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Top Reasons to Add Sprinting Workouts to Your Routine

Top Reasons to Add Sprinting Workouts to Your Routine

Reading Time: 5 minutes 52 seconds


DATE: 2019-08-30

Very few people in the world can be elite sprinters. But anyone can sprint. Running at an all-out pace is relative. For Olympians, it's running 100 meters in less than ten seconds. For a beginner client, it may mean running the same distance in 30 or 40 seconds.

What remains the same regardless of speed is that sprinting has some important health and fitness benefits. Whether your client is a top athlete or somewhere in the middle, a sprint workout can be a great way to:

  • Build cardiovascular fitness

  • Improve power and athletic performance

  • Maintain muscle mass

  • Burn fat

  • Increase endurance

  • And just change things up to make workouts fun again

Take your clients to the track every once in a while, or just use the outdoor area of the gym, to do some challenging sprinting workouts.

Why Do Sprinting Workouts? 5 Big Benefits

Your clients may wonder why you're having them run sprints if they aren't runners. On the other hand, your endurance running clients may prefer to go for a long, slow jog on the treadmill. There are several reasons to add sprints to nearly any client's routine.

1. Sprinting Workouts Burn More Fat

A sprint workout is essentially an interval workout. You'll guide your client through high-intensity, short sprints, followed by recovery, and repeated. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, can be done with nearly any kind of activity, including running, and is a proven fat burner.

One of the earliest studies to investigate the impacts of interval training was published in 1994. (1) The researchers split participants into two groups: one that did several weeks of endurance training and one that did interval training.

They found that, while the endurance trainers burned more calories overall, those going through interval training burned up to nine times more fat. For your clients interested in losing weight and fat, a weekly sprint workout can make a big difference.

Check out these other evidence-backed ways to lose fat.

2. Your Runners Will Build Speed and Endurance

The runners you have on your roster may already be doing sprint workouts on their own. If not, introduce them to this kind of training, which can make them faster and also build their endurance. Sprinting workouts increase the anaerobic threshold, which means runners can run faster for longer. Whether they prefer 5k races or marathons, your runners will benefit from these workouts.

3. Sprinting Helps Maintain Muscle Mass

There are some misconceptions out there that interval work and sprinting will cause loss of muscle mass. This is a myth. Sprinting is powerfully active and requires the use of muscles in the legs, glutes, core, and even upper body and arms.

Specifically, this high-intensity kind of running recruits type II muscle fibers. These are the types of muscle fibers that contribute to muscle definition. They are also the fibers that decline most quickly with age. All of your clients can benefit from sprinting workouts for muscle definition and maintenance.

4. Sprinting is Good for Your Heart

All exercise is good for cardiovascular health, but there is evidence that HIIT is especially beneficial to heart health. For instance, studies have shown that eight weeks of regular HIIT workouts can reduce blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure and do it in less time than typical endurance workouts. (2)

Patients with high blood pressure and who are overweight benefit significantly from interval training sessions, including sprinting. This kind of workout lowers blood pressure and also reduces resting heart rate, an overall indicator of cardiovascular health.

5. A Sprint Workout is a Shorter Workout

For those clients who are resistant, point out this little fact: Interval training, including sprinting workouts, are more efficient than other workouts. This means they can get out of the gym or off the track sooner.

Use a sprint training session as a short day for your clients. If they have less time to spend with you on a particular day, a sprinting workout is great for getting in as many benefits, if not more, than a slower, longer session in the gym.

Learn more about the importance of adding higher intensity workouts to your routine by reading this ISSA blog post.

Sample Sprinting Workouts - From Beginner to Advanced

As long as your clients can safely run at any pace, they can do a sprinting workout. A sprint is highly individualized. If your client is running all out with heart rate up, they're sprinting.

Of course, the workout you give your seasoned runner will be different from the one you provide for your beginner clients and those that have never even jogged. But there is a sprinting workout for everyone, and room for progression.

Beginner Sprinting Workout

Warm-up your client first with five to ten minutes of very easy jogging or speed walking and some dynamic stretches, like leg swings to fire up the muscles and open the hips. Then try one of these sprint workouts for about 20 minutes:

Beginner Workout #1

  • Run at about 50 percent of sprint pace for 30 seconds.

  • Recover by walking for two minutes.

  • Sprint at 70 percent for 30 seconds.

  • Recover by walking for two minutes.

  • Sprint at 80 to 90 percent for 30 seconds.

  • Recover by walking for two minutes.

Beginner Workout #2

  • Sprint all out for 45 seconds.

  • Recover with walking for two to three minutes.

Beginner Workout #3

  • Run 50 meters at 50 percent sprint pace. Walk back to the start.

  • Run 50 meters at 75 percent pace. Walk back.

  • Run 50 meters all out. Walk back.

  • Run 50 meters at 75 percent pace. Walk back.

  • Run 50 meters at 50 percent pace. Walk back.

Have your client cool down with a walk for at least five minutes after each of these workouts.

For Fit Clients New to Running or Intermediate Runners

Start with a ten minute jogging warm-up and dynamic stretches. Cool down with a jog and static stretches.

Intermediate Workout #1

  • Run for 60 seconds at 50 percent sprint pace.

  • Recover with a two-minute walk.

  • Run for 60 seconds at 75 percent sprint pace.

  • Recover with a two-minute walk.

  • Run for 60 seconds at 80 to 90 percent sprint pace.

  • Recover with a two-minute walk.

  • Run for 60 seconds at 100 percent sprint pace.

  • Recover with a two-minute walk.

Intermediate Workout #2

  • Run 200 meters at a full out sprint.

  • Recover with a 100-meter jog.

  • Run 400 meters at 5k pace.

  • Recover with a 200-meter jog.

  • Run 600 meters at 5k pace.

  • Recover with a 200-meter jog.

  • Run 800 meters at 10k pace.

  • Recover with a 400-meter jog.

Sprinting Like a Pro

Warm-up with a one- to two-mile easy pace run. Then do some dynamic stretching. Cool down with one or two miles.

Advanced Workout #1

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 30 meters, jog 70 meters.

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 40 meters, jog 60 meters.

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 50 meters, jog 50 meters.

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 60 meters, jog 40 meters.

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 70 meters, jog 30 meters.

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 80 meters, jog 20 meters.

  • Sprint at 100 percent pace for 90 meters, jog 10 meters.

  • Work your way back down the ladder.

Advanced Workout #2

Take your advanced clients to the hills for a really tough workout. Have them sprint up a hill for at least 20 meters, jog back down, and repeat. Progress each week by increasing the number of hill sprints and decreasing rest time.

Most of your clients can have fun with and benefit from sprinting workouts. Start easy with those new to running and new to working out at all. It's not worth getting injured. But with the right build-up, a sprint workout can be a powerful new addition to a regular exercise routine.

Exercise can be therapy too. Check out the ISSA's course in Exercise Therapy Certification to offer your clients a way to heal after injuries.

  1. Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J.A., and Bouchard C. (1994). Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism. Metabolism. 43(7), 814-818. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8028502

  2. Skutnik, B.C., Smith, J.R., Johnson, A.M., Kurti, S.P., and Harms, C.A. (2016). The Effect of Low Volume Interval Training on Resting Blood Pressure in Pre-hypertensive Subjects: A Preliminary Study. Phys. Sportsmed.44(2), 177-83. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26918846

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