High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT)


imagejpeg_2_9High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) is essentially resistance training for fat loss, and like HIIT, it really is a big deal. HIRT training is the most effective way to increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), increase your Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and burn calories at the same time.

When using HIRT you will execute several exercises together (sometimes called a super-set or giant-set), for a certain number of reps per set, for a certain number of minutes, without rest.

Along with HIIT, HIRT is a useful tool when avoiding endurance cardio while trying to lose fat, and it actually increases muscle mass more effectively than HIIT.

HIRT training will give you the following benefits:

  • Increase metabolism for up to 36 hours post-workout

  • Outperform aerobic exercise in fat loss studies

  • Maintain muscle mass on a low calorie diet 

  • Build muscle mass on a moderate to high calorie diet

  • Minimize fat gain on a high calorie diet

  • Burn more calories than endurance cardio

  • Increase muscle density

  • Improve anaerobic endurance

  • Improve aerobic endurance

The Theory Behind HIRT

The important things to know about HIRT are:

  • HIRT workouts help maintain muscle mass when following a low calorie diet

  • HIRT workouts outperform diet and aerobic exercise in fat loss studies

  • HIRT workouts increase metabolism for up to 36 hours

The principles of HIRT are:

  • Full body workouts using sets of 5 to 15 reps

  • Pushing through the lactic acid burn

  • Utilizing a variety of combo-sets (super-sets, tri-sets, giant-sets, etc…)

  • Utilizing compound exercises

  • Focusing on the largest muscle groups


Most important, we have to stay true to the two rules of HIRT:

  • You must maximize the intensity of each set. That means pushing it until you collapse or complete the drill. No resting or slowing down before the time limit is up.

  • You must maximize the intensity of each workout. Use all the time available to you, to complete as much work as possible. This is the only way to realize the maximum metabolic and muscle retention benefits of HIRT.



As mentioned before, along with burning calories through exercise, two of the most important factors in exercising to lose fat, are increasing BMR over the long term, and increasing EPOC per workout. Let’s learn a little more about BMR and EPOC, shall we?

Why do we care about BMR?

Your BMR describes the base metabolic rate for your body. It tells us how many calories your body burns at rest. Burning more calories at rest means you will lose fat faster or gain fat slower (if your daily calorie intake is too high). Improving BMR is simple: when you have more muscle mass, your body has a higher BMR.

Increasing your BMR will help you burn more calories over the long term.

Why do we care about EPOC?

Your EPOC describes how quickly your metabolism returns to your BMR after exercise. Because it deals more with the aerobic energy system, HIIT is more effective at increasing EPOC than HIRT, but not by very much. When targeting fat loss, we want to focus on workouts that increase EPOC as well as BMR.

The higher we can pump the EPOC after each workout, the more calories we will burn in the short term.

1452382_739946832685958_1782071065_nDesigning a HIRT Training Routine

HIRT can be used for either cutting or bulking, usually maintain muscle mass while decreasing body fat, but also to minimize fat gains while increasing muscle mass. HIRT is also somewhat effective at improving aerobic endurance and even more effective at increasing anaerobic endurance.

As always, your diet is still 75% responsible for determining how these goals are achieved. Manipulate calorie intake and macronutrient ratios to gain muscle or lose fat according to your goals.

Guidelines used for creating a HIRT workout:

  • Each HIRT workout must be a full body routine.

  • Sets of 5 to 15 reps will be used. Lower reps to focus on muscle gain, higher reps to focus on muscular endurance.

  • Each HIRT workout will use super-sets, tri-sets, or giant-sets.

  • Each HIRT exercise will be a compound exercise focusing on the largest muscle groups.

  • Each super-set should last 8-10 minutes.

  • 60-90 seconds rest between super-sets.

  • No rest within a super-set.

  • All exercises should be executed explosively – meaning as fast as possible while maintaining good form.


For more information on HIRT please visit:


GG Programs » High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT)