Sprint your way to building muscle and burning fat

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Workouts
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If you ask a lot of guys what their ideal physique would be,  I’m pretty sure a lot of them would choose the physique of a sprinter. Sprinters that run the 100 and 200 meters and to some extent the 400m generally have very muscular, powerful and lean physiques. This has been achieved through years of training using a combination of weights, sprinting and diet. Now, just because you may not have aspirations of being the next Usain Bolt, it doesn’t mean you can’t  incorporate sprint workouts into your fitness regime to help boost muscle gains, fat burning and help improve your overall conditioning.


Sprint to build muscle and burn fat

By sprinting I mean running as fast as you can for a period of 10 – 30 seconds, having a rest and repeating again. That’s it; it really is as simple as that. Why should you sprint? Well, sprinting is one of the most functional exercises you could possibly do. When you sprint, not only are you using your legs but also the majority of your upper body muscles including your arms, back, shoulders, abs and even chest.  As well as this, sprinting allows you to work your muscles in way that isn’t possible by just lifting weights. You may find that hard to believe, but trust me, after a sprint session you will really feel it in your whole body.  

Sprinting will also help you become leaner. If you don’t think this is true then just take a look at the examples of 100 meter sprinters physique compared to that of a long distance runner. Not only do sprinters generally have more lean muscle but also tend to have lower body fat too.

Sprint anywhere

The great thing about sprinting is that you can do it anywhere. If you’re lucky enough to have a local track nearby that’s great but any open space such as a field or even a hill would do. Actually hill sprints are great too for some added resistance if you feel up to it.

Sample Sprint routine

Try incorporating the following routine into your workout regime once or twice a week. If you don’t have the time to sprint on separate days then you could do it immediately after your weight training. I’d try to avoid sprinting the day before you train your legs though as that wouldn’t allow for enough recovery time. Also, if you’ve never sprinted before you could reduce the distances or amount of sets you do and slowly build up. Remember the routine below is just a sample to give you an idea. Feel free to experiment with the distances, rest periods and number of sets. Also note that for simplicity I’ve used a conventional 400 meter running track in the sample. If you don’t have access to a track just do the same thing on a field.

Warm up:  1 – 3 laps of gentle jogging to get warm and loose. It’s really important to get warm and loose before going into the sprints to help avoid getting injured

Warm up: Perform some dynamic warm up exercises such as jogging on the spot and really focusing on lifting your knees high and pumping your

Warm up: Perform some light stretching of your hamstrings and quads

Warm up: Run 30 meters at 50% pace and just concentrate on pumping your arms and getting high knee lift. Perform this 2 – 3 times.

One you are warmed up it’s time to get into the sprinting.

Sprint:  100 meters x 5 –  Sprint 100 meters as fast as you can, then walk back to the starting point and repeat again 4 more times. Feel free to take a longer rest in between sets if you need to.  Once your fitness levels improve you can increase the number of sets to 10 or you can try sprinting for 200 meters and then jogging for 200 meters for 5 sets.

Warm down: After your sprint sets have finished, warm down by doing a couple of fast paced walking laps of the track to help alleviate some of the tightness that may have resulted from the sprints

Static Stretches: Finally, spend some time stretching at the end of the workout to once again, help to avoid tightness and also aid recovery.

That’s it really, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t take long at all. Just be sure to warm up properly before you sprint. So, try to fit in some sprints as part of your workout and start to build muscle and burn fat!

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