HIIT after Lifting Weights – A Detailed Guide

When it comes to fitness, there are a lot of questions that come up. One of the most common one is whether high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be done after lifting weights or not?

Well to answer the ‘can’ part you definitely can do HIIT after lifting weights, but is it good for your fitness goals?

Let’s have a look at how HIIT after lifting weights impacts different fitness goals!

For Losing Weight and Building Muscles:

If your goal is to lose weight and build muscle, and weight loss is the primary goal among them, then doing HIIT after lifting weights is definitely good. It burns calories and fat and helps you achieve the calorie deficit required to achieve weight loss.

But remember, according to Dr. Eric Berg in a 5 minutes video below, exercise only helps 15% in your weight loss journey. The rest is dependent on your diet, sleep, rest and recovery:

For Building Muscles while Bulking Up:

If you want to bulk up and build muscles, HIIT after lifting weights is still good for you. But there is far more to this subject than the famous myth of HIIT is not good for building muscles.

According to a Shredded Sports Science video below, anaerobic HIIT cardio like High Intensity Interval Cycling affects strength and hypertrophy similarly in both resistance training + HIIT and only resistance training.

They have shared a study of 11 men doing resistance training + HIIT and 11 men doing only resistance training over the period of 8 weeks 2 sessions a week.

The outcome was:

  1. strength increase in the quadricep muscles was similar in both groups
  2. muscle fiber cross sectional area was similar, and
  3. the increase in different types of muscle fiber like type 1, type 2 etc was also similar between both groups

Check out the video below:

5 Benefits of HIIT after Lifting Weights:

1. Burn fat and build muscle:

Doing HIIT after lifting weights has a double benefit. Lifting weights help you in building muscles while HIIT is good for burning fats.

HIIT allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than traditional cardio exercises. This is because HIIT causes your body to produce more heat, which leads to an increased metabolic rate.

Those calories burn continue to happen even several hours after workout.

But do take care of one thing, don’t do any sort of cardio or HIIT immediately after lifting if your goals are to gain muscle or gain strength at close to the highest rate possible.

Jason Blaha, a famous Natural powerlifter, strength athlete & strength coach in his Youtube video has talked intensively on this subject below:

2. Increasing strength and endurance:

When you lift weights, you create micro-tears in your muscles. When those tears repair they shape your body, and that’s how muscles are built.

On the other hand, HIIT make your muscles stronger and more resilient.

HIIT increases mitochondrial density in the skeletal muscle. These cell components increase the energy in muscles.

As a result, there is increase in energy levels, strength, and endurance over time.

3. Boosting testosterone production:

Lifting weights can cause a temporary decrease in testosterone levels. HIIT can help to counteract this effect and increase testosterone production.

4. Reducing the risk of heart disease:

Lifting weights can increase your cholesterol levels, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. HIIT can help to reduce this risk by improving your cholesterol profile.

5. Reveal muscles:

Lifting weights can help you to build muscle mass. HIIT can help you to burn off any excess body fat, which will help to reveal your new muscles.

There are countless other benefits to HIIT, including improved athletic performance and better overall health.

HIIT Workouts for Weightlifters:

The upper-body HIIT workout for weightlifters is a great way to add some intensity to your lifting routine. It can be done as a standalone workout or added to the end of your regular workout.

Alternatively, you can perform each of the below exercises for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest between exercises. Complete 3 rounds.

  1. Pushups
  2. Dumbbell shoulder press
  3. Bent-over dumbbell row
  4. Seated Arnold press
  5. Standing lateral raise

FAQs about HIIT and Lifting Weights:

1. How to add HIIT into your Lifting Routine?

If you’re looking to add HIIT into your lifting routine, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, make sure that you are lifting heavy weights during your traditional strength training routine.

Second, limit your HIIT to 1-2 times per week, and make sure that you are fully recovered before incorporating it into your routine.

HIIT Training for Lifting:

There are a few different HIIT protocols that can be used for lifting.

One of the most popular is the Tabata protocol, which involves alternating 20 seconds of all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds.

Another popular protocol is the 5×5 workout, which involves five sets of five repetitions with a minute of rest between sets.

When incorporating HIIT into your lifting routine, it’s important to use weights that are challenging.

You should be able to complete only 8-10 reps of your traditional strength training exercises before failure.

If you can complete more than 12 reps, the weight is too light and you won’t be able to get the full benefits of HIIT.

2. Can you Build Muscle with HIIT?

Yes HIIT does build muscle but not on its own. Building muscles depends on what other exercises you are doing along with HIIT.

Because HIIT itself is endurance enhancing protocol meaning a set of interval training exercises used to build stamina and endurance.

That stamina and endurance can then be utilized in weight exercises to build muscles.

HIIT workouts can be done with almost any type of exercise, including cardio, weightlifting, and bodyweight exercises.

The best part is that they can be done in a very short amount of time – as little as 4 minutes like in Tabata training method.

3. HIIT before or after weights?

There are many schools of thought when it comes to the best time to lift weights: before a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, after a HIIT session, or on separate days altogether.

The answer to this question largely depends on your goals and what you hope to achieve from your workouts.

If you’re looking to build muscle, lifting weights before a HIIT session is likely your best bet.

Doing so will help ensure that your body has the energy it needs to power through your high-intensity workout, without being weighed down by the added stress of lifting heavyweights.

Additionally, research has shown that performing strength training before cardio can increase the amount of fat you burn during your workout.

If, on the other hand, you’re focused on improving your cardiovascular health and overall endurance, lifting weights after a HIIT session may be a better option.

This will allow you to take advantage of the increased energy and intensity you get from HIIT while avoiding the muscle fatigue that can come from strength training.

Guidelines for HIIT after weight training:

  1. Start with a lower intensity if you are new to HIIT or have not been active recently. As you get more comfortable with HIIT, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.
  2. Always warm up and cool down before and after HIIT workouts.
  3. Make sure you have plenty of water on hand and drink regularly throughout your workout.
  4. Listen to your body and stop if you feel exhausted or experience pain.
  5. Wait at least 48 hours between high-intensity interval training sessions to allow your muscles time to recover.

4. Is Weightlifting considered HIIT?

Weightlifting can be considered HIIT if it is done in an interval fashion.

This means that you should be lifting weights at a high intensity for a certain period of time, and then resting for a brief period. You can also do this with cardio exercises.

There are many different types of HIIT workouts, and weightlifting can definitely be one of them. When done correctly, weightlifting can be an excellent HIIT workout.

5. Does HIIT ruin gains?

There are a lot of fitness myths out there, and one of the most common is that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will ruin your gains.

This myth likely comes from the fact that HIIT can be really tough and it’s easy to overdo it.

However, if you’re smart about your HIIT routine, it can actually help you build muscle and burn fat.


That’s all in HIIT after lifting weights. When you are done lifting weights, consider doing a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.

HIIT is a great way to burn calories and fat, and it only takes a few minutes to complete. Share this article on social media to help your friends and family stay safe and healthy.