Both High-Intensity Resistance Training programs (HIRT workouts) improved cardiovascular fitness. Both types of training resulted in a decrease in body fat. Replacing the TRX chest press exercise with a bench press and substituting the sumo squats with an upright row with barbell squats proved an effective way to increase muscle mass. Following a High-Intensity Function Training Program and going heavier on these two exercises (i.e., bench press and squat) resulted in greater muscle mass than the High-Intensity Functional Training alone.
SUMMARY OF NEW RESEARCH ON HIGH-INTENSITY FUNCTIONAL EXERCISE SWAPS
- Both High-Intensity Resistance Training programs (HIFT workouts) improved cardiovascular fitness.
- Both types of training resulted in a decrease in body fat.
- Replacing the TRX chest press exercise with a bench press and substituting the sumo squats with an upright row with barbell squats proved an effective way to increase muscle mass.
- Following a High-Intensity Function Training Program and going heavier on these two exercises (i.e., bench press and squat) resulted in greater muscle mass than the High-Intensity Functional Training alone.
HIIT WORKOUT VS HIFT WORKOUT
Most people are familiar with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which involves an exercise program that is performed with short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise for recovery. There is a new form of HIIT training called High-Intensity Functional training (HIFT).
A high-intensity functional training program emphasizes functional, multi-joint movements via aerobic and weight training exercises (Heinrich et al., 2015). CrossFit is an excellent example of HIFT in which a variety of aerobic and resistance training exercises are combined, such as running, rowing, squats, push-ups, snatch, deadlifts, etc., are combined. (Murawska-Cialowicz et al., 2015) Although HIIT and HIFT consist of multi-joint intense workouts, there are differences.
The difference between HIIT and HIFT is HIIT utilizes one model, such as running, rowing, biking, etc. In contrast, HIFT uses a multi-model of exercises, such as aerobic exercises combined with strength training. Studies that have compared HIIT to HIFT have found that although both increase aerobic fitness levels, only HIFT increases muscle power, strength, and muscular endurance. (Buckley et al., 2015)
Another difference between HIIT and HIFT is rest period durations. HIIT requires a specific rest period length (e.g., 2-minute rest periods). HIFT requires a lifter to do as many reps as possible to failure, and the rest period is based on the individual fitness level of the person. Therefore, rest is taken “as needed” on an individual level.
DOES HIFT BUILD MUSCLE
A recent study found that 8 weeks of HIFT improved aerobic exercise capacity and reduced body fat but no increases in muscle mass. (Georgios Posnakidis et al., 2022) This is somewhat perplexing, given that low and high-intensity exercise can increase muscle mass.
The researchers suspected that during HIFT, many bodyweight exercises are performed with reps of excess of 15 repetitions. Furthermore, many power exercises do not exceed a weight of 60% of a 1-RM. Some believe that weights in excess of 70% of a 1-RM are needed for optimal increases in muscle hypertrophy. Traditionally strength training with heavier weights (i.e., 80% of a 1-RM) is considered necessary for gaining muscle mass.
HIFT VS HIFT STUDY FOR GAINING MUSCLE
A recent study shows that tweaking two exercises can increase muscle mass with any HIFT exercise program. The researchers switched an upper body exercise (i.e., switched a TRX chest press with a bench press with bar) and a lower body exercise (i.e., switched a sumo squat with an upright row press with a regular squat).
The TRX chest press muscles worked include the chest, arms, and shoulders. The disadvantage of the TRX chest press is that you use your own bodyweight as a resistance exercise.
Researchers took healthy males and females and assigned them to two groups:
Traditional High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT): Clean and press, box jumps, TRX chest press, wall ball throws, burpees, repeated 10 m sprints, sumo squats and upright row (at 65% of a 1-RM), and abdominal crunches.
High-Intensity Power Training (HIPT): This group did the same workout but swapped two exercises and trained with a heavier weight. They swapped the TRX chest press for the bench press and the sumo squats and upright row for the squat. Both the squat and Bench press was performed with 80% of a 1-RM.
The sumo squat muscles worked include the legs and shoulders; however, the amount of weight used is limited with a dumbbell. The legs are wider than shoulder-width apart the dumbbell is lowered to the ground and then raised to the chin. The squat works the legs as well, but a much higher weight can be used compared to a sumo squat.
In both groups, the exercises were periodized so that the exercise intensity progression was performed by increasing the weights used in each exercise and, thus, the difficulty level in each exercise. They measured muscle mass, % body fat, muscle strength, and aerobic fitness levels. bic fitness levels.
ONLY THE HIFT GROUP GAINED MUSCLE
At the end of the 8-week study, both groups lost body fat, but the HIPT tended to lose more body fat (-5.5%) compared to HIFT (-2.7%). Another interesting finding was that the HIFT group tended to lose muscle mass (-0.9%), while the HIPT gained muscle mass (+2.57%).