Are you looking to build muscle and wondering which workout plan to choose between Resistance Exercise and HIIT? Both have their own benefits, but which is superior in terms of a building muscle workout plan? While HIIT has gained immense popularity for its quick results and efficiency, resistance training has long been the go-to for those looking to follow a building muscle workout plan. This blog post will take a deep dive into the world of resistance training and HIIT. We will explore the history, benefits, and research on both types of workouts and which is the best building muscle workout plan. We will also discuss a pioneering study that shifted the paradigm on HIIT vs. Resistance Exercise. By the end of this blog post, you’ll clearly understand which workout plan is best for you and your fitness goals.
HIIT vs Resistance Training Building Muscle Workout Plan Summary
- Researchers compared changes in muscle breakdown markers after 7 weeks of resistance training (RT) and HIIT exercise (HIIT) muscle building workout plan.
- Thigh muscle size increased after 7 weeks of RT (2 days/week) as part of the building muscle workout plan, with declines occurring following 7 weeks of subsequent treadmill HIIT (3 days/week).
- The loss in RT-induced thigh muscle size with HIIT coincided with increases in several muscle protein breakdown markers, suggesting that sustained protein breakdown may have driven this response.
- Additionally, test tube data found that HIIT does not stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS), unlike RT.
The Rise and Rise of HIIT and Resistance Exercise Building Muscle Workout Plan
Muscle building, or hypertrophy, is a primary goal for many fitness enthusiasts. While various exercise modalities are available, resistance exercise (RT) and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) are among the most popular building muscle workout plans.
Over the past decade, HIIT has gained a massive following. Characterized by short, intense bursts of activity followed by rest intervals, it promises cardiovascular benefits and increases in muscle in a fraction of the time compared to traditional resistance exercise workouts. Many have turned to HIIT to get fit without spending hours in the gym.
On the other hand, resistance exercise, which involves working against an external force (like weights), has been the gold standard for those looking to increase muscle mass. It’s organized, targeted, and has a proven track record. This naturally leads to the question: Can the intense, adrenaline-fueled sessions of HIIT truly match the muscle-building prowess of traditional resistance training?
Understanding the Basics
Resistance Exercise involves working against an external force, typically weights, to challenge the muscles. The primary goal is to increase muscle strength and size over time through progressive overload.(Wackerhage et al., 2019) Resistance exercise is the gold standard building muscle workout plan.
Mechanism of Action:
- · Resistance exercise involves lifting weights or using resistance bands to challenge the muscles.
- · The primary mechanism behind muscle growth in resistance training is mechanical tension. (Grgic et al., 2017)
- · Muscle Growth: Resistance training is directly linked to muscle hypertrophy.(Schoenfeld et al., 2016)
- · Strength Development: Regular resistance training increases muscle strength.
- · Bone Density: It can improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Limitations and Risks:
- · Risk of Injury: Improper form can lead to injuries.
- · Overtraining: Without adequate rest, there’s a risk of overtraining, which can hinder muscle growth.
HIIT Building Muscle Workout Plan:
A cardiovascular workout regimen that alternates between short bursts of intense activity and rest or low-intensity periods. While it’s primarily known for its cardiovascular benefits, it has also been explored for its potential muscle-building effects.
Mechanism of Action:
- · HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest or low-intensity periods. The rapid intensity shifts cause metabolic stress and improvements in aerobic capacity.(Burgomaster et al., 2008)
- · Efficiency: HIIT workouts can be shorter than traditional workouts while still offering significant benefits.
- · Metabolic Boost: HIIT can increase post-exercise oxygen consumption, leading to a higher calorie burn even after the workout.
- · Muscle Preservation: HIIT can help preserve muscle mass while promoting fat loss.
Limitations and Risks:
- · Cardiovascular Stress: The high intensity can be challenging for those with heart conditions.
- · Risk of Burnout: HIIT can lead to burnout or overtraining without proper recovery.
Research on HIIT vs. Resistance Exercise Building Muscle Workout Plan
Muscles exhibit shared and distinct molecular reactions to RT and HIIT (Brook et al., 2022). Anabolic signaling markers are known to be boosted by RT (Pugh et al., 2015; Schiaffino et al., 2021; Schoenfeld, 2010). This supports the idea that RT promotes skeletal muscle growth.
On the other hand, while some research suggests HIIT can trigger an anabolic effect (Callahan et al., 2021), other studies hint that HIIT’s molecular reactions might hinder muscle-building processes or promote muscle breakdown. Notably, a 2017 study observed an uptick in markers of protein breakdown through the ubiquitin-proteasome system after three straight days of HIIT. (Haun et al., 2017)
Some studies suggest that HIIT can lead to muscle hypertrophy (growth).(Gahreman et al., 2016; Gibala et al., 2012; Heydari et al., 2012; Scoubeau et al., 2022) while others have found it has little to no impact on muscle size.(Joanisse et al., 2013; Joanisse et al., 2015) The molecular responses of muscles to HIIT are complex. While resistance training primarily boosts anabolic signaling markers, promoting muscle growth, HIIT’s effects are more varied. Some research suggests it can promote muscle growth, while others indicate it might inhibit it.
A Pioneering Study: Shifting the Paradigm on HIIT vs. Resistance Exercise
A recent study titled Proteolytic markers associated with a gain and loss of leg muscle mass with resistance training followed by high-intensity interval training examined protein related to muscle breakdown and thigh muscle size in response to 7 weeks of resistance training (RT, 2 days/week), followed by 7 weeks of HIIT training (3 days/week). The study involved 11 college-aged males (23 ± 4 years) who volunteered for the study.
The HIIT program was performed on a treadmill, with participants gradually increasing the number of sets and intensity of their workouts over time. The HIIT program consisted of 1 minute of running at a high intensity, interspersed by 1.5 to 3 minutes of running at a low intensity. The “sprints” and the recovery intensity were determined using the speed and inclination values achieved in the VO2 max. The program lasted for a total of 7 weeks, with participants training 3 times per week.
It consisted of leg press, bench press, leg extension, cable pull-down, and leg curl exercises, with participants performing sets of 6 repetitions for the exercises targeting quadriceps muscles (i.e., leg press and leg extension) and 3 sets of 10 repetitions for the other exercises.
RT Results in Increased Thigh Muscle Size and Increased Muscle Protein Synthesis
At the end of the study, the muscle size of the thighs increased after the 7 weeks of resistance training but then declined after the 7 weeks of high-intensity interval training. This means that the muscle size increased initially but decreased later on. Markets of protein breakdown (i.e., Atrogene mRNAs -TRIM63, FBXO32, FOXO3A) were increased after HIIT versus during resistance exercise.
HIIT Increases Protein Breakdown and Muscle Breakdown Markers
The study concluded that the loss in muscle mass with HIIT coincided with increases in several markers of muscle tissue breakdown, suggesting that sustained muscle tissue breakdown may have driven the loss of muscle mass during HIIT. Additionally, test tube data found that HIIT does not stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS), unlike RT. (Michel et al., 2023)A previous study reported that RT increased muscle protein synthesis both acutely and chronically, but endurance training did not affect these outcomes. (Wilkinson et al., 2008)
The world of fitness offers many options, each with its unique benefits. While HIIT is excellent for those short on time and looking for cardiovascular benefits, traditional resistance exercise remains the top choice for your building muscle workout plan. As science continues to uncover more about these training methods, one thing is clear: a personalized approach, based on individual goals and informed by the latest research, is the key to achieving optimal fitness results.
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Benefits of resistance training vs. HIIT Building Muscle Workout Plan
Resistance training and HIIT offer unique benefits when it comes to building muscle and improving overall fitness. Resistance training specifically targets particular muscle groups, leading to hypertrophy and strength gains. By engaging in exercises that focus on specific areas like the biceps, upper body, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and triceps, individuals can effectively stimulate muscle growth and development. This type of training also helps improve bone density and increases metabolism for long-term fat loss.
On the other hand, HIIT workouts provide cardiovascular benefits and improve endurance. With high-intensity intervals pushing the body to its limits, HIIT burns calories in a shorter timeframe than traditional steady-state cardio exercises. This makes it an efficient option for those with limited time.
For a well-rounded approach to fitness and overall health, combining both resistance training and HIIT can be beneficial. This way, individuals can enjoy the targeted muscle development and strength gains from resistance training while also reaping HIIT’s cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits.
Determining your priorities and consulting with a fitness professional when designing an effective workout plan is important. They can help tailor a program that suits your goals and preferences, ensuring you get the most out of your training sessions. Remember to prioritize proper form, technique, and recovery to optimize muscle development and reduce the risk of injury.
How many days a week should I work out when trying to build muscle?
When trying to build muscle, working at least 3-4 days a week is recommended. This allows for adequate rest and recovery between sessions, which is important for muscle growth. It’s also important to listen to your body and adjust your frequency and intensity based on your individual needs and goals.