For the longest time I have wanted to write a post on sprinting vs. aerobic training and how sprinting is by far the more superior of the two. Sprinting is better for weight loss, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, building muscle mass and metabolic conditioning. The problem is sprinting is hard. Very hard. I believe people either do not want to work that hard or are incapable or unfamiliar with working that hard. Jogging or running is just easy and mindless and so everyone can do it.
Let’s all remember back to when the Olympics were on this summer and remember the track athletes. Now, did you notice a distinct difference in the bodies of the sprinters vs. the long distance runners? I know I certainly did. All of the sprinters (the females included) were just ripped and jacked beyond belief. You could almost see every striation of muscle fiber in their lean and muscular bodies. They all had extremely defined arms, huge legs and butts and a shredded mid section. Interestingly enough, as the distances ran increased, the athletes bodies began to take a different shape. The 800 meter runners were still very fit and muscular, a little leaner and longer, but not quite as ripped as the sprinters. Then, you would see the distance runners. The distance runners to me, all seemed very thin, small, frail and almost sickly looking. Don’t get me wrong and I am not bashing either runner, I am just trying to ask, which body would you rather have? A sprinters body all shredded, strong and powerful or the distance runner who is small and thin? I would choose the sprinter every time.
I am writing this post because I read one similar to it in which I could not agree more with and I would like to share it with you all. It is written by Mr. Martin Rooney from Train Like a Warrior. Click on this: Sprinting Controversy. A great article, very well written and has a lot of great points talked about. Please take the time to read.
Sprinting can be done anywhere, on any surface and for any distance length. I would highly recommend doing sprints outside on sand, grass or dirt like at a track. Sprinting is very hard on the body and you want to use a surface which is a bit more forgiving. Cement is the hardest surface of them all followed by asphalt. I generally like to do my sprints barefoot in the grass at a park.
Now the length you choose to run all depends on how you are feeling and what you want to work on. You can start out doing short 20 to 40 yard sprints if you are new to sprinting and if you really want to work on your initial acceleration. Once you are more comfortable you can start to work your way up to the longer sprints of 80 to 100 yards. Remember, the idea of a sprint is to go all out as hard as possible. You want to activate all of those fast twitch muscle fibers, make your lungs burn and get out of breath. I would highly recommend gradually warming up to sprints.
Your first one should be at about 60% of your maximum speed and then slowly increasing. Make your next one at about 70%, then 80%, then 90 and if you are feeling good, get after it. Only do 5 total 100% all out sprints your first time out. I would sprint and then walk back to your starting spot. You want to give yourself an ample amount of time to rest before starting again. If you sprint for a 100 yards or about 10 seconds then you probably want to rest a minute or two. The shorter the distance the shorter the rest. More is not always better, you may not feel tired but you should shut it down. Sprints have a fantastic after burn effect in which you burn calories all through the next couple of days. I would recommend performing sprints only 1 to 2 times per week. They are definitely something you would not want to do everyday. They are designed to be tough.
Whatever your method of cardiovascular training is, do what makes you happy and you enjoy. However, if you want to gain muscle, burn fat and crank up your metabolism, give sprinting a go. Happy sprinting all.