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HIRT: What is High-intensity Resistance Training, and What are Its Benefits?

If you want to change your workout routine, try doing HIRT. This article will explain everything you need to know about HIRT to decide if it's right for you.

Brandon George
HIRT: What is High-intensity Resistance Training, and What are Its Benefits?
Table Of Contents

Whether a regular gym-goer or a stay-at-home fitness enthusiast, you have probably heard of High-Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT). HIRT is an exercise involving short bursts of very high-intensity activity followed by rest periods. Athletes often use this training to improve their performance, but it can also benefit people looking to improve their fitness levels.

HIRT involves working at or near your maximum capacity for a brief period, followed by a period of rest.

HIRT is an effective way to build muscle and improve your cardiovascular fitness. It can also help you burn more calories in a shorter time than other workouts. If you're new to HIRT, start with lower intensities and longer rest periods. As you become more comfortable with the workout, you can gradually increase the intensity and reduce the rest periods.

HIRT requires a correct exercise form to maximize the benefits and prevent injuries. HIRT is a type of strength training in which you lift weights or do other exercises that strain your muscles at a level above what your muscles are used to. HIRT aims to help you build muscle mass and improve your strength.

Let's dig deeper to know what HIRT is and what benefits it has to offer.

Basic Principles of HIRT

High-intensity resistance training (HIRT) is a type of weightlifting that involves lifting heavy weights for short periods. It is known to be very effective for building muscle and improving strength. However, it can also be very beneficial for improving athletic performance.

The fundamental principle of HIRT is that it allows you to lift weights at a higher intensity than you would be able to lift if you were using traditional weightlifting methods. This is because lifting weights stress your muscles, forcing them to adapt and grow stronger. Additionally, the short duration of each set means that your muscles cannot fully recover between sets, which increases muscle endurance.

HIRT is an excellent way to improve your strength and power. Furthermore, the increased muscle endurance that comes from HIRT can be very beneficial for athletes who participate in sports that require repeated bursts of energy, such as sprinting or football.

Who Can Do HIRT?

In HIRT, you do strength base moves with low reps and high weight for a short period. The key to this method is pushing yourself to your absolute max for each set, meaning your muscles are working at their full potential. This training is typically done in a gym with a personal trainer or coach, as it can be dangerous to push yourself to this level without proper guidance.

If you're looking for a new challenge in your workout routine, HIRT could be a great option. Beginners should start with just one or two sets of each exercise to get a feel for the intensity level and then increase as needed. Remember, the goal is to push yourself to your limits, so don't be afraid to go for it!

Required Equipment for HIRT

High-intensity resistance training is an exercise that uses heavy weights and fewer repetitions to build muscle. It is a highly effective way to build muscle but requires specific equipment. Here is the list of required equipment for high-intensity resistance training:

  • You need a weight bench for high-intensity resistance training. A weight bench allows you to perform exercises such as the bench press, which is essential for building chest and triceps muscles.
  • Another piece of equipment that is required for high-intensity resistance training is a barbell. A barbell allows you to perform exercises such as the squat and the deadlift, which are essential for building leg and back muscles.
  • A set of dumbbells is essential for high-intensity resistance training. Dumbbells allow you to perform exercises such as the shoulder press and the biceps curl, which are essential for building shoulder and biceps muscles.
  • You also need a set of resistance bands for high-intensity resistance training. Resistance bands provide resistance during exercises, helping you build muscles.

Designing a HIRT Circuit

The beauty of HIRT is that it's an incredibly efficient way to work out; you can achieve the same if not more in a shorter amount of time than traditional cardiovascular and resistance training methods like steady-state cardio or conventional weightlifting.

However, one downside of HIRT is that it requires more planning and forethought than other workouts. In particular, if you're looking to incorporate HIRT into your resistance training routine, you'll need to design a circuit that alternates between different exercises with different intensity levels.

Here are a few tips for designing a HIRT circuit for resistance training:

Target Different Muscle Groups

This will help to ensure that you don't overwork any one muscle group and also help to keep your heart rate up as you move from one exercise to the next.

Vary the Intensity Level

Some exercises should be performed at an all-out pace, while you can do others at a more moderate intensity. You'll keep your body guessing by varying the intensity level and avoiding hitting a fitness plateau.

Keep the Circuit Relatively Short

A HIIT circuit should last 30 minutes, including the warm-up and cool-down. If you get too tired before the end of the circuit, reduce the number of repetitions for each exercise.

Focus on Proper Form

While HIRT workouts are designed to be intense, it's still essential to maintain good form throughout the entire circuit. This will help prevent injuries and ensure you get the most out of each exercise,

Use a Timer

Use a stopwatch or timer app on your phone to keep track of the intervals. Use it if you are doing exercise for a certain amount of time or you only have a specific amount of seconds for rest.

By following these tips, you can create an effective and efficient workout. Give it a try today and see how you feel!

Benefits of HIRT

High-intensity Resistance Training has several benefits that make it an excellent choice for those looking to improve their fitness.

Helps Burn More Calories

A higher-intensity workout will help you burn more calories than a lower-intensity one, meaning you can lose or maintain weight more quickly.

Builds Muscle Mass

High-intensity workouts are ideal if you want to tone your body or build muscle. The added resistance helps target specific muscles, resulting in bigger and stronger ones.

Improves Your Cardiovascular Health

While cardio exercises are great for your heart, adding resistance training to your routine can improve your cardiovascular health. The added resistance helps increase your heart rate and blood flow, which is great for your heart health.

Makes You Stronger

If you want to improve your athletic performance or become better at everyday activities, then high-intensity workouts can help. The added resistance helps build power and explosiveness, translating into better performance in every activity.

Helps You Stay Motivated

When you see results from your workouts, it helps keep you motivated to continue working hard. With high-intensity workouts, you will see results quickly, which can help keep you on track with your fitness goals.

Prepares You for HIIT

If you are new to high-intensity workouts, then it is essential to ease into them. Start with lower resistance and increase the intensity as you get more comfortable with the exercises. Once ready, you can add some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to challenge your body.

Sample HIRT Workout

The key to success with high-intensity resistance training is to focus on quality over quantity. This means you should lift challenging weights to make you feel fatigued by the end of your set. However, you should still be able to maintain good form throughout the entire set. If you lose form, it's time to stop and rest. Here's an example of a high-intensity resistance training workout:

Workout 1:

Renegade Rows (30 seconds)

10 second REST

Burpees (30 seconds)

10 second REST

Weighted Goblet Squats (30 seconds)

10 second REST

Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows (30 seconds)

10 second REST

Complete for 2-4 Sets

Workout 2:

Walking Lunges (45 seconds)

20 second REST

Dumbbell Squats (45 seconds)

20 second REST

Romanian Deadlifts (45 seconds)

20 second REST

Hanging Leg Raises (45 seconds)

20 second REST

Complete for 2-4 Sets

Workout 3:

Dumbbell Shoulder Press (15 Reps)


Barbell Bench Press (8-12 Reps)


Close Grip Bench Press (10 Reps)


Dumbbell Flys (10-15 Reps)


Complete for 2-4 Sets

Remember to warm up before your workout and cool down afterward. A good warm-up should include some light cardio and stretch, whereas a cool-down will help you avoid feeling too sore the next day.


1. How to get started with High-Intensity Resistance Training?

If you're new to high-intensity resistance training, start by gradually adding 1-2 days of these types of workouts per week to your routine. Once you're comfortable with the intensity, you can add more days as needed. Remember to always warm up before and cool down after your workouts.

2. What are some exercises I can do?

You can do many different exercises as part of high-intensity resistance training. Some examples include squats, lunges, presses, and rows. For a complete workout, include exercises for all major muscle groups.

3. How much weight should I use?

The weight you use will depend on your fitness level and the specific exercise you're doing. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the amount as you get stronger. Remember to focus on proper form rather than lifting heavier weights.

4. When will I see the results?

You may start to see results after a few weeks of regular high-intensity resistance training. However, it may take several months to see significant muscle size and strength improvements. Be patient and consistent with your workouts to achieve the best results.

Article Sources

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  • Stewart, K. J. “Resistive Training Effects on Strength and Cardiovascular Endurance in Cardiac and Coronary Prone Patients.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 21, no. 6, Dec. 1989, pp. 678–82. PubMed,
  • Sun, Jing, et al. “Gradually Increased Training Intensity Benefits Rehabilitation Outcome after Stroke by BDNF Upregulation and Stress Suppression.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, 2014, p. 925762. PubMed Central,
  • Ratel, Sébastien. “High-Intensity and Resistance Training and Elite Young Athletes.” Medicine and Sport Science, vol. 56, 2011, pp. 84–96. PubMed,
  • Granacher, Urs, et al. “Effects of Resistance Training in Youth Athletes on Muscular Fitness and Athletic Performance: A Conceptual Model for Long-Term Athlete Development.” Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 7, May 2016, p. 164. PubMed Central,
  • Moro, Tatiana, et al. “Effects of 6 Weeks of Traditional Resistance Training or High Intensity Interval Resistance Training on Body Composition, Aerobic Power and Strength in Healthy Young Subjects: A Randomized Parallel Trial.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 11, June 2020, p. 4093. PubMed Central,
  • Tuttor, Michael, et al. “High Intensity Resistance Exercise Training vs. High Intensity (Endurance) Interval Training to Fight Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight Men 30–50 Years Old.” Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, vol. 2, 2020. Frontiers,
  • Ouellette, Michelle M., et al. “High-Intensity Resistance Training Improves Muscle Strength, Self-Reported Function, and Disability in Long-Term Stroke Survivors.” Stroke, vol. 35, no. 6, June 2004, pp. 1404–09. (Atypon),

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Brandon George

Hi, I'm Brandon George Wendy, a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. I cover a spectrum of topics — including mental and physical health and wellness. I've got over 5 years of experience as a lifestyle reporter covering health & wellness and meditation topics.

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