After the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) fever, a similar training method begins to fall in the taste of people who exercise at the gym: HIRT (High Intensity Resistance Training), or high-intensity resistance training.
Elected as one of the main fitness trends for this year by Australian Institute of Fitness, HIRT brings dynamics to strength training (weight exercises, such as weight training). Next, we explain what the method is and what its main benefits are.
It’s a training method in which you perform strength exercises (squats, bench presses, rows, etc.) very intensely, with very little rest between repetitions — 10, 15 or 20 seconds, for example. The goal is to achieve muscle fatigue (exhaustion), which provides strength and mass gain (we’ll explain the benefits of training further below).
There is no single protocol for HIRT. The best-known strategy that has already been applied in studies proposes the following:
The format takes the muscle three times to maximum effort (or to failure) with a pause that does not allow for full recovery. “This is the big difference in the method”, explains physical education teacher Antonio Arruda, a specialist in exercise physiology and a master’s degree in biochemistry from UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco).
For those who don’t want to use a very high load (or don’t have many weights available), Arruda suggests doing 8 to 12 repetitions to failure; rest for 10 seconds; do 2 to 3 more repetitions of the same exercise to failure; rest for another 10; and finish with another 2 to 3 repetitions to failure.
Unlike “conventional” training, which proposes three or four sets of 8 to 15 movements, in HIRT there is practically one set, with short rests between repetitions of each exercise. With this, it is possible to reduce the time to complete the training by 30% to 40%, obtaining results similar to those of traditional weight training — basically, gain in strength and muscle mass (hypertrophy).
“We need to learn to perform a training well done and not just worry about training more. Doing more intense exercises with low volume (duration) is better than carrying out a conventional training”, says the master in physical education and doctor in health sciences Paulo Gentil, professor at UFG (Federal University of Goiás) and franchise partner. Personal.
As it is a high-intensity training strategy, the HIRT enables high calorie expenditure during exercise and post-workout body fat burning, according to a study published by Journal of Translational medicine.
This happens due to the great wear and tear that this type of stimulus causes on the muscles, requiring a great effort from the body to recover them after physical activity (a process that can last more than 24 hours). “The body will need to synthesize more protein and produce more anti-inflammatory responses because of the microtrauma generated in the muscles. This generates a high energy expenditure in recovery, which uses body fat as a source of energy”, explains Arruda.
Therefore, the HIRT contributes so much both for the weight loss process and for muscle mass gain. But to have any of these results, it is also essential to follow a healthy diet, in addition to respecting the rest period and sleeping well.
As its name suggests, HIIT is a workout based on short sets of high-intensity exercise, with the aim of keeping your heart rate very high (close to your maximum capacity), followed by rest intervals (low intensity).
To enable the athlete to maintain high intensity in the sets, HIIT usually uses predominantly aerobic activities, such as running, biking, rowing, rope, jumping, jumping jacks. Some strength exercises can also be used, such as squats. But, in this case, the movements are usually made only with body weight or with a low load.
Studies carried out in Germany showed that the method helped to combat cardiometabolic risk factors (associated with heart disease) in overweight men aged between 30 and 50 years. In addition, HIRT brings all the benefits that any strength training and physical activities in general offer: glycemic control (blood sugar), bone mass gain (preventing osteoporosis) and reduction in the risk of chronic diseases in general, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer.
Thus, we can say that HIRT is an interesting option of activity for those looking to improve their health and have little time on their schedule.
Because it doesn’t require as much agility, HIRT can be performed by anyone who doesn’t have restrictions to do intense strength exercises.
However, as the strategy requires strength and focus on the execution of movements to reach fatigue, it ends up being more suitable for more experienced people in bodybuilding. “It is even interesting for those who are suffering a plateau effect (stagnation of results) in strength training”, adds Arruda.
It is important to remember that the method requires intensity, something individual and that needs to be adapted for each one. People who have some kind of knee injury, for example, may need to lift less weight. In these cases, the number of repetitions can be greater or the intervals should be smaller, for the training to remain intense.
Talk to a fitness professional before including HIRT in your routine. Expert guidance is essential for you to know the load, repetitions and rest time of the exercises.