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High Intensity Resistance Training: A Game Changer in Fitness

high intensity resistance training

In today’s fitness world, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT). Particularly appealing to men who seek results in strength, muscle size, and fat loss, HIRT promises efficiency and effectiveness. But what exactly is this training technique, and why is it a game changer for modern men? Let’s dive in.

High Intensity Resistance Training for Men: A Game Changer in Fitness

Understanding High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT)

HIRT is a workout method that combines the principles of high-intensity training (such as what’s seen in HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training) with traditional resistance or strength training. The objective? To build strength and muscle while simultaneously burning fat, all within a compact time frame. This form of exercise is typically characterized by short, intense bursts of resistance training exercises, followed by minimal rest intervals.


Efficiency: One of the primary reasons HIRT is becoming popular, especially among men, is the time efficiency. Many of us are juggling work, family, and other commitments. HIRT allows for a comprehensive workout in a fraction of the time traditional workouts might require.

Dual Benefits: This method is especially advantageous because it merges the benefits of both cardio and resistance training. That means not only are you enhancing cardiovascular health, but you’re also building muscle.

Increased Metabolism: The intensity of high intensity resistance training can lead to an elevated metabolic rate for hours post-workout, commonly referred to as the afterburn effect or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means you continue to burn calories long after the workout is done.

Muscle Preservation: Unlike steady-state cardio, which can sometimes lead to muscle loss, HIRT is designed to build and preserve muscle, ensuring that most of the weight loss comes from fat stores.

A Sample HIRT Workout for Men

While there are many ways to incorporate high intensity resistance training, here’s a basic sample workout to get you started:

Warm-Up (5 minutes): Begin with a full-body dynamic warm-up. This could include jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings, and bodyweight squats.

Circuit 1 (Repeat 3 times):

  • Push-ups: 30 seconds (Max reps)
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Dumbbell Squats: 30 seconds (Max reps)
  • Rest: 10 seconds

2 (Repeat 3 times):

  • Pull-ups or Assisted Pull-ups: 30 seconds (Max reps)
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Dumbbell Lunges: 30 seconds (Alternating legs, max reps)
  • Rest: 10 seconds

3 (Repeat 3 times): High Intensity Resistance Training

  • Dumbbell Rows: 30 seconds (Max reps)
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Plank: 30 seconds (Hold)
  • Rest: 10 seconds

Cool Down (5 minutes): Stretch major muscle groups and focus on deep breathing to help in recovery.

Tips for Success

Safety First: As with any workout, especially high-intensity ones, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re performing exercises with correct form to avoid injury.

Hydration: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. The intensity can lead to rapid dehydration if you’re not careful.

Progression: Start with what’s manageable and gradually increase the intensity and duration of workouts. Remember, quality over quantity.

Recovery: High intensity means higher demands on the body. Ensure you’re giving your muscles adequate time to recover between sessions.

The Science Behind High Intensity Resistance Training

To truly appreciate the value of HIRT, it’s essential to understand the science behind it. When we engage in high-intensity activities, our bodies tap into anaerobic energy systems. This means that we’re primarily using stored muscle glycogen as our primary fuel source. As we exhaust this quick-access energy, our muscles produce lactic acid, which contributes to the “burn” you feel during intense workouts. The rapid depletion and subsequent recovery of these energy stores are what lead to the heightened post-exercise calorie burn, or EPOC.

Benefits Beyond the Muscles: High Intensity Resistance Training

While muscle growth and fat loss are fantastic benefits, HIRT offers even more:

Mental Toughness: High intensity resistance training can be challenging. Pushing through when every muscle in your body screams to stop builds not just physical strength but mental resilience.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Regular high-intensity workouts can improve the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Heart Health: HIRT can elevate heart rate quickly, and over time, can lead to improved cardiovascular endurance and a healthier heart.

Tailoring HIRT to Your Needs

One of the beautiful aspects of HIRT is its flexibility. Depending on your goals, you can adjust the intensity, equipment, and type of exercises:

  • Strength Focus: Incorporate compound lifts like deadlifts, bench presses, and squats with heavy weights for shorter durations.
  • Endurance Focus: Use lighter weights, but increase the exercise duration or decrease the rest intervals.
  • Mobility Focus: Integrate dynamic movements like kettlebell swings, box jumps, or burpees.

Challenges & Common Misconceptions

Like any training regimen, high intensity resistance training isn’t without its challenges and misconceptions:

“More is Always Better”: Just because it’s high-intensity doesn’t mean longer is better. Overtraining can lead to injuries, decreased immune function, and mental burnout.

“HIRT is Only for the Experienced”: While beginners should approach with caution, they can still benefit by adjusting the intensity and ensuring proper form. Everyone has to start somewhere.

“Weights Will Make Me Bulky”: Especially among men, there’s a misconception that lifting weights, especially in a high-intensity setting, will result in an overly bulky physique. However, gaining muscle size is a combination of training, diet, genetics, and specifically targeted hypertrophy work.

The Role of Diet in HIRT

Given the intense nature of HIRT, diet plays a crucial role in recovery and energy provision. Here’s what you need to consider:

Carbohydrates: Since glycogen is your primary energy source during high intensity resistance training, ensure you’re refueling with quality carbohydrates post-workout. This can be in the form of whole grains, fruits, or starchy vegetables.

Protein: To aid in muscle repair and growth, incorporate a good protein source after your workout. Think lean meats, dairy, legumes, or protein shakes.

Fats: While not the primary energy source during HIRT, healthy fats are vital for overall health and can aid in sustained energy throughout the day.

Incorporating HIRT into Your Routine

For those used to traditional forms of exercise, transitioning to HIRT can be daunting. Begin by incorporating one HIRT session a week into your routine, gradually increasing as you feel more comfortable. Listen to your body. Some might find that 2-3 sessions a week is optimal, while others can handle more.

In Conclusion

High intensity resistance training is more than just a trend; it’s a testament to the evolving understanding of exercise science and the capabilities of the human body. For men seeking a challenging, efficient, and effective workout, it’s an invaluable method. As you embark on or continue your HIRT journey, remember to enjoy the process, celebrate the small victories, and always prioritize health over aesthetics. With dedication, the results – both seen and felt – will undoubtedly follow.

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    Men’s Fit Club was started with the goal of empowering men to get the most out of their lives. This meant going beyond exercise and diet tips to really address the broad range of issues that men face on a daily basis – topics like recreation, finding love, sexual health and even sound fashion advice.