Sprinting workouts are the way to go for increased speed, power and fat burn. Some experts even tout sprinting workouts as a way to burn fat around 9 times faster than regular cardio workouts. Add them gradually to your workouts for intensity and health benefits, and avoid injury from increased work on your joints and muscles.
What Is a Sprint?
Many exercisers complete “sprint” workouts by running faster for 1 minute, then slowing down for some active rest (or walking in between). While the active rest is a great idea, the intensity is probably not there. A sprint should be a run so fast that you can only maintain it for a short while, around 45 seconds to 1 minute. Your first sprint (pushing off your toes, bringing knees up, kicking feet back to your butt, and really moving your arms) may be longer than even 1 minute, but they will get shorter after that. And that’s okay; you’re still getting deep into the muscles.
Sprint workouts should be really tough, so start small. Increase your speed to a full out run until you feel your thighs burn and are struggling to finish. Walk slow for double your run time. So, if you sprint for 45 seconds, walk slow for 90 seconds. Your sprint should be as fast as you can go, so you’ll probably find that you can’t complete more than 5 sprint-and-rest intervals for the first few weeks. That is to be expected. In fact, if you can do more than 5, you are likely not working hard enough. Before you add more sprints, master those 5 at the fastest pace that you can. Then, gradually increase the number of sprints that you complete by adding a maximum of one sprint every week. You may need a few sessions to build your endurance enough to complete that additional sprint. As you build your enduance, reduce your rest time by 5 seconds per week as well.
Speed It Up
Continue changing your time allotment as described above, but instead of increasing or decreasing your sprint to rest time ratio, increase your speed or incline as you sprint. This will beef up the intensity, increasing your power, speed and fat burn.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Every workout should include a warm up and cool down, but it’s extra crucial with a butt busting workout like what you’ll get with sprinting. Start your warm up with a brisk walk to get your muscles warm for at least 3 minutes. Crank it up for another 2 minutes to a slow jog. After completing your workout, cool down completely, bringing your heart rate down by walking for at least 5 minutes, following that with 5 to 10 minutes of stretches. Concentrate on stretching through the front and back of the thighs, but especially the outside of the thigh. Sit on the floor and cross the outside of your right ankle onto your left knee. Place your hands on the floor, and bend your left knee, bringing the right leg closer to your chest. Hold that position and feel the stretch through your outer thigh and glute (butt). Slowly release the legs and switch sides.