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HIRT training: What it is and why you should do it



a young woman doing exercises with a resistance band

Relax at HIIT. Try HIRT instead.

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Not to put a coronavirus spin on everything (OK, I do, you got me), but if the COVID-19 pandemic taught us one thing, it’s OK to slow down. In fact, it’s more than OK – it’s necessary.

The sudden stop in our everyday life back in March 2020 showed us all that we are just doing too much. Pre-COVID, life culture lived and was well. People mocked at a standstill and we felt guilty to rest. I do not know about you, but so recently people in my circles have encouraged others to slow down.

It feels like slowness is encouraged in all aspects today, including exercise. I have taken this signal and applied it to my workouts – instead of my usual high intensity, Crossfittraining exercises, I have had slower and more intentional training sessions.

I said goodbye to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and embraced high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), a type of training that I think everyone can benefit from.

What is high intensity resistance training?

HIRT is a slower, easier to join version of HIIT. The latter has been glamorized by the fitness industry for almost 20 years, since researchers discovered that HIIT can burn more calories in less time than other forms of exercise.

It’s dandy, but HIIT can also hold cortisol levels loud if you do not recover from your workouts properly and give yourself enough time to rest between sweat sessions – not a favorable scenario for us who are already chronically stressed.

An elderly woman doing push-ups inside her home.

HIRT training revolves around resistance training with high volume.

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HIRT slows things down and gives you the opportunity to put more intention behind your movement. You can focus on your shape while you are still in an effective workout.

This type of training is mainly timed, high volume weightlifting. You will use weights on the lighter side for your strength so that you can perform more reps.

Benefits of high intensity resistance training

With HIRT you get all the benefits of HIIT, plus some. These include:

  • Muscle growth: Typical rope intervals for HIRT training fall into perfect rope rope for building muscle.
  • Strength: Lifting weights is the best way to get stronger.
  • Muscle endurance: Higher rope intervals improve your body’s capacity move for long periods.
  • Gentle on your body: Unlike HIIT training, there are no explosive or highly effective exercises in HIRT training.
  • Strengthens the legs: Resistance training maintains bone density and is preventive against osteoporosis.
  • Reduced risk of diseases: Strength training helps prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Weight loss: Lifting weights can help you lose weight.
  • Time efficient: Like HIIT training sessions, HIRT training is fast but constructive.
  • Durable: HIIT is not sustainable for many people because it is so intense. Many people find that HIRT is easier to stick to in the long run.
  • Funny: You may find that HIRT is more fun than traditional weightlifting, which can be boring if you do not like to wait long rest periods.

What you need for a HIRT training

dumbbells on a purple yoga mat

You do not need much for a HIRT training.

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The only case for HIRT compared to HIIT is that it more often requires equipment.

You can do a HIRT workout without Equipment by focusing on the pace of your movements (eg performing squats with a 5 second descent), but you will find it easier to incorporate variation if you have the equipment. In addition, you get better results if you have some dumbbells or kettlebells practical.

You do not need much equipment. A couple dumbbells, a kettlebell or even a couple of resistance bands will do.

Read more: The best kettlebells for 2020: JaxJox, Apex and more

Beginners high-intensity resistance training

Try these three HIRT workouts instead of the next planned HIIT workout – hopefully you will feel stronger, more energetic and revived about fitness.

HIRT training 1

What you need: Two dumbbells

Every minute for 10 minutes:

  • Even minutes: 10 dumbbell squats
  • Odd minutes: 10 dumbbell presses

How it works: Perform your ten squats at the beginning of each minute. Then rest for the rest of the minute (your rest can be 40 seconds, can be 15, depending on how fast you do reps). Focus more on the right shape and quality of movement than speed – HIRT training should tax your muscles more than your lungs. At the beginning of the next minute, perform 10 shoulder presses.

At the end of this workout, you have completed five sets of 10 squats and five sets of 10 shoulder presses in just 10 minutes. How is it too time efficient?

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The kettlebell swing

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HIRT training 2

What you need: A kettlebell

As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

  • Five slow push-ups (3-second descent, change to knees if necessary)
  • 10 kettlebell swings
  • 15 kettlebell rows
  • Rest 60 seconds

How it works: Set a clock for 15 minutes and go continuously through the sequence of movements. Do not forget to rest for 1 minute at the end of each round.

HIRT training 3

What you need: Resistance band

Complete three rounds of the following:

How it works: Go through the sequence above three times. Focus on movement quality. Record your time so you can try again in a few weeks and see how you got there.

More training tips:

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health problem.


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