A few weeks ago Rob and I took to the lovely green grass of Burghley Park in Stamford for a workout. Said workout ended up with Rob showing me some sprint training techniques he learned when he trained with the London Wasps Rugby team for the day… so much for the casual Sunday workout I was expecting.
I’ve been incorporating sprints (flat & up-hill) into my workout for a while now, but on this particular day the sprinting got serious. It might be best for you watch the video (link below) to understand how it works, but I’ll try to explain. Rob laid out three posts for us and made me start laying flat on my tummy,then I had to jump up straight into a sprint, run backwards, get on the floor, sprint again, jog back, sprint to the third post, and again and again etc… like I said, definitely worth watching the video!
Oh and when I was talking to Rob about it the other day he said we didn’t even REALLY do it properly, nowhere near enough reps. Whaaaattttt?! Check out the video of him doing it for FHM here.
Here are the reasons that sprinting is so good for you:
1. Lose Fat
Research shows that repeated sprint training is the only form of conditioning to produce significant fat loss, and it does so in an amazingly small amount of training time. Scientists say that compared to steady-state aerobic training (e.g. 45 mins on a cross trainer), which produces disappointing fat loss, sprints are much more effective for fat loss in a shorter time. Depending on the individual sprint training can decrease body fat by 10 to 20 percent over a typical 12-week program.
2. Build Muscle & Target Fast-Twitch Fibres
Sprint training will help you build muscle and it increases the size and strength of the powerful, fast-twitch fibres. With the right nutrition and recovery, sprinting will lead to muscle building, allowing you to look leaner and run faster. When sprint training, women will experience an increase in the growth hormone, which is burning fat and building muscle for a strong, lean outcome.
3. Improve Heart Health
Studies have shown that between interval and endurance training, interval gets the better results. Other cardiovascular benefits include a significant decrease in blood pressure.
4. Improve Conditioning, Circulation & Lung Function
Sprint training is better for improving pulmonary lung function than aerobic exercise. It will give you better conditioning so you can run up the stairs or chase after your kids without getting winded. For example a study showed that a 23-minute sprint workout including five 1-minute intervals with 3 minutes rest significantly improved lung capacity. Sprint participants also lowered cholesterol and improved circulation.
5. Improve Cognition, Brain Volume & Prevent Depression
It’s no surprise that sprint training makes your brain work better and can make you happier since just about every form of exercise has been shown to reap some mental benefits. Sprint training leads the pack: It decreases inflammation in the brain, improves hormone balance, leads to better mobility, and makes you feel energized and capable after you blast through a series of repetitions that test your abilities.
6. Save Time, While Building Mental Toughness
Sprint training can and needs to be done in a short amount of total training time. You can’t keep up the intensity level necessary for your intervals to be called sprints for much longer than 20 minutes. And you’ll get the best fat loss, muscle building and health results from keeping it short, simple and intense. You don’t need crazy volume here, you just have to train hard and with intention.
Thanks to Poliquin for some of the ‘sciencey’ points!
Here’s my attempt… in slow motion. Apologies for the bad quality video!
Sprints are blimmin’ hard. They hurt. There will be moments of doubt when you are in the middle of a sprint workout. The pain and uncertainty in your ability to finish your workout is all in your head. Don’t give in – you’ll feel incredible by the end of the workout!
By pushing through the physical discomfort and pain, you’ll build confidence in your physical and emotional ability. You’ll accomplish something not many other people can do.
In summary: Get a lean, muscular body, and improve your health!
What I wore to workout in:
Sports Bra – Nike Favourites
Shorts – Adidas Originals
Trainers – Nike Free 5.0
Let me know how you get on with the sprints! x