After watching Usain Bolt in action at the Olympics I was inspired to write a post on sprinting, Its weird how such a simple event can generate so much interest from the public along with Phelps “the Bolt” has been the most talked about athlete in this years olympics. Maybe this is because we are made to run really fast and enjoy watching the best of the best, whatever the reason is Sprinting holds some great benefits!
Its Free and Fun
Well its as free as we can get for an activity. All you need is a basic pair of shoes and a good stretch of land to run on. Its also something we all know how to do so no teaching is required, just get up and run as fast as you can until your legs lose their bounce, stop, rest and repeat.
You will find that once you start sprinting it will remind you of your childhood when you used to play things like tag which involved short intermittent bursts of running coupled with rest, this is a great feeling and possibly why I enjoy a good sprint workout every at least once a week. Let’s put it this was it just feels good to run really fast once in a while.
It gets you Interval training
When doing Interval training from Sprints of running/cycling your calorie won’t be as great in the actual session as say a long slow jog, but throughout the course of the day your calorie expenditure will be greatly increased as you will be using an Anaerobic process to produce energy (the same process as weight training) this means your muscles uptake of oxygen increases allowing your body to burn fat all day long, while rebuilding the muscle.
To keep sprint training most effective try to keep your sprints to about 10-12 seconds running as fast as you can, anymore than this makes the activity too aerobic and while still good will not benefit as much.
Matt Metzgar did a great little feature on why Interval’s are key
Great for your Hormones
Sprinting has been proven to improve our hormone profiles, it can increase our release of HGH which
-Our bodies natural fat burning and muscle building hormone
-helps our immune system recover
-The most powerful ant-aging substance known to man.
-It Improves our sleep allowing deeper REM periods
-Your energy and general well-being will increase
Sprinting will also keep you from draining yourself like a long run does. A few 100m sprints along with some stretching will leave you feeling refreshed you will have plenty of energy to get on with your day. Plus have a look at sprinters physiques they all look strong powerful and healthy.
Build Strong Legs and Abs
Sprinting will get you strong and powerful legs, Don’t be scared of getting bulky legs through sprinting this will not happen. Your Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings and calves will all tone up and look great in no time once you introduce sprinting. Say goodbye to those chicken legs and if your an experienced weight lifter get ready for a new level of leg definition and performance. Sprinting is also excellent at activating your core as it is contracted to stabilize your body throughout the sprint.
Upon starting sprinting I noticed huge differences in my arms, and shoulders as well as this my obliques started protruding more. This was from 1-2 hard and intense 15 minute sprint sessions a week.
Well start by watching Mark Sisson’s great video on sprinting……….. Luckily sprinting is something we all have in us so no real teaching is required unless you want to become a professional. I actually started sprinting at a hill near my house, and remember after my first session of 10-15 second sprints left my body with a great feeling of soreness the following morning in my abs, arms and all over my legs.
-Start by stretching out and limbering up your ankles and arms and legs.
-Find a nice stretch of grass or sand
-Run as fast as you can, try to emphasize pumping your arms and powering through with your legs
-When you start to slow down its time to stop
-Take a rest and repeat, depending on your fitness you should be able to do 5-10 intervals
Finish this off with some stretching and some body weight exercises and you will have had yourself a great enjoyable workout, that got you outdoors and didn’t cost anything. Sprinting will get you a lean, muscular and efficient body!