Sprinting and its Benefits
For transforming your physique, strength training coupled with healthy eating, and high intensity energy system training, assists tremendously. You can achieve better results in less time if you perform (HIIT) high intensity interval training; better results not at the expense of losing muscle. Performing adequate amount of interval training results in muscle gain and fat loss. However, aerobics training is not the preferred method for a positive outcome, as it results in muscle loss. For the same reason, at Iron cult we perform HIIT twice a week. Typically, we execute HIIT, indoor drills, on Wednesday and do sprint intervals, outdoor, on Fridays. The benefits you derive from sprinting are:
Sprinting demands utmost coordination to perform, as it is the one of the best movement patterns. It requires muscular strength, muscular endurance, balance, accuracy, agility, speed, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance to the highest. All the above stated factors should act shoulder to shoulder to effectively execute this vigorous movement. Don’t you believe me? Come join us on a Friday, you will be answered appropriately.
Become a fat burning machine
Sprint training has the effect on the body by enhancing the activity of certain metabolic pathways where your body acts as a fat burning machine. Several studies have explained that the more you tap into the anaerobic pathways, the more you are going to increase the EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC is often called the after-burn–the increase in fat oxidation (fat burning) that lasts for a few hours after you stop performing physical exercise. Performing HIIT=more EPOC=increased fat burning.
Bigger faster and stronger legs
Sprints are known to recruit, preferentially, the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers have the most potential for hypertrophy and strength. Moreover, sprints make the body produce more growth hormone, in gym parlance, hormone that stimulates muscular growth, and promote a better advantageous testosterone (male hormone, which has anabolic, muscle growing, properties) to cortisol (stress hormone) ratio. And you are on the fast track for stronger and bigger gluts, quads, hamstrings and calves, which are more functional. More functional because you teach your body to execute one of the primitive and well-known vigorous physical movements ever known to us.
Increased work capacity
Work capacity is one of the most important factor in physical training. Work capacity is, essentially, the total amount of physical work you can perform, recover from, and adapt positively to.
Repeated bouts of all out sprints with sub-optimal recovery periods is one of the best way to increase the density of the mitochondria (power house of the cell). It can also promote growth of new capillaries (minuscule blood vessels) that provide more blood flow to bring oxygen and nutrients. They help removing waste products and metabolite (a substance produced by metabolism). It causes an increase in muscle buffering effect. Muscle buffering effect is the reason to delay the lactic acid effect on muscle performance. Sprints can increase this by up to 50%. All the above mentioned physiological changes result in increased work capacity.
Take home message
Sprinting is one of the activity which I would love to perform, for I believe it is one of the most primordial movements known to mankind. Imagine that you dwell in a forest land, which possess man-eating predators. How will you escape from such a predator that’s lurching behind you? Sprinting of course! So, you see sprinting is instinctive to us. Why not adopt it.
I rarely miss the Friday outdoor drills, because we typically include sprint intervals on that day. Oh yes, you feel so alive after you sprint. You coordinate your body to be a running machine, which makes you feel more confident and connected. Alas! Most of the routines we perform daily are disconnected, and we thus feel so dissociated with our own bodies.