If you’ve been slacking this new year, it’s time to get back on track. 2021 is the year of personal development and that includes your personal fitness goals too.
If you want an efficient workout that burns calories, builds stamina, increases your cardiovascular activity along with strength and endurance, let us introduce you to the holy grail of workouts: sprint workouts or sprint training.
If you want your fitness and training to be well-rounded, you must include sprint workouts. It’s time to ditch those weights and rely on heavy cardio workouts like this one. Sprint training gets your heart pumping and is, therefore, one of the best workouts you can do.
The best part? You don’t need a gym trainer or even equipment to perform these workouts. You can do sprint training in the comfort of your own house and they are absolutely free of cost.
Here is a complete guide on sprinting workouts and why you should do them.
What are sprint workouts?
In layman’s terms, sprint training is an effective exercise or workout regiment that aids in fat loss, boosts BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate, and builds muscle. Sprint training is a recommended choice of exercise for cardiovascular workouts. It has been around for centuries and remains a popular choice of professional athletes.
With sprint training, there are two ways to achieve the best results:
Flat sprints are what beginners should start with when it comes to sprint training. To perform flat sprints you will have to run at high speed on a flat surface. That means you can run on a jogging path, sports field, a sports track, or even on a sidewalk in your neighbourhood.
Incline sprints are a more advanced form in the sprint training workout regiment. Incline sprinting workouts engage more muscle groups and are thus a more effective sprint workout. However, it is recommended that you start with flat sprints before moving on to incline sprints, especially if you are a beginner. To perform incline sprints, you have to choose a hill with a steep grade with at least50 yards of running space.
Benefits of sprint workouts
If you are still not convinced regarding why you should include sprinting workouts to your exercise regiment, look at some of the benefits sprint workouts has to offer:
- Sprint training is efficient
Sprint workout is a popular cardio exercise, however, adding sprints to any workout helps you benefit from high-intensity interval training or HIIT. The high-intensity interval training pairs intense intervals with a low to moderate recovery period. Therefore, while you are engaging your muscle groups, you get adequate time to rest them and recover from any strain.
Sprint training not only saves your time and boosts your heart, it also burns more calories than any steady workout.
- Sprint workouts improve performance
If you are a professional athlete or just someone who likes to play a sport for fun, try sprint training. Including sprint workout intervals in your fitness regimen can help boost athletic performance.
Trained runners can build up on endurance and anaerobic performance after two to three weeks of consistent sprint training.
- Sprinting workouts boosts your power
Sprint workouts are a great power and energy booster. Sprint training requires you to exert quick bursts of energy in an anaerobic state which in turn boosts your strength and speed.
- Sprint workouts increase your anaerobic threshold.
Sprint workouts allow your body to increase its natural anaerobic threshold, that is, it allows your body to work harder for a longer duration or period.
- Sprint workouts preserve muscle mass
Our bodies are made of type I and type II muscle fibers. When sprinting or running distances of cardio, you engage your type I or slow-twitch muscle fibers. Whereas, during heavy sprinting, fast-twitch or type II muscle fibers are activated. This combination helps your body to enhance muscle definition while giving your legs a lean appearance. You lose lean muscle mass with age, so sprinting helps prevent that.
A sample beginner sprint workout routine
If you have zero to no clue regarding how to go about a sprint training workout, consider this sample beginner sprint workout:
Warm your body up for a good 15-20 minutes. This is a crucial first step and your routine must include stretching, light jogging, exercises like jumping jacks, skipping rope, twisting, and burpees. A good warm-up session will ensure that you are ready for your heavy sprinting workout.
- First sprint session:
Since you are a beginner, start with a flat sprint. At first, sprint at a moderate pace, exerting only 50 to 60 percent of your body’s maximum ability and effort. Sprint for intervals of 30 to 45 seconds.
- Active recovery period:
The active recovery period is another crucial period. After your heavy 30 to 45 second sprinting period, slow down yourself and walk at a normal pace for a minute or two.
- Second Sprint session:
Now, pick your pace up again and sprint for another 30 to 45 seconds. This time exert yourself to give a maximum of 70 percent effort and ability.
- Second active recovery phase:
Now, again slow down your pace and continue walking for a minute or two (three minutes is fine too if you feel tired), and remember to breathe in and breathe out.
- Third sprint session:
For the third and last sprint session of the first round, sprint for about 30 seconds at a maximum of 80 percent effort.
- Third active recovery phase:
After heavy sprinting for about 30 seconds, slow down your pace once again and walk slowly or at a normal pace for a minute or two, not longer.
Lastly, continue this entire routine for 20 minutes keeping 80 percent of effort and ability at your maximum.
When you’ve mastered the beginner flat sprints, you can increase your effort up to a full 100 percent and even go for incline sprints on steep hills.
In conclusion, incorporating sprint workouts in your everyday exercise regimen is a great way to train your anaerobic system while burning calories and fat, preserving muscle mass, and building up your endurance.
However, sprint workouts are very demanding so you have to make sure that you don’t overexert yourself. You should only perform sprint workouts for two or three days a week. And, if you feel pain or discomfort, have difficulty breathing, or feel famished, then stop immediately.