Bodyweight vs. Weighted: What is the Best HIIT Workout Plan?

Many people wonder whether bodyweight HIIT or weighted HIIT is a better workout. Personally, we think: “why choose one?” 

While both bodyweight training and weight training have amazing benefits for the body and mind, combining them is the actual game-changer. Yes–you can include weights in a HIIT workout (in fact, you can include almost any type of equipment in a HIIT workout, but more on that later).

So if you ask us, complementing the benefits of HIIT with weight training is the best HIIT workout plan you could choose, and it’ll get you maximum results.

HIIT vs. Strength training

Before talking about whether or not you should include weights in your HIIT workouts, let’s understand how strength training differs from HIIT itself.

High-intensity interval training is a workout method that alternates between short, intense bursts of exercise and brief recovery periods. For example, you can perform each exercise for 40 seconds and rest for 20 seconds. It makes the body work harder than steady state exercise, and it can be applied to different types of workouts, from cardio to weight training.

Strength training, on the other hand, is any workout that focuses on building muscle strength and/or increasing muscle mass. It can involve different types of equipment: free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, etc. However, bodyweight training can also count as strength training, since it works your resistance even with no equipment.

But what does strength training have to do in all of this? Well, ir turns out HIIT doesn’t necessarily have to be cardio–you can also do strength-focused HIIT workouts, or combine strength and cardio exercises in one HIIT workout. 

Now, both bodyweight HIIT workouts and weighted HIIT workouts have powerful benefits. But while they’ll both make you stronger, they have some differences.

Benefits of bodyweight HIIT workouts

They work your whole body

Usually, bodyweight exercises aren’t isolated but rather compound exercises, so they require engaging more than one major muscle group at a time. One example is a mountain climber, in which your upper body, core, and lower body cooperate to perform the exercise and keep your body stable.

They help improve balance and flexibility

Strength, balance, and flexibility work hand-in-hand. When you perform bodyweight exercises, your body needs balance to stabilize itself, which not only strengthens your muscles but also stretches your ligaments and tendons. This builds the balance and flexibility you need to move your body during exercise or everyday activities.

They’re suitable for all fitness levels

The thing about bodyweight workouts is they’re very versatile, so you can easily modify both the exercises or the workout itself depending on your level. Bodyweight HIIT workouts are great if you’re a beginner, but you can also make them more challenging by adding intensity and/or reps.

Benefits of HIIT workouts with weights

They burn more calories

The added resistance of weights forces your muscles to contract harder in order to move the weight. This not only makes HIIT exercises harder, but it also burns more calories than doing the same exercise with just your bodyweight. Lifting weights also increases your metabolic rate, both during and after your workout–this means you’ll still be burning calories for hours after you’re done exercising.

They help maintain or build muscle 

Doing weighted HIIT workouts not only burns fat, but it also helps maintain or even build muscle. Part of building muscle is challenging your muscles by lifting heavy objects–so combined with the right diet, doing HIIT workouts with weights can help you maintain or increase your muscle mass.

They have the added health benefits of weight training

Weighted HIIT workouts not only have the benefits of high-intensity interval training, but also the benefits of weight training, such as:

  • Boosting your metabolism and burning more calories at rest.
  • Losing fat while building stronger muscles, which makes you leaner and healthier.
  • Lowering the risk of injury by improving the strength, mobility, range of motion of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Improving heart health blood sugar levels.
  • Strengthening your bones.
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Your best bet: a strength training and HIIT workout plan

In the end, the best HIIT workout plan is one that combines strength and cardio exercises to strengthen both your muscles and your heart.

Strength and cardio HIIT workouts are complete, effective workouts that will not only burn calories and fat efficiently, but also make you leaner, improve your mobility, and make you healthier overall. 

At Sweat440, our 40-minute HIIT classes consist of four 10-minute stations that combine strength and cardio using many types of equipment–not just weights! You can burn up to 800 calories a class, but also keep burning calories up to 48 hours after. 

Looking for the best HIIT training program in Doral, Florida?

At our Doral, Florida studio, you’ll find a variety of machines and equipment: resistance bands, free weights, row machines, TRX, and more! We make sure to use top-tier equipment and keep it sanitized and organized for every single class. 

If your in or near Downtown Doral, you can find the Sweat440 studio near the NW 53rd St. and NW 84th Ave. bus stop and the Downtown Doral Park bus. It’s located near landmarks like the Doral Branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library, the Doral Building Department, and Avianca Airlines.

Ready to get that heart rate up and become stronger? Visit Sweat440 Doral and claim your free trial!

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Get maximum results at Sweat440’s HIIT classes

Benefits of HIIT workouts with weights
  • They burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate, both during and after working out.
  • In addition to burning fat, they help maintain or build muscle.
  • They give you the benefits of HIIT and the benefits of weight training.
Types of workouts you’ll see at Sweat440


  • Lower body: Intense circuits of compound lower body exercises.
  • Upper body and core: Metabolic conditioning circuits with a mix of upper body resistance training and core exercises.
  • Core/conditioning: A mix of high-intensity intervals and core exercises.
  • Lower body and core: Metabolic conditioning circuits with a mix of agility, plyometric, lower-body resistance training, and core exercises.
  • Total body conditioning: A mix of full-body high-intensity intervals and core exercises.