Want to lose fat while maintaining (or gaining) muscle? Sprint. Want to gain muscle without putting on fat? Sprint. Want to get stronger while improving your body composition in the process? Sprint. How about increasing your life expectancy? Sprinting has been shown to do that, too.
The Good News, anybody can do it!
You don’t need to be able to run like Usain Bolt, you just need to give it your 100%. If you’re not gasping for air and contemplating whether or not to pack it in for the day after a 20-second sprint, it’s not because your sprinting mechanics are elite; it’s because you took it too easy.
Maximal power output is maximal power output, regardless of skill.
Wait, ISN'T SPRINTING DANGEROUS?
Not really. The only truly "dangerous" exercises are the ones the body isn't prepared for. Sprinting is no exception.
Let’s take a smart approach; If you haven't sprinted since your high school days, venturing out to your local track and going all-out on day one may not be the best idea. While sprinting requires maximal intent, we as Coaches can develop your individualised program for your specific needs.
1. Weight Loss
We know High Intensity Interval Training is king for Fat Loss (there is a time and a place for low intensity cardio).
There are many different modalities for HIIT such as skipping, rowing and biking, but the question remains Which is the best for fat loss? Many studies suggest that Sprinting may yield the best results.
Nicholas Rizzo, a fitness researcher for RunRepeat, conducted an extensive meta-analysis of over 70+ scientific studies in order to compare the effects of conventional HIIT, sprint interval training (SIT), and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) for fat loss. What he found was that, despite spending 60% less time exercising, SIT participants experienced a 39.6% higher reduction in body fat percentage than participants who performed conventional HIIT. In comparison to MICT, SIT resulted in a 91.8% higher reduction in body fat percentage while requiring 71.1% less time exercising.
The takeaway? Among all HIIT modalities, sprinting almost always reigns supreme.
High-intensity interval training neeids to be just that, high-intensity, in order to maximise it’s impact on fat loss.
During a sprint your systems are being pushed to their absolute limits, your arms and legs are going as fast as possible, your feet are driving into the ground with maximal force on every step and your core needs to be able to handle these forces. Given all of these demands, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that sprinting is hard work and requires maximal power output.
2. Muscle Growth!
Sprinting may not fall into the same category as bicep curls and squats when it comes to hypertrophy training, but it definitely builds muscle both directly and indirectly.
Directly Sprinting increases the proportion of Type II “fast twitch” muscle fibres in the legs, which has a direct correlation with increased muscle mass and strength – especially in the glutes and hamstrings. This is one of the reasons why most explosive athletes in sports are almost always the ones with the best physiques, as their predominance of fast-twitch muscle fibres enables them to train harder than most mere mortals.
Indirectly Sprinting has been shown to yield enormous hormonal benefits by increasing protein synthesis, boosting testosterone, spiking HGH production, and improving insulin sensitivity. These hormones are paramount for muscle growth, fat loss, and even recovery.
In other words, sprinting won’t directly give baseball sized biceps, but it will facilitate positive hormonal adaptations that make it easier to grow and recover across the board.
That means that, on top of building Instagram-worthy glutes and horse-like hamstrings, sprinting will stimulate more muscle growth throughout the rest of the body.
15-30 sec rest between each rep
2-5min rest between each set