timers, assign music for specific intervals, and share your workout with other Seconds users.

The sexy, easy-to-use interface might even help you run intervals every day. Who doesn’t want to hang with a sexy interface?

Interval Run

Real people annoy you? Still want a virtual coach in your earbuds? Then try this app. It tells you when to start running and when to (finally) take a breather.

In addition to Tabata workouts, the app lets you customize longer running plans, from 5K jogs to hour-long runs.

  • Available on: iOS
  • Cost: $1.99


What’s cool about this app is that you can plug in the pace and heart rate zone you want to achieve during each interval.

The simple interface will make any workout, well, run smoothly.

  • Available on: iOS
  • Cost: $4.99

When you want to focus on the range of movements rather than the work-to-rest ratio, an app might help you organize your workout.

Learn more about circuit training here.

Interval Timer — HIIT

When a workout calls for 30 seconds of military presses, 20 seconds of calf raises, and a mere 10 seconds of recovery, who has time to worry about keeping time?

With Interval Timer, you can let the app know which type of workout to put you through. It also keeps track of how much time you spend doing each workout.

Intervals Pro: Interval Timer

From squat to sprints, boxing to cycling, this app lets you easily customize intervals and circuits for the perfect heart-pumping workout.

  • Available on: iOS
  • Cost: Free, with the ability to unlock all features for $7.99

If you’re a little confused about the difference between circuits and intervals, we’ve got you.

Originally designed to whip Olympic speed skaters into shape, Tabata is a specialized HIIT technique that does the business.Emberts T, et al. (2013). Exercise intensity and energy expenditure of a Tabata workout. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3772611/ With your trusty app by your side, nothing can stop you! Never give up that Olympic speed skating dream!

Tabata Pro

Twenty seconds on, 10 seconds off. Simple enough, right?

While this app won’t make those squats burn any less, it’ll take your mind off the timing of the damn thing. Just set the number of cycles, hit “start,” and prepare to get sweaty!

Tabata Trainer

This app comes preloaded with nine full Tabata routines, along with a customizable option to create your own.

It’s sleek and simple, and you can share your workouts on Facebook for a tech-savvy humblebrag.

  • Available on: iOS
  • Cost: $1.99

Here are nine moves to get you started with Tabata training.

There are hundreds of interval training apps across all major app stores. Try these 10, and if they don’t work for you, play around until you find one that does. The most important feature to look for is the ability to set a series of timers at intervals that suit your workout.

You’ll hopefully be too busy with bursts of muscle-crunching activity to notice which app you’re using. There’s no right or wrong program to use — there’s only what works for you.

If you’re new to HIIT and it sounds intimidating, have a look at our guide to why it’s amazing for you and how to get started.