HIRT – High Intensity Resistance Training

Currently HIIT is a hot topic in the fitness world. High Intensity Interval Training is a form of max effort to short rest cardio that is known to burn high amounts of calories in short amounts of time. HIRT, is HIIT’s lesser known cousin. HIRT stands for High Intensity Resistance training and is basically a way to hugely increase your Basal Metabolic Rate. Like HIIT it can burn a huge number of calories in a fastamount of time.

The benefit of HIRT is that your muscles don’t get a break. They keep working and so does your body. This ensures a massive energy burn that can result in good amounts of fat loss, as well as huge cardiovascular benefits.


The Definition of HIRT

High Intensity Resistance training is basically any strength exercises performed for a number of reps. You cycle between exercises for the time allocated to the set and don’t take any rest between exercises. The idea is that there is no time for muscles to rest and you keep your metabolism high. An example of a HIRT workout would be:

  • 10 x Deadlift
  • 10 x Push Ups
  • 10 x Pull Ups

Rest for 1:30

  • 10 x Squat
  • 10 x Lunge
  • 10 x Crunches

Rest for 1:30 and Repeat for 10:00mins.

This is just an example workout, a full HIRT workout should take upwards of 20 minutes and will sometimes use exercises that require weights or equipment.

Benefits of HIRT

Adding HIRT to your routine can greatly benefit it, even if you have 2 very different goals. For weight loss, if you are in a calorie deficit you will find it much easier to burn unwanted fat, whilst potentially building a bit of muscle. The calorie burn will be huge. It also means you aren’t wasting away muscles on a treadmill for hours.

For those consuming an excess of calories, HIRT will quickly help build up muscle. But also ensure you keep fat at a minimum. This is what’s known as body re composition.

The added bonus for both of these goals, is that you will also find that you increase levels of endurance and fitness go up. As the high number of reps and lack of rest will mean your cardio also improves.

HIRT is a great alternative if you are someone who doesn’t enjoy conventional LISS cardio. You completely avoid spending hours on a treadmill. HIRT allows you to combine both strength and cardio into one easy session.

A study into the energy expenditure of HIRT proved it to be a highly effective way to train. The conclusion was;

This exercise methodology allows subjects to improve metabolism and, at the same time, muscle mass and strength all of which are promoted as beneficial by many guidelines. [1]

HIRT Workout

If you are going to attempt a HIRT workout you need to ensure you are prepared to keep moving constantly and that you are not fatigued from any earlier session. It’s important that you get organised and map out each exercise you will be doing throughout the session. There’s nothing more frustrating that being mid way through a set and a piece of equipment not being available.

It will HIRT.

If you are making your own workout, try and target the full body. Focusing on one muscle group will be agonising and you’ll struggle to make it to the end. As we mentioned above, keep the exercises quick, but controlled too. You don’t want to run the risk of injury. Which brings us nicely onto the next point. Warm up. Properly.

It’s essential to keep reps between the 8-14 range. This means you’ll be more focused on strength and fat loss than anything else.

Forget your isolation movements if you want the workout to be far more effective, whilst they can be good filler for a set, for best results you need to be including some nice big compound movements.

Don’t be afraid to use bodyweight, or if that’s too easy, grab some weight.

Remember, perform each set for 10 minutes. Resting at the end, then repeating. Then move onto the next set.


  • Ab Roll Out x 10
  • Push Up x 10
  • Tuck Jump x 10

Rest 90 Seconds


  • Deadlift x 10
  • Pull Ups x 10
  • Inverted Row x 10

Rest 90 Seconds


  • Squat x 10
  • Crunches x 10
  • Military Press x 10

Rest 90 Seconds


  • Tricep Dips x 15
  • Kettlebell Swing x 20

Rest 90 Seconds

After completing your HIRT workout, give your body a bit of time to recover. At least 24 hours, but maybe aim at 48. You should be feeling tired and broken. Read more about HIRT workouts.

HIRT Results

With HIRT you are going to get some excellent cardiovascular benefits as well as build up and shred down. Whilst this isn’t a miracle workout and there is some dependence still on you having the correct diet and nutrition, it’s an excellent way for those short on time to get maximum results.

HIRT – High Intensity Resistance Training Conclusion

If you’re looking for a quick workout and absolutely sick to the back teeth of regular or even HIIT cardio, we recommend giving HIRT a try. It’s simple, effective and quick.

People have had huge success with this training method especially when cutting down fat for bodybuilding shows and other competitions.

It’s maybe not the right kind of training if you are looking to pack on serious mass though.

Remember, if you are going into HIRT, enjoy it and work hard. It’s going to be tough and make you feel pretty sick, but it’s worth it.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3551736/

1 Comment
  1. […] When you take a look at an example workout of Emily Skye you can see that her strength training also incorparates some of the principles of HIRT training. […]

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