Fitness / HIIT

5 HIIT Exercises That Improve Pace and Stride

Push your pace and stride to new lengths with these trainer-backed exercises.

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, workouts are some of the best ways to burn fat, improve muscle recruitment and enhance cardiovascular performance. But wait there’s more! Turns out HIIT workouts can also help boost a runner’s pace and stride. Basically, consistent HIIT training can help you run faster and take longer, more efficient steps. Here are some HIIT moves that are specifically designed to enhance performance in these areas and help build overall endurance.

Jump Squats

If you’re looking to simultaneously tone nearly all of your desired muscles (think calves, glutes, hamstrings, core, and quadriceps), this is your go-to move. “These will help build strength and power in the posterior chain (the back side) which will improve pace and stride,” says Hope Pedraza, ACSM-certified personal trainer, nutrition coach and founder of inBalance studio in San Antonio.

Not sure why the posterior chain is important? Watch this important video from our trainer John Thornhill:

Start in a squat position with your heels hip-width apart, knees bent and hips back. Next, power from your glutes and hamstrings to jump straight up, fully opening the hips before landing back in the squat position. For an added challenge, Pedraza recommends holding a weighted ball or dumbbell while you jump!

Power Lunge

What differentiates a power lunge from a regular lunge is your stance and positioning, as well as your speed and intensity. “Just like the jump squat, this exercise starts static (stationary) and then requires you to power from your hips and glutes to jump,” says Pedraza. “It will build strength around that hip complex to improve pace and stride!”

Start in a lunge with your right leg in front and your left leg in back. Jump up off the ground to switch legs, landing with your left leg in front.

Single-Leg Reach Hops

“This movement not only improves balance and core strength, but it will also help build strength in your ankles and hip flexors to help improve pace and stride,” explains Pedraza.
Stand on your right foot. Lean down with your left hand, extending your leg back slightly and keeping a slight bend in your right knee. Touch your right foot. “As you come back up to stand, jump on your standing foot and bring your left knee towards your chest before landing back on your right foot,” says Pedraza. “Start all over again, this time reaching for your right foot.” Remember to continue on both sides!

Sprint Acceleration

An acceleration sprint begins at a jogging pace, then gradually lengthens the stride until you are in a full sprint to the finish line. Megan Fish, owner of Megaphone Fitness in Baltic, Connecticut, explains that sprinting activates your fast twitch muscles (those responsible for quick bursts of energy like sprints) which helps boost stride.

“Hit the track and choose a certain distance that you feel comfortable being able to complete at an all-out performance (ex. 50m, 100m, 200m). Repeat four to six times with a full rest (one to two minutes) in between each set or until you reach your desired workout HIIT time (no more than 30 minutes),” she says.

Cross Training

Bored of running? Fish recommends switching things up with cross training, which can help to prevent overuse injuries from excessive running.  “Mix it up with the elliptical, stair climber, or a stationary bicycle,” she says. “The combinations are endless. Start at a comfortable pace for two minutes. Then increase your resistance and speed for three minutes. Return to that comfortable pace and repeat until you hit 30 minutes.”

Aaptiv is also host to a wide variety of HIIT workouts in the strength training and cardio machine categories. Consider your pace and stride boosted.

Fitness HIIT


Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

I would like to receive weekly fitness articles and inspiration from Aaptiv Magazine.

Please click the checkbox to subscribe.