High Intensity Resistance Training: HIRT For Home Workouts

Whether you lift weights for strength or aesthetics, you’ll know that intensity is one of the key variables to be cranked up to keep workouts fresh and effective. But exercise intensity isn’t just important: it’s popular, too. We’ve all heard of HIIT (high intensity interval training). But what about HIRT?

If you’re not familiar with high intensity resistance training, get ready to learn how this type of workout can boost the results you get from weight training… and you don’t need to be in the gym to do it!

What Is HIRT?

High Intensity Resistance Training might be enjoying a renaissance, but it’s far from new.

The fundamental principle of HIRT is using short, intense periods of resistance training (performed with a lot of effort and focus) plus enough recovery time between sessions. In a HIRT style session, you will do a series of strength exercises without rest, followed by a short recovery between blocks of work. Think circuits or giant sets, but in a more structured style. HIRT jacks up your heart rate and keeps recovery time short, leading to superior calorie burn, muscle stimulation, and fitness adaptations.

HIRT In 2018

Today’s version of HIRT stays true to the original principles of intensity of effort, but has spread further than the gym environment, thanks to some amazing bits of home fitness kit. You no longer need to go to the gym to use high intensity resistance training and get the fitness and fat loss benefits of HIRT.

Today’s HIRT workouts use dumbbells, free weights, cables, suspension trainers, and fixed bars to give you a fast, intense, and effective workout you can do at home or in the gym.

9 Benefits Of High Intensity Resistance Training

1. It’s short: perfect if you don’t have long to spend on your weights workouts

2.It can be used for full body workouts or for upper/lower or push/pull/legs

3. You get a lot of volume into one session without extending the workout time

.4 You get a cardio benefit as well as muscle stimulation (no need for extra cardio)

5. Less recovery time means more calories burned for the workout time

6. HIRT keeps you focused and engaged: you won’t have time to be bored!

7. You can do HIRT using any kind of resistance training kit available

8. If you love intensity, not long workouts, you’ll love the focus of HIRT

9. No need for a training partner or spotter, or even a trip to the gym!

Adding HIRT To Your Home Workouts

The beauty of HIRT is that you have total freedom in how to design your workout. The only rules are keeping intensity high and rest times short. You can use any resistance training equipment you have to hand: dumbbells, a barbell and weights, fixed bar, cables, Adding HIRT To Your Home Workouts suspension training kit, or cardio conditioning equipment like kettlebells.

HIRT is the ideal workout style for full body sessions or an  upper/lower split. So stay away from single body part splits (an entire HIRT session for shoulders would be pretty soul destroying!) HIRT works best when you work hard, so make the most of the opportunity to swap between upper and lower body, push and pull moves, pressing, rowing, and big leg movements.

HIRT tips

  • Have a plan before you head into a HIRT session at home.
  • You won’t have time to stop and think about what’s coming next, so make sure your session is written out clearly.
  • All you have to do is get it done.
  • Choose pairs of exercises to superset, or a series of circuits with 4+ exercises which you will repeat without rest.
  • Work in the 8-15 rep range per set - this is the sweet spot between intensity, load, and volume.
  • Power through each superset or circuit, and take 60 seconds after each set. Each block of work should be around 10 minutes long, and the entire HIRT workout should be 30-45 minutes.
A good quality set of dumbbells are a great way to get started with HIRT for home workouts - our urethane-encased dumbbells are safe and easy to use when you’re moving quickly between exercises (and they won’t get damaged - or damage anything else! - when you drop them).

If you want to take your home gym set up to the next level, look at the Power Personal and rack combo, and the incredible Power Personal Superior. You’ll be able to design an endless series of HIRT workouts at home with the rack, bench, bar, pulleys, and cables.
Try this HIRT workout to get you started: all you need is a set of dumbbells and a bench plus something to do pull ups off.

HIRT workouts

At home

Home Set 1:
  • 15 incline dumbbell presses
  • 10 goblet squats
  • 10 burpees
  • 12 bent over dumbbell rows (both arms at the same time)
Home Set 2:
  • 8-10 pull ups
  • 12 Romanian deadlifts
  • 10 overhead presses
  • 20 lunges (total) - either 10 static lunges per leg, or 20 walking lunges
Home Set 3:
  • 12+ close grip pull ups
  • 15 press ups
  • 20 step ups holding dumbbells (10 each leg)
  • 8+ hanging leg raises

At gym

Gym Set 1:
  • 10 barbell back squats
  • 10 barbell Romanian deadlifts
  • 10 barbell bent over rows
Gym Set 2:
  • 12 incline dumbbell press
  • 12 + 12 single arm dumbbell row
  • 12 seated dumbbell overhead press
Gym Set 3:
  • 15 lat pull down
  • 12+ 12 Bulgarian split squats or static barbell lunge
  • 10 hanging leg raises
  • 15+ kettlebell swings

Is HIRT your favourite style of training? We’d love to hear some of your most challenging HIRT circuits!

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