If you were to take a look at the training templates I create for all of my clients, you'll see that 99.999999% of them include some sort of sprinting. The only time you won't see it is when that person physically cannot sprint/run/jump. In the most basic of terms, sprinting is speed. Or velocity. Or being fast as fuck.
But, and this is why most people discount sprinting, you don't have to compare how fast you are to the fastest people in the world. By doing so you will ALWAYS be slow...in comparison.
With Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, and plenty others running 100m in less than 10 seconds, and 200m in less than 20 seconds...it doesn't matter what you do, you will always be slow when compared to them.
So step #1 is stop doing that. This method goes fantastically with the usual benchmarks of everyone who workouts too. A 315 pound bench press is pretty damn good, until you realize that it's only 30% of the current world record (1075 pounds). Ditto with a 400 pound squat and 500 pound deadlift (40% and 50% respectively).
Take the most generous of those percentages (50%) and apply them to the 100m and 200m world records and you'll get 14.37s for the 100m, and 28.78 for the 200m. Both times easily run by kids in Junior High on a daily basis.
Again, stop comparing yourself to the best of the best. You're energy is better spent on making YOU better than YOU currently are.
Ok...on to the awesomeness....
Why Sprinting is Awesome...
Sprinting = More Calories Burned
EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. All the rage surrounding HIIT and Crossfit is based on of this concept. If you've been int he fitness game for awhile you know this already.
If you haven't, the story goes like this...
When you compare the amount of calories that are burned during the duration of a 1-hour jog at a slow pace to the calories burned during the less than 5 minutes of real work done during the typical sprint session the 1-hour jog far out does the sprint.
BUT...when you compare the calories burned after the same two workouts over the next 48-72 hours, the long/slow jog doesn't even come close to the sprint. This is EPOC.
The amount of stress that sprinting puts on your body, and the amount of muscle/cell/tendon/ligament/bone rebuilding that it does causes a spike in energy consumption thus raising the rate of calories burned.
So it's run for an hour and only raise energy consumption during that hour, or sprint your ass off for ~5 minutes of total work and reap the benefits for up to three days later. Hmm...hard choice...
Sprinting = Strong/Powerful/Explosive
I don't know about you, but when I think of the prototypical Alpha Male, I think strong, powerful, and explosive.
Guess one way (besides heavy weight training) that will make you strong, powerful, and explosive?
You really don't need me to tell you it's sprinting right? I mean...the whole article is about sprinting...it just makes sense...
Anyway, your body has three main energy systems...the ATP-Creatine Phosphate System (ATP-CP), the Anaerobic System (aka Lactic Acid System) and the Aerobic system (aka the Oxidative System).
The ATP-CP system is used when you need a quick, explosive burst of energy. This system can only sustain activity for up to 10s, so by the time you reach top speed you're already about to lose it.
Next is the Lactic Acid system. This one still allows you to move quick and explosively, just not to the same degree as the ATP-CP system. But, this system can sustain quick movement for up to three minutes depending on the person and just how quick the movement is.
When you train for sprinting (short, intense bursts of running with full rest in between) you are able to manipulate these energy systems in two ways...
- You create are more efficient neural pathway from the brain to the muscle, allowing you to put more energy into explosively pushing off the ground. In any event that lasts less than 30s (hell...I'd even argue up to 60s) any wasted movement or inefficient movement can mean the difference between crossing the line first or crossing it sixth.
- By taxing these energy systems, and this is the important part, then giving them the time the need to full replenish, you can extend the amount of time they give energy to the muscles.
The ability to reach top speed as fast as possible and then the strength to support that speed for as long as possible is what competitive sprinting boils down to.
Sprinting = Increased Aerobic Capacity (huh???)
The third energy system, the Aerobic or Oxidative System isn't directly involved with sprinting. Essentially by definition, a sprint is over well before the Oxidative System has time to kick into full gear.
It plays more of a role in the longer sprints (400m/800m/1600m) than in the shorter sprints. The area where it has the biggest impact on sprinting is the rest period between sprints.
Unless you're person who enjoys running long distances (aka - a crazy person), the times when you're Oxidative System gets the most work is when you are resting between sets and recovering from a workout. Remember EPOC? That entire process is mostly run by the Oxidative System.
I'll be honest, I didn't believe it would be possible to improve my aerobic capacity without doing long distances either. But, the time between my last two Army PT tests I did nothing but sprints under 300m. In the last test I was able to run the 2-mile part in under 13:20. The time before that I was at 14:20. It works...trust me.
Sprinting = Breathtaking Hineys
It builds a great booty. Don't believe me? Go google Allyson Felix, Lolo Jones, Sanya Richards-Ross, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, or Usafa Powell. I'll wait...
See? Not only do these athletes have a hiney that is absolutely breathtaking, but they are in fantastic shape in general.
Yes, these are world-class athletes and yes, some of it is genetic. But, you can go to any high school or college track meet and look at the people who come in at the back of the pack and you will STILL see impressive physiques.
These athletes are the ones who show you that it's not all genetics and that training can get you there. One of the other blogs I read even dedicated a whole post to sprinters booty's. Check it out, if for nothing else "butt" the picture...