Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just increase your running speed, adding sprints to your workout can help you accomplish a variety of health goals. A study by the University of New South Wales in Australia found that bursts of sprinting in a 20-minute workout helps shed body fat more quickly than jogging. Sprinting requires blasts of speed at the fastest pace you can maintain for 50 to 100 meters.
Sprinting is a high-impact exercise that can blast away unwanted body fat, but it also offers other benefits. These include increasing endurance by improving the body’s ability to store oxygen in the muscle’s cells, which makes exercising for a longer period of time easier. After time dedicated to sprint training, going for a jog or doing other mild exercise will feel easier. Sprinting can also lower blood pressure and increase bone density, according to the website FitDay.
Length and Frequency
For beginners, incorporate sprints into your workouts two days a week, with at least one day in between for recovery. Your muscles need time to grow and heal. Find a 400-meter track so you can easily measure your sprints, and begin with 50- to 100-meter sprints, which equals one-eighth to one-quarter of a full lap around the track. The goal is to do 10 sprints of 50 to 100 meters per session, but beginners should start with just five and work up to 10.
For the best results and to avoid injury, focus on proper form while sprinting. Practice swinging your arms loosely with your elbows bent 90 degrees. When running, stay on the balls of your feet rather than running on your toes, which don’t offer the same power and stability to push off from the ground. Don’t overstride in an attempt to run faster – a foot strike in front of your body rather than underneath your center of gravity. However, understriding can cause a problem, too, as it lessens the amount of ground you can cover. Quality sprint speed, according to Shapefit.com, is the right combination of your stride length and frequency.
Increasing Your Speed
To consistently progress during sprint training, focus on increasing your speed with good technique. Push off explosively with both legs, and as your front leg extends to come in contact with the ground, it should form a straight line with the trunk of your body so your foot strike is directly under your center of gravity. As you accelerate, slowly decrease the amount of forward lean in your body until you’re at a normal sprinting position with just a slight amount of forward lean.
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.