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10 HIRT Workouts (Programs) for Weight Loss
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10 HIRT Workouts (Programs) for Weight Loss

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 20, 2022
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7 min

On the lookout for a new workout style that allows you to jampack a 30-minute workout session with all the benefits of high-intensity training while also being easier on your bones and joints than HIIT? HIRT could be the answer.

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HIRT training, which stands for high-intensity resistance training, is a style of interval training that combines the cardiovascular benefits of a traditional HIIT workout with the muscle-building benefits of strength training. 

It’s perfect for anyone looking for a workout that can be done in under 30 minutes, as well as for all those people who would prefer to skip burpees. 

By adding resistance bands and free weights to your workouts, you can boost the muscle-building potential of each exercise while keeping them low-impact, perfect for beginners and anyone returning to regular exercise after an injury.

In this article, you’ll find 10 workout programs you can do, either at the gym or from the comfort of your own home, as well as more information about what makes this unique training style ideal for beginners. 

What Is High-Intensity Resistance Training?

High-intensity resistance training or HIRT is a form of interval training that uses longer periods of strength training to keep the heart rate elevated while also putting less stress on the bones and joints than traditional high-intensity interval workouts (HIIT), which are more focused cardio exercise.

Most high-intensity resistance training is designed to be full-body workouts. This differs from traditional strength training programs, which often focus on targeting a single muscle group during a training session.

Since this style of training involves working at maximum effort, focusing on a single muscle group can cause you to overwork, leaving you at a greater risk of injury. 

Instead, it’s better to focus on including a variety of workouts that will spread the load through your entire body. This is the best way to ensure that your muscles have the energy they need to maintain proper form and make it through your entire work period.

How do you do it?

Most HIRT workouts involve sets of 4 weight training exercises done in a row, followed by 60-second rest periods. A HIRT routine’s “work” periods are meant to last around 10 minutes and should be completed at max effort. 

Generally, there are 3–4 of these work sets included in every workout session. 

This means that a HIRT workout should last between 30–45 minutes, with some programs lasting as little as 15 minutes. 

Although this is a short window of time, it is more than enough to have an effective workout, which is why many people with a busy schedule turn to high-intensity training to maximize the benefits of a shorter workout.

Is it accessible to beginners?

Don’t let the words “high-intensity” scare you.

Although these workouts are intense, they’re significantly more accessible than many other training styles, including traditional high-intensity interval training. 

Their level of accessibility is high because the exercises included in HIRT workouts are low impact for the joints and can be easily adjusted to match your fitness level by simply using heavier or lighter weights.

Anyone new to high-intensity resistance training will want to start with either bodyweight exercises or exercises that use resistance bands to reduce any chance of them overworking themselves and causing injury. 

Once you’ve increased your muscle growth, generally after a few months of consistent workouts, you can move to more traditional strength training exercises with heavier weights.

10 HIRT Workouts for Weight Loss

For anyone looking to get started with high-intensity resistance training, the following workouts are suitable for both beginners and more experienced athletes. They include options for at-home workouts, as well as some that you can do at the gym.

Each set should last around 10 minutes, and you can do them either 3 or 4 times, so your workouts should be in the range of 30–45 minutes.

Whether or not you decide to do 3 or 4 sets will depend on how difficult you find each set, and how much energy you have for working out that day. Some routines will be easier for you than others, so don’t be discouraged if you find certain workouts harder to finish. 

To ensure that you have a solid understanding of high-intensity resistance training, here is a 60-second video that sums up the main difference between HIIT vs. HIRT, and the goals for this unique training style.

High-intensity resistance training at home

Start by picking up some resistance bands or a set of kettlebells, dumbbells, or medicine balls for you to use for your home workouts. 

Having a variety of weights at home will allow you to easily increase the difficulty level as your lean muscle mass and muscle strength increase.

#1 HIRT workout (no weights)

10 push-ups

30-second plank

60-second bicycle crunches

15 squats

60-second glute bridges (static or dynamic)

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#2 HIRT workout 

10 side plank crunches left side

10 side plank crunches right side

15–20 lunges (bodyweight or with weights)

10–15 standing dumbbell presses

 5–10 pull-ups

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#3 HIRT workout

10 plank crunches left side

10 plank crunches right side

10–15 squats (bodyweight or with dumbbells) 

10 push-ups

10–15 dumbbell rows

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#4 HIRT workout

10–15 fire hydrants (bodyweight or with resistance bands)

10–15 glute kickbacks (bodyweight or with resistance bands)

10–15 standing lunges (bodyweight or with dumbbells)

 5–10 pull-ups

 30-second plank

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#5 HIRT workout

10 pike push-ups

30–45 second mountain climbers

30-second up-down planks

10–15 squats (bodyweight or with dumbbells) 

10–15 standing dumbbell presses

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

High-intensity resistance training for the gym

Keep in mind that although you have access to heavier weights at the gym, the benefits of high-intensity resistance training don’t necessarily increase because you’ve decided to lift heavier.

The goal of these workouts is to keep your heart rate elevated, and lifting weights that are too heavy for you will cause you to need extra rest breaks, resulting in your heart rate dipping and you losing some of the calorie-burning benefits of this exercise regime.

#1 HIRT workout

10 back squats

10 Romanian deadlifts 

10 military presses

10 bent-over rows with barbell

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#2 HIRT workout

10 tricep dips

10 Bulgarian squats left side 

10 Bulgarian squats right side

10 bent-over row

10 seated reverse flies 

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#3 HIRT workout

10–15 lat pulldowns

20 walking lunges

5–10 pull-ups or assisted pull-ups 

30-second hanging leg raises

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#4 HIRT workout

10 bent-over rows with a barbell 

10 front squats

10 military presses

 5 pull-ups

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

#5 HIRT workout

10 Bulgarian split squats right side

10 Bulgarian split squats left side

10 push-ups

10 static lunges left side

10 static lunges right side

10 standing dumbbell presses

Repeat 3–4 times with a 60-second rest in between each set.

The importance of diet

Keep in mind the old adage: abs are made in the kitchen. 

Doing more high-intensity resistance training will definitely help you burn more calories, but if you want to notice real changes to your body composition, you’ll have to focus on creating healthier eating habits as well.

To find new recipe options that re-inspire you to stop ordering in and start cooking at home more often, you can try new meal planning apps like Perfect Body or Beyond Body, the latter of which is a personalized meal plan book that can be ordered or purchased as an ebook.

These eating programs include personalized meal plans for users that consider weight loss goals and unique food preferences and have helped thousands of people worldwide see results.

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FAQs

Are HIRT workouts easier on joints than HIIT?

Yes, HIRT workouts are significantly easier on the bones and joints than high-intensity interval training.

HIIT workouts mainly involve high-impact exercises involving running, jumping, and landing heavily onto the lower body. This impact can deteriorate the joints over time, making HIIT unsuitable for anyone who suffers from pre-existing joint issues

How long should a HIRT workout last?

Since HIRT workouts are created for you to do at your maximum effort, these programs shouldn’t last longer than 30–45 minutes.

Generally, an entire HIRT workout consists of 3–4 sets of exercises designed to take 10 minutes to complete, with a 60-second rest period in between exercise sets.

Is HIIT considered resistance training?

No, HIIT workouts are not considered resistance training. Resistance training is another word for weight training. Both of these are designed to improve muscular strength and endurance through the use of weight-bearing exercises.

HIIT focuses on fast movements to help you improve your cardiovascular endurance and burn calories, contributing to easier weight loss.

A Word From Our Coach

High-intensity resistance training has all the benefits of traditional HIIT while also being good for muscle gain and low impact on the bones and joints of the lower body.

But it’s important to remember that as different as these exercises are, they share one thing in common; they’re both high-intensity workouts that can be stressful for the body if done too often.

Working out 5 days a week has many benefits, but that doesn’t mean every workout can or should be high-intensity. Instead, it’s a good idea to take a break from strength exercises to go for a recovery run or do some yin yoga.

Penciling in a variety of workouts, both high- and low-intensity, can give your body and mind a much-needed break from working out.

Between workouts, ensuring that you drink enough water – ideally a gallon a day – and eat nutrient-rich, high-protein foods is the best way to support your recovery and future muscle gain.

Bottom Line

High-intensity resistance training is a style of interval training that is short and straight to the point, providing both cardiovascular benefits as well as a better opportunity for building muscle in comparison to other interval training styles.

Doing only a 30-minute HIRT session, you can fit in an effective full-body workout that hits every major muscle group, making it the perfect option for anyone working out on a time crunch.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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