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9 Reasons to Include Sprints in Your Workout Program

By Jill Jacobs

Some exercises are good, some are great, and some are superior when it comes to fat loss. Sprints are among my top recommended exercises when it comes to getting a lean physique while also building muscle for a toned look.

“But hold on, Jill! I’m not a professional athlete. How do you expect me to sprint? I’m super slow!”

The good news is that sprint speed is relative! All you have to concentrate on is sprinting for you not setting a world record. 🙂 Sprints are super effective for fat loss, and barring an injury that prevents you from sprinting, anyone can benefit.

From my professional training, research, and personal experience, here are 9 reasons to include sprints in your workout program:

sprints

Pepperdine University in Malibu is probably the most beautiful place to sprint!

  1. Sprints are time-saving. You can fit in a sprint workout in 20 minutes or less! For this reason (among all the rest!), Coach Amanda Tress (my personal coach) uses sprint workouts in her FASTer Way to Fat Loss program! Her clients, including me, are all busy ladies looking for time-efficient workouts!
  2. Sprints are scalable. Like I stated above, all you have to do is a sprint for YOU. You don’t have to go at record speeds; you just have to bring an intensity that challenges you in order to reap the many benefits. You want to get breathless and in need of rest between sprints. The intensity level should also leave your muscles burning and your body sweating.
  3. Sprints can be done anywhere. I’ve sprinted in my front yard, up my stairs, at the beach, on a treadmill, and at the park while my kiddos play. Boom!
  4. Sprints boost your metabolism by producing a huge hormonal response. Not only does your body release testosterone and growth hormone during sprints (great for muscle growth and fat burning), but it increases insulin sensitivity. This is the perfect hormonal cocktail for hours of fat burning activity post workout! Moderate intensity running lacks this hormonal combination. sprints in your workout program
  5. Sprints improve your cardiovascular health. Including sprints in your workout program will strengthen your heart muscle and increase circulation. Additionally, sprints have been shown to lower blood pressure. Your cardiovascular endurance and muscle endurance will increase. If you are a long distance runner, incorporate sprint training 1-2 times per week to increase your overall endurance and speed (see #6).
  6. Sprints build strong muscles! After your first sprint sesh, I guarantee that you’ll feel it ALL over. Your shins, calves, feet, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs, and more will be sore. The explosive nature of sprint training will use muscles from all over the body, utilize your core (read: tighten up your core! Have you ever seen the abs of a sprinter?!), and ultimately increase your speed and endurance in other exercises.
  7. Sprints are fun. 🙂 If you ever get bored with your workout, head to a track to run some sprints. You’ll feel like a rock star when you are done!
  8. Sprints release endorphins. Endorphins help with depression, increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being.
  9. Sprints are versatile. Many forms of exercise can be transformed into sprints. Besides running, you can perform sprint intervals with swimming, biking, pushing sleds, battling ropes, rowing, and even the elliptical.

 

 

As you can see, the benefits of sprints go well beyond body composition. But before I close out, I’d like to leave you with 9 things to consider before you head out for your first sprint session. These suggestions will help you prevent injury.

  1. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to exercise before starting any new program.
  2. Make sure you warm up before your start sprinting. You want to spend a good 5-10 minutes jogging around, skipping, performing walking lunges and lateral lunges, leg kicks, high knees, etc. before beginning your sprint workout.
  3. While your goal may be to eventually do 10-12 sprints in one workout, start with 3-5 sprints. You will be plenty sore, so don’t worry about not getting a good workout. Add 1-2 sprints each sprint workout until you reach 10 or so sprints.
  4. REST in between sprints. So many people will jog between sprints. I suggest you walk back to your starting point. Once your back, stand there until you’re fully ready to sprint again with intensity.
  5. On your first couple of sprints, sprint at about a 60-80% effort. Build up to full intensity throughout the workout.
  6. Don’t sprint over 30-40 yards. Seriously, a sprint coach once gave me this advice. He said that keeping sprints short will prevent injury for those of us who have no reason to be sprinting 400 meters. Unless we are competing, we regular folk need to keep our sprints short and sweet!
  7. Start sprinting uphill. This is actually a tool that helps prevent injury, keeps your stride the correct length, AND teaches (forces) you to sprint on your toes which is proper sprint form.
  8. Softer surfaces (sand, grass, track surface) are better for sprinting. They will be easier on your joints than cement surfaces.
  9. At the end of your sprint, slowly come to a stop. You don’t want your stop to be abrupt. Just cross your “finish line” sprinting, then start your slow down.

To add sprints to your workout program, start with the 9 suggestions above. Make sure you warm up. Start with just a few sprints and work up to more each week. Keep your sprints short. Sprint on your toes. Lastly, be sure to honor this process. Practice sprinting and you’ll watch yourself get better at them and faster!

Need a workout program that incorporates sprints? Check out FASTer Way to Fat Loss coached by Amanda Tress! Get started reaching your goals. 🙂

xo -Jill


FASTer Way to Fat Loss is 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – HIGHLY effective program!


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

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3 replies
  1. Michael Polutta
    Michael Polutta says:

    Every single thing that guy said about “proper sprinting technique” is true for distance running as well. Heel striking is *never* good for you. Zero exceptions. Easy way to prove it – run barefoot.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Sprint 20-40 yards* (On a hill if available) – Here is some more info on sprint training. […]

  2. […] Training: Sprints are often an overlooked exercise, but that’s a mistake! They are known for building muscle, […]

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