High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) is a mix of cardio and resistance training. HIRT is the most effective way to increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and the number of calories that you burn.
During a HIRT workout, several exercises are done in rapid sucession for a certain number of reps. Each workout lasts for a certain number of minutes. And there is no rest.
What makes HIRT, well, HIRT?
Several Exercises Done in Rapid Succession
A 'set' is when you do one exercise for a certain number of reps and then resting. Such as doing 15 box jumps in a row and then taking a short break. With HIRT, you'll do 2, 3, or 4 exercises in a row without rest. This is referred to as:
- Super-set (2 exercises)
- Tri-set (3 exercises)
- Giant-set (4 exercises)
The exercises should work multiple muscles at the same time. You don't want to target certain muscles, such as only the biceps. Recruiting more muscles both helps to spread the load out between them as well as getting a better workout.
An example of a tri-set in one of the workouts I created was: 10 box jumps, 10 decline pushups with feet on the box, and 10 tricep dips.
Done for a Certain Number of Reps
Each exercise is done a prescribed number of times. As fatigue sets in, you might need to take a short (1-2 second) break to finish out the number of reps.
The number of repetitions for each exercise should be in the range of 6-15. You're trying to maximize intensity. The more reps you do, the less intense you can do them.
In the example I gave above, each exercise was to be done 10 times before moving on to the next exercise. I used 10 for all exercises for simplicity (you don't need to remember how many your supposed to do for this one, just do 10), but you can change that up if you want.
Lasts for a Certain Amount of Time
These workouts are designed to be intense. As workout intensity increases, the length of time someone can keep it up decreases. I chose 10 minutes for the length of time for this workout. Each set of exercises should be done for 8-10 minutes.
Again, looking to the example, the workout was to cycle through box jumps, pushups and dips. Then you go back to box jumps and continue through each exercise until the timer goes off at 10 minutes.
What are the benefits of High Intensity Resistance Training?
- Outperforms aerobic exercise
- Burns more calories than endurance cardio
- Speeds up metabolism for up to 36 hours after the workout
Build and Maintains Lean Body Tissue
- Helps to maintain muscle mass on a restricted calorie diet
- Helps to build muscle mass on a moderate to high calorie diet
- Helps to increase muscle density
- Minimizes fat gain on a high calorie diet
- Helps to improve anaerobic endurance
- Helps to improve aerobic endurance
- Lower cortisol response than other forms of resistance training
- Improves Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
- Better quality of life for older adults
How I use HIRT
Almost all of the workouts I do, aside from training for an Iron Warrior Dash, could be labeled as high-intensity resistance training. I currently lead a class at my local gym that is based on the principles of HIRT. You can find some of my real-world HIRT workouts here.
I have even created a High Intensity Resistance Training Workout Creator for you to use. It's based on a St. Patrick's Day "Luck of the Irish" workout that I presented at a class I led; everyone got to draw an exercise out of a hat and we strung together the exercises into a workout.
Are you ready for HIRT? Let me know in the comments.