Does Sprinting Actually Tone Your Butt?

Sprinting tones your lower body and improves your cardiovascular system.
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Perhaps the promise of a fuller backside seems unrealistic as your personal trainer shouts for you to pick up the sprinting pace. Your gym shoes have already burned rubber on the track, up the steps and down the basketball court. Your hamstrings ache and your thighs burn. Naturally, you wonder if all this intensive, exhausting sprinting will actually tone your butt -- until you're slipping on your favorite skinny jeans, and your glutes look superb.

How Sprinting Helps

    You may remember sprinting as that grueling gym exercise. You would run your sprint and then collapse on the sidelines next to your friends as you gasped for air. As burdensome as they feel, bursts of high-speed, anaerobic movements go a long way toward building muscle. Anaerobic exercises -- those that use no oxygen -- briefly work the muscles. These short bursts of running power make this a go-to exercise for the buns, according to fitness writer Cheryl Fenton. Fenton, the author of "Shortcuts to Sexy Legs & Butt: 337 Ways to Trim, Tone, Camouflage and Beautify," notes that the sprints tone the calves and hamstrings as well as the butt.

Challenge Yourself

    There's no need to be flat in your workout, and that includes sprinting. If you’re already inclining your treadmill to boost gluteal power, add an incline to your outdoor sprint. According to world championship runner and coach Brad Hudson, taking your sprint to a local hill or incline will increase how your muscles work. Hudson, in "Weight Loss: Everything You Need to Know," by the editors of "Runner's World," says that adding the extra challenge of the incline is equal to weight training the same lower-body areas. And he agrees with Fenton that sprinting is ideal for working the butt, calves, thighs and hamstrings -- especially when going uphill.

Glute-building Nutrition

    To build healthy muscle, you must feed your body healthy food. If you want to build a firm, round backside, focus on protein. According to personal trainer Nick Nilsson, you should eat a balanced diet rich in lean protein and simple carbs. Nilsson suggests that your meals contain one protein -- chicken or eggplant -- and two carbs -- whole-grain bran and a banana -- portioned out using the palm of your hand as a guide. Add healthy fats sparingly, such as olive oil, he notes. And veggies are like water -- eat till your heart's content. To seal the deal, munch on a protein-rich snack before and after your sprinting workout to give your gluteal region the nutrition it needs.

Safety First

    Always check with your physician before trying a new sport or exercise. Sprinting is an intense activity. Even if you're sprinting to get a round backside, you can be injured in its pursuit. Gerald A. Carr, author of "Fundamentals of Track and Field-2nd," advises looking into warming up with sprinting drills. These can help you with your form as well as reduce injury. If you're using proper form, your muscles will be fired up and ready to go. Carr suggests high-knee marches, high-knee skipping with lower-leg extensions, seat kicks and high-knee running with lower-leg extensions.

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