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Is Sprinting the Ultimate Fat-loss Exercise?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023


a girl lined up on the track getting ready to sprint off the starting blocks

While when most of us think of sprinting we picture 20 something athletes competing for gold.


However, sprinting is something that almost everyone would benefit from. In this article we will explore the remarkable benefits of this modality.



Think of all the sports and individuals in them that require many fast bursts of sprints. What do 95% of the athletes have in common? They are flippin shredded! From NFL running backs to women 100m runners, they have incredibly low bodyfat and a great muscle base. Beyond its competitive nature though, sprinting offers a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond the playing field.


 

Benefits


Sprinting offers a multitude of benefits due to its high-intensity nature. What makes it even more appealing is its accessibility and affordability. Unlike many other fitness activities, sprinting doesn't cost a dime. And if you know me you know I embrace free.


Key benefits are..


1. Improved cardiovascular health: Sprinting provides excellent cardiovascular adaptations that engages your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.


2. Burns a TON of calories Sprinting is a highly efficient way to burn calories and lose that excess fat. It elevates your heart rate and engages multiple muscle groups. One study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences in 2014 examined the energy expenditure of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which often includes sprinting as a component. The study found that HIIT workouts can result in a higher calorie burn per unit of time compared to continuous moderate-intensity exercise.


3. Improved anaerobic fitness: Sprinting primarily utilizes the anaerobic energy system, which is responsible for short bursts of intense activity. Other activities that utilize the anaerobic system are heavy resistance training, H.I.I.T, and plyometrics. Regular sprint training can improve your anaerobic fitness, enabling you to perform high-intensity activities with less fatigue. Sports that rely heavily on the anaerobic system are football, boxing, track etc.



man in workout clothes running up a steep hill



What this means for fat-loss?


Other than the implications sprinting has on overall caloric expenditure, sprinting's reliance on the anaerobic energy system makes it highly beneficial for muscle development. With muscle being a very energy demanding tissue, The more lean body mass we possess the higher our daily calorie output.


"Sprinting teaches you the art of controlled chaos, where you harness the explosive energy within and unleash it with precision and purpose" – Unknown

Precautions


Keep in mind sprinting is extremely physically demanding. So If you have not sprinted in a long time or are newer to exercise, It might be wise to work your way up to the activity. A couple ways we could do this are


1. Hill runs - Running up a steep hill can provide great stimulus without the huge stride length of sprinting on a flat surface. Reducing your risk of straining your hamstring.


2. Throttle down initially - When partaking in your first sprinting session, Start up to 80-90 percent top speed to get a feel for that higher intensity.




Sample workouts


Like any type of high intensity training, the warmup is critical to avoiding injury.


Light Jogging: Begin with a few minutes of light jogging to gradually elevate your heart rate and warm up your muscles. Try not to cover too much distance jogging as you don't want to exhaust yourself too early.


Dynamic Stretching: Perform dynamic stretching exercises that target the major muscle groups involved in sprinting. Include movements such as leg swings, walking lunges, high knees, butt kicks, and arm circles. These exercises promote flexibility and mobility while activating the muscles you'll be using during sprinting.


Strides: Incorporate a few strides or build-up runs to gradually increase your speed and stride length. Start with a slow jog and gradually accelerate to near-sprint speed over a short distance (about 50-100 meters).



The best method to train sprinting is to complete it in an interval style fashion. Undulating rhythms of all out exertion followed with complete rest or a lower intensity exercise such as a walk or light jog.


Workout A - Beginner


Warmup


Sprint -10 seconds

Rest - 2 minutes


Repeat 5 times

 

Workout B - Intermediate


Warmup


Sprint -20 seconds

Walk - 1 minute


Repeat 6-8 times


 

Workout C - Advanced


Warmup


Sprint -30 seconds

light jog - 1 minute


Repeat 8-10 times




Don’t Sleep on Sprinting


Sprinting is a dynamic and powerful form of exercise that transcends traditional cardio routines. From leveling up cardiovascular fitness and creating conditions for fat loss to building lean muscle, the benefits of sprinting are vast.


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