Can High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals?

While there are no shortcuts to torching fat and getting fit, there are a few things you can do to get more from your workouts.

By now you are likely aware that high intensity interval training (HIIT) allows you to burn more calories, burn more fat, and build greater levels of endurance in a short amount of time. But have you heard about HIRT, or high intensity resistance training? Like HIIT, HIRT can elevate your workouts and take your resistance training routine to the next level.

What is HIRT?

Simply put, HIRT is strength training for fat loss. During a HIRT workout, you perform a series of strength training exercises for a set number of reps, for a set number of minutes, without resting in between. This elevates your heart rate and reduces the amount of recovery time your muscles have between sets.


Jacqui With Weights doing High Intensity Resistance Training

Why you should try it:

This method of strength training is perfect for you if you’d rather eat rocks than run on a treadmill for an hour. Steady state cardio is catabolic which means that it metabolizes your muscles, using them, instead of fat, for an energy source. HIRT training allows you to maintain and build those muscles while burning fat and calories.

HIRT is a powerful way to reach many of your fitness goals. If you want to lose weight, for example, HIRT increases your metabolism-boosting muscle even when you are on a calorie-reduced diet. On the flip side, if you are looking to bulk up and on a high-calorie diet, HIRT allows you to build muscle without adding extra body fat.

When compared to steady state cardio or straight up resistance training, HIRT burns more calories in less time and boosts both your aerobic and anerobic endurance.


Lisa doing HIRT on bars

How to add HIRT to your training:

Intensity is the most important part of HIRT training. The strength training becomes more intense when you move quickly through the exercises with minimal rest.

Have a plan: Because you will be moving quickly between sets, you won’t have time to stop and consider what to do next. Before you start, have everything mapped out. Collect any and all equipment you will need for the workout before you begin.

Do full body workouts instead of splitting it up into muscle groups: We know that with typical strength training routines, you’d target a specific muscle group on a specific day. If you were to try this with HIRT, you’d be exhausted long before you even finished the routine. Including a little extra weight can really take this full body focus to the next level. Adding, for example, the BodyRock Weighted Vest, can increase your resistance without impeding your movements. It is such a small adjustment but can yield you massive results.


Lisa doing push ups during HIRT

Use reps in the 6 to 15 range: Lower reps lead to gains in muscle mass while higher reps create muscle endurance. This mid-range will stimulate fat loss while giving you explosive strength.

Split each workout into super sets: Each one of these super sets should last around 10 minutes. Your entire HIRT workout should be about 30-45 minutes in length, including rests.

Allow yourself 60 to 90 seconds to rest between sets: No matter how tempting it may be, don’t allow yourself to rest in the middle of your set. Power through. Keep moving.

Do every exercise quickly: But remember, good form is first and foremost. If you find your form is failing, slow down a bit.

Allow 48 hours between your HIRT workouts: Remember, you need to give your body time to repair. You maybe tempted to do more work to see greater gains but that isn’t how things work. Your rest days are every bit as important as your workouts!


Lisa after HIRT Workout

What does a HIRT routine look like?

The beauty of HIRT training is that you can, more or less, create any workout you want. But here is an example to get you started! Strap on your Weighted Vest, gather all your equipment and get going!

Perform each set, without rest, for 10 minutes. Rest for 90 seconds and then move on to the next set. With rest times factored in, the workout should take you a little over 30 minutes.

Super Set 1:

  • 10 push ups
  • 10 squats
  • 10 tuck jumps
  • 10 medicine ball slams

Super Set 2:

  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 deadlifts
  • 10 lunges (each leg)
  • 10 push presses

Super Set 3: 

  • 10 jump lunges
  • 10 kettlebell swings
  • 15 crunches
  • 10 bicep curls

Have you made HIRT a part of your workout routine? Tell us about it!