At this point, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard of HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts. The workout style is an incredibly popular one because of its bite-sized approach to cardio and other intense exercises. It also gets pretty great results, which is a lovely treat. But today, we’re not here to talk about HIIT. No, we’re here to talk about HIRT training and how it may work for you and your workout routine.
HIRT, which stands for High-Intensity Resistance Training, takes the philosophy of HIIT (bite-sized exercise sets) and applies it to, well, resistance training.
We chatted with Kate Kraschnefski, Head of Compliance and Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness, to learn more.
What is HIRT training?
As we mentioned above, the ‘R’ in HIRT stands for resistance, so these workouts are rooted in “traditional strength-based movements,” Kraschnefski shared. “When grouped together as a sequence, [these movements] can work all the major muscles of the body” and give you a pretty beautifully well-rounded workout.
The secret is fast reps, low recovery time and smaller weights, she shared.
“With HIRT, you are not working with super heavy loads, but weights that are challenging for around 8-15 repetitions, depending on the session. You move into the next exercise quite quickly, and complete them as rounds, with a break only after each round of the sequence.”
Why is this training style becoming so popular?
Recently, the AIF shared that HIRT was one of the top 20 emerging fitness trends for 2022. When we asked Kraschnefski about why she thinks that is, she explained:
“The intensity works your muscles as well as increasing your heart rate, so it’s the perfect way to get your cardio in as well as reap the benefits of resistance training. This makes HIRT particularly attractive for those of us who prefer weight training.”
In addition to that, when you consider that most of these workouts can be done in 30 minutes, and the fact that no one has time for anything these days – it’s no surprise people are jumping on board.
Then there’s the comparison to HIIT, which can be a little too intense for some. “HIIT often involves a lot of plyometric jumping movements that don’t appeal to everyone, especially those with joint concerns,” Kraschnefski said.
“In HIRT we get the intensity by swapping the high impact for the load from the weights.”
Is HIRT effective as a workout style?
The key question here, however, is how effective is HIRT for building fitness? Pretty damn effective, it turns out.
“HIRT delivers fabulous bang-for-buck as you are getting both strength-based and cardiovascular benefits, all within a short period of time,” Kraschnefski said.
Here are some key benefits she pointed out to us over email:
- It will boost your metabolism, both immediately after your session and in the long term with consistency as you build and maintain lean muscle mass. Combined with good nutrition, HIRT will support weight loss goals.
- HIRT supports maintenance and building of bone density
- You can work the full body with minimal equipment and with minimal space requirements
- It has a low impact on the body with less explosive movements involved. It also builds muscle to support joints, so is very joint-friendly all around!
What are some examples?
If you’ve got access to a couple of dumbbells, Kraschnefski suggests trying out the below. Just be sure to check with a doctor or fitness professional before diving into a new exercise routine, okay?
As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) for 15 mins:
- 10 dumbbell one arm bent over rows (Right side)
- 10 dumbbell one arm bent over rows (Left side)
- 10 dumbbell lateral raises
- 10 alternating dumbbell lunges
Rest 30-60seconds after each round (as much as you need to work again with intensity and great form)
And here’s another example you can use with any kind of weight, that’s challenging but safe and won’t compromise your form.
Do the following exercises for 4 rounds:
Complete them consecutively and only rest for 60 – 90 seconds between each round.
- 8 Deadlifts
- 8 Barbell Bench Press
- 8 Pull Ups
- 8 Kettlebell Squats
- 8 Barbell Push-presses
Want to keep reading about upcoming fitness trends? Check out our recent piece on Micro Workouts and why they may be right for your body.