The Pros / Cons of High Intensity Strength Training

High intensity strength training is one way to get in shape and lose weight. However, like with anything, there are pros and cons to this kind of workout. While high intensity training can really maximize your time spent working out by demanding your body to work extremely hard over a shorter period of time, this can create problems for some people because there is not enough recovery time for the body to heal.

How Does High Intensity Strength Training Work?

High intensity strength training is a way to workout that involves any form of strength training (lifting weights, resistance training) that requires performing repetitions to the point of momentary muscle failure. This type of training is aimed at maximizing muscle mass by taking into account the amount of repetitions, weight lifted, and the amount of time that muscle is exposed to tension. By working out in this manner, you stimulate your body to increase the size of the muscles, making your overall muscle mass stronger, more efficient and larger.

Pros of High Intensity Strength Training

High intensity strength training is especially effective for burning fat. It has been shown to increase resting metabolic rates, meaning you will burn more calories for the 24 hours after you exercise. This type of training is believed by experts to be up to 4 times more effective than other training methods.

It is also effective to build stronger muscles. By targeting specific muscle groups with strength training, you will build your overall lean muscle mass, making your body run more efficiently. With many forms of cardio, you actually lose muscle mass while you are working out, but with high intensity strength training, you will always gain muscle.

Cons of High Intensity Strength Training

The lines between over-training are not always clear. When someone practices high intensity strength training, there are typically two results. Either the body adapts to accommodate the added stress or the body becomes overtrained or stressed (which results in a stop or decrease of training abilities). High intensity strength training can often lead to injuries or over-training stress that sidelines the participant for long periods of time.

Though a high intensity workout may take a shorter time to complete, that does not mean it will be any less difficult on the body. In fact, it will be much more difficult and exhausting than your typical cardio workout. Also, this type of workout does not help to increase your endurance, but instead focuses on solely building muscle.

Tips for a Safe High Intensity Workout

Here are some helpful tips that should always be used to keep you safe during a high intensity strength training session:

  • Train no more than 3 times per week, with at least 48 hours of rest between sessions.
  • Don’t use more than 12 exercises in any given training period.
  • Move from one exercise to the next without taking a rest.
  • Work the entire body in each session, instead of focusing on upper or lower body only.

To increase your muscle mass, high intensity strength training is a great option. Be sure to be safe and listen to your body to avoid overworking it on this type of challenging workout.


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Posts By Sequoia
  • Frank

    this is a great article, but you said not to train(HIT) more than 3 times per week. I was under the impression that you train your entire body in just one training session. I’ve started doing that a few weeks ago, after going to the gym for 3 years, and I have fabulous results. I do the entire body once per week, though. After such an intense workout I doubt I’d be able to do it more times per week, plus I need to give my body time to grow. Are you suggesting here that I do, say, my biceps and my chest on Monday, triceps and back on Wednesday and so on? Because I do just about 15 exercises and that’s enough for the entire body.

  • Herman

    I don’t agree with 2 things you mentioned. Regarding overtraining

    1. “The body adapts to accomodate the added stress”

    The body will NOT adapt, if you keep adding weight to the bar, and training to failure, like you should be doing in HIT

    2. “The body becomes overtrained or stress and this will lead to injuries.”

    The body will NOT become overtrained if you rest long enough to recuperate and grow from the previous workout. and you don’t just go to the gym because it’s “your day to go”.

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    Looks like this article was written by someone who hasn’t tried HIT themselves. It would be more responsible to first try a method, then write about it.