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HIRT: High-Intensity Resistance Training

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HIRT: High-Intensity Resistance Training

HIRT, or high-intensity resistance training, is a fast-paced route to building more muscle and burning more fat faster than before!

HIRT is the strength and muscle building cousin of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). While HIIT focuses on cardio, HIRT focuses on lifting weights and using pull up bands to workout against resistance. HIRT is super intense, super challenging, and super effective.

Fast-paced sets include squats with booty bands, quick bicep curls with dumbbells, or intense circuits of pull-ups. It's varied, it's hard -work, but HIRT is one of the best ways to get a lean body, fast!

Let's dive in and take a more detailed look at the benefits of HIRT, followed by HIRT training program examples to get you started!

What is HIRT?

HIRT stands for 'High-Intensity Resistance Training.'

HIRT is the natural evolution of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), offering short but intense workouts focused on building muscle. HIRT involves performing intense exercises, back to back. The exercises use high-intensity weight training, resistance bands, or bodyweight training.

The goal is to put in the maximum possible amount of energy, concentration, and strength into every single repetition. Because of the intensity, a typical HIRT workout session will only last around 30 minutes, and often, much less time than this too!

HIRT also focuses on technique, ensuring that while you exert the max possible strength, you do it in the correct (and safe) way.

Given the fast-paced lives that we lead in the modern world, HIRT workouts have become incredibly popular in recent years!

What are the benefits of HIRT?

HIRT is fast-paced, but aside from the speed at which the workouts are performed, there is a vast range of fitness benefits to be gained from this intense training style.

The intensity of the exercise is designed to burn calories and build muscles fast. HIRT, while strength-focused, also places a considerable emphasis on cardio - even if it's purely from the speed at which you're running around completing exercises!

This intensity improves your metabolism, which means that you continue burning calories long after you've stopped exercising. Compared to traditional weight lifting routines or cardio base training, you burn far more calories in a shorter space of time. Importantly, you also help to build muscles while simultaneously creating definition.

As well as being effective at building muscle and burning fat, high-intensity resistance training is also incredibly diverse. One of the top benefits of HIRT is the number of different exercises you can practice and whatever combination of movements that you can put together into a short, focused workout. Focus on the upper body, lower body, or full-body training sessions with HIRT.

Adding HIRT into your weekly schedule will, no doubt, keep you from getting bored lifting weights or going for runs!

Here's a quick rundown of essential HIRT benefits:

  • Rapid, quick exercise sessions that average 30 minutes or less.
  • Burn more fat than traditional exercises.
  • Build more muscle mass.
  • Hit cardio and strength training goals faster.
  • Build definition and tone existing muscles.
  • Increase your metabolism to continue burning fat while you're resting.
  • Varied exercises, sets, and circuits (no more getting bored!)
  • Full body, upper body, lower body focused routines. ALL individually and personally designed.
  • Work out at home or in the gym (or anywhere else!)
  • Work out with weights, resistance bands, or against your body weight.
  • Workout on your own, with a gym buddy, or in a HIRT training class.

Weights or resistance bands?

HIRT is a great way to change up your exercise regime because it's also a type of exercise that you can practice anywhere. Because a HIRT routine is so diverse, it's possible to workout at home, in the gym, at the office, or in the park.

Without the need for fancy equipment, you can put together a routine using almost anything you might have at home. Using free weights, resistance bands, or your body weight can all be effective at producing resistance to work out against.

Your HIRT routines can easily incorporate a mixture of free weights, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises, so you don't have to choose one style over another!

Because HIRT is so extreme, we recommend starting with resistance bands or bodyweight exercises. Focus on technique and form to avoid picking up injuries when you're first getting used to the movements. Once you have more experience and your fitness begins to improve, feel free to ramp up the weights and resistance to enhance the difficulty of the exercises!

HIRT workouts: high-intensity resistance training examples

HIRT workouts are designed to be intense. Super intense.

They are challenging, and they are hard work. But luckily, the sessions are over quickly, too!

An effective HIRT workout requires an exertion rate that hits a minimum of 80% of your physical capacity on every repetition. Ideally, you want to max out at 100% exertion. For that reason, a HIRT session isn't the best choice for a novice weight lifter or someone just beginning their strength training journey.

As well as putting maximum effort into each exercise, it's also crucial to stay focused on form and technique. You need to be performing each exercise correctly, or else you put yourself at risk of injury when you're maxing out.

If you are new to the high-intensity strength training world, then we recommend starting with lighter weights and resistance bands. Focus on perfecting the right form while also putting in as much energy as you can. As you feel yourself becoming more confident, while your fitness improves too, then start to incorporate heavier weights and stronger resistance bands into the sets.

HIRT sessions are intense, so be sure to allow plenty of time to rest between each workout day. When you're first beginning to build strength using HIRT, we recommend only scheduling two sessions per week. As your body adjusts and your fitness improves, you can increase this to three, but always try to leave 48 hours between each session whenever possible. HIRT works well when combined with other types of exercises, such as steady cardio or less intense circuits.

The following HIRT workouts are full-body examples. The variety not only stops you from becoming bored each session, but different exercises will shock your muscles into working harder, helping you to build strength quicker. So, feel free to change it up however you want for the day or week.

Here are a few tips to get you started too:

  • Have your exercise sets written down or memorized. You won't have time to rest between each exercise!
  • Warm-up before the HIRT session with light stretching and cardio.
  • Remember, 100% effort at all times!
  • Perform each exercise between 10 and 15 reps at a time.
  • Choose 3 to 4 exercises for each 'superset.'
  • Perform each movement in the superset back to back.
  • After each superset, rest for 60 seconds before hitting the next round of exercises.
  • Aim to work out for 20-30 minutes and no longer than 45 minutes.
  • Cool down with some light stretching and breathing exercises.

 Here are a few HIRT training workouts you can start to include in your training schedule. You'll need resistance bands, dumbbells, and a pull-up bar. For most of the weighted exercises, you can substitute the dumbbells for resistance bands too.

#1 HIRT session example

  1. 15 x incline dumbbell presses
  2. 10 x resistance band squats
  3. 10 x burpees
  4. 12 bent over dumbbell rows on both arms at the same time

Rest for 60 seconds.

  1. 10 x pull-ups
  2. 12 x Romanian deadlifts
  3. 10 x overhead passes
  4. 20 x lunges

Rest for 60 seconds

  1. 12 x pull-ups
  2. 15 x banded press-ups
  3. 20 step ups while holding dumbbells
  4. 8 x hanging leg raises

#2 HIRT session example

  1. 10 x banded push-ups
  2. 10 x resistance band squats
  3. 10 x tuck jumps
  4. 10 x bicep curls on each arm

Rest for 60 seconds.

  1. 10 x pull-ups
  2. 10 x deadlifts
  3. 20 x lunges
  4. 10 x banded push-ups

Rest for 60 seconds.

  1. 10 x jump lunges
  2. 10 x banded push-ups
  3. 15 x crunches
  4. 10 x bicep curls on each arm

#3 HIRT session example

  1. 10 x deadlifts
  2. 5 x clapping push-ups
  3. 10 x pull-ups
  4. 15 x crunches

Rest for 60 seconds.

  1. 10 x jumping squats
  2. 10 x pull-ups
  3. 10 x bench presses
  4. 5 x windshield wipers

Rest for 60 seconds.

  1. 10 x resistance band squats
  2. 10 x inverted rows
  3. 10 x banded push-ups
  4. 10 x pull-ups

If you need a longer workout, then you can add more supersets to the session, but don't work out at maximum intensity for longer than 45 minutes (to avoid injury). HIRT sessions are tough on your body, so don't forget to appropriately cool-down once you've completed your workout.

Why not add a HIRT workout to your training schedule?

Build more muscle, burn more fat, and workout more effectively with a targeted HIRT workout. High-intensity resistance training isn't for everyone, but if you are short on time and willing to put in the maximum effort possible, then you can push your body to the limit with quick, yet challenging HIRT sessions!

Why not add a HIRT workout to your training schedule?

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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