5 Highly Effective Sprint Workouts
HIIT Sprints. Quite possibly the most underrated, underutilized and under-appreciated training system available to the masses. Here’s why:
- Underrated: Sprints are underrated because of how effective they are given the amount of time you put in. Sprints also have a high GTR. Unfortunately, not a Nissan GTR, rather the Gains to Time Ratio. With sprints you’re going to make great gains with a very small amount of time investment. 15 minutes of quality sprinting can go farther for your physique than 60-90 minutes of aimless metabolic resistance training.
- Underutilized: The way in which you structure your sprint workout can appeal to various people with varying goals. Whether the target is fat loss, muscle gain or increased endurance, a sprint program can be developed to help you in these areas.
- Under-appreciated: Sprints don’t cost you anything except investing in a semi-decent pair of tennis shoes. You don’t need any fancy equipment, sleds or gym passes to get in shape with sprints. All you need is a safe place to run like a road, grassy field or preferably a soft all weather track and you’re off to the races (pun intended).
This blog post will dive right into a few simple yet highly effective sprint workouts based on the following five goals: Fat Loss, Power, Agility, Endurance, & Muscle Gain.
The following list contains condensed versions of personalized HIIT sprint programs, each one labeled by the primary function it’s configured to enhance. Be sure and check out each program to decide which one is best for you. Each program involves doing 2-3 sprint workouts each week with a minimum of one rest day in between sessions:
- Fat Loss: Perform 3-6 sprints of 200 meter length at 90% max intensity. Each sprint should take you between 25-40 seconds to complete, and at a near-optimal intensity level your body will shred through extra body fat. Try taking no less than 3 minutes rest between each sprint. If it’s too easy for you add more sprints or reduce the rest time between sprints.
- Develop Power: Perform 12-15 sprints of 40 meter length at 100% max intensity. This style of training is very similar to football type sprint training. Power will be developed from your body and muscles adapting to controlled, fast bursts of all out sprints. This will also help develop fast twitch muscle fibers faster than any other type of sprint training.
- Increase Endurance: Perform 2-4 sprints of 400 meter length at 80-85% max intensity. These are incredibly challenging if you’re not in any type of endurance shape. Even if you are cardio-conditioned, these will still be very challenging. You should start out very fast and try and run the last half at the 200m pace. You won’t be able to run that fast, but you should be absolutely dead at the 250-300m mark, so the last 100 meters should be you digging deep to finish. 400m sprints are one of the best ways to build up powerful endurance as well as burn body fat. It’s the perfect combination between anaerobic and aerobic conditioning because it involves tapping into both systems to race it properly.
- Muscle Gain: Perform 5-8 sprints of 100 meter length at 95% max intensity. This type of sprinting will stress your muscles for 11-18 seconds (depending on how fast you are) at a very high intensity that will help build new muscle. Expect to make great gains in hamstring, glute and calf size. If you doubt this, take some time to look up pictures of 100m Olympic sprinters. Now look at the Olympic 10k runners. Feel better?
- Build Agility (Well Rounded Athleticism): Perform 4-6 sprints of 40 meter length at 100% max intensity. Then perform 1-3 sprints of 100 meter length at 95% max intensity. Then perform 1-2 sprints of 200 meter length at 90% max intensity. Last, finish with 1 sprint of 400 meter length at 80% max intensity. This type of variety sprint training helps build up overall speed, which will make you more athletic and agile. You’ll notice that you’ll make gains in each of the other categories. You’ll get leaner, more muscular, faster, more powerful and have increased endurance. Now don’t expect to turn into a superhuman warrior or even outperform in any single category, but this is a great training protocol to use if you want a taste of everything.
Supplements to Enhance HIIT Endurance
The following supplements are great additions to any HIIT sprinting program to help you improve anaerobic endurance, power, energy and recovery:
- Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine is the king of all anaerobic-boosting supplements. Creatine helps boost recovery, strength, power, endurance and size. Take 5 grams of creatine before and 5 grams after each sprint workout. You can also take creatine in the morning and again at night during loading phases. If you’re not loading creatine than taking 10 grams peri-workout should be plenty enough to give you the full benefits of creatine monohydrate.
- Beta Alanine: Beta alanine is a powerful new supplement with a ton of great research supporting its effectiveness in athletic performance. Take 1-2 grams of beta alanine before each workout and again after each workout. Beta alanine helps reduce muscular fatigue and improve endurance, which can go a long way in any successful HIIT program.
- Glutamine: Glutamine helps boost recovery and immune system function, both vital elements of a healthy, strong athlete. Take 5 grams of glutamine powder after sprint workouts as well as at night before bed to help with recovery and overall health.
- BCAA Powder: BCAAs can be consumed either before, during or after your sprint sessions to maximize muscular energy and recovery. Branched chain amino acids are key factors in stimulating growth and should be a supplemental staple to all serious athletes.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a safe and effective stimulant that has been shown to increase energy, resistance to fatigue and strength output. Caffeine typically reaches peak activity 60 minutes after ingestion, so it’s recommended to take it at least an hour before you intend to train. 200mg of caffeine should do the trick.
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