While sprinting isn’t primarily known for promoting muscle growth, it is one of the purest physique building exercises out there. Even though it may seem that a sprinter is propelling just his or her legs, there are many other muscles at work there to help make the body as lean as possible.
Sprints are basically a type of anaerobic exercise, which means that sprinting increases the size of fast-twitching fibers. According to Swedish scientists from the Karolinska Institute, sprinting can boost protein synthesis up to 230%, and with the right nutrition and recovery time, this can lead to muscle building.
The Benefits of Sprinting
Your body is remarkably adaptable; even if years of neglect have taken their toll, you can get rid of all of that fat at a much faster rate than you brought it on board. That being said, sprint training is one of the most efficient exercises that can cause a significant fat loss. Compared to aerobic training like jogging, sprinting enables you to lose fat mass, whereas in athletic training, you are more likely to lose water weight.
A study published in the Nutrition Journal showed that fat-burning rate peak during running at intensities between 47% and 64%. Furthermore, according to Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, high intensity interval training greatly improves your skeletal muscle oxidative capacity.
The Planning Phase
You have to start everything with a “speed prep phase”, which is designed do improve your flexibility, mobility and coordination. It will also help you with the initial muscle strain that regularly occurs when a person integrates sprinting into his or her training program without preparing for it.
The Sprinting Workout
Now, before you start sprinting, you need to jog a couple of laps around the track to get your body warmed up. Afterwards, you have to stretch your quads and hamstrings before you start sprinting. If you fail to stretch those areas, you can definitely injure yourself, due to the high impact of your training. After 10 or so minutes, you should be all warmed up and ready for your workout.
For starters, you should start sprinting at 50% of speed until you feel comfortable enough to increase your speed after every sprint. Your typical workout should consist of 5-10, 100-meter dashes, with each dash done at any speed. In addition, after each dash you should slowly walk back to your starting line, and if you are still feeling fatigued when you come to the line, take a break for a minute or two.
After the Workout
Once you are finished, your abs will feel worked and your legs will naturally be pumped, it will feel like you just finished doing a serious leg press workout. It is also important to properly warm down once you are done with your workout, because it will break up the lactic acid in your leg muscles and prevent any possible cramps.
Wearing the Right Gear
Most athletes are always on the lookout for those extra 1% or 2% improvement in their training, and lately, running circles have been enamored by compression gear. However, regardless of their current popularity, does compression gear actually work? Compression gear keeps your muscles warm and improves your performance by reducing muscle fatigue.
According to research from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, compression clothes significantly lower the body’s lactate levels because they stimulate blood flow that clears the substance from your body. Just keep in mind that compression gear applies pressure to your muscles, and it is very important to find correctly fitted fitness clothing, in order to receive the full benefits of compression.
You could expand your workout after a month, but if you are only looking to get bigger and stronger, there is no need to sprint at a greater distance. Of course, if you want to speed the process and build up muscles more quickly, you could start sprinting uphill instead on flat ground or even start sprinting while pulling a load.