Summer is fast approaching and you may be looking in the mirror, wondering where your abs went. If you’re looking to sculpt your body and are a fan of running, skip the long-distance running and opt for sprinting.
Sprinting requires power and engaging your bigger fast-twitch muscles. This will result in helping your legs to build muscle and burn fat which will help your body appear more sculpted. If you don’t believe me, watch videos of Olympic sprinters and compare their physiques to those of long-distance runners. Sprinters have more sculpted, muscular physiques whereas long-distance runners appear to have leaner bodies with less visible muscle tone.
So what’s the best way to start adding sprinting into your fitness routine? I would recommend starting with short distance (50m to 100m) strides at about 60-70% maximum effort. If you were to sprint in a residential area, it would be about the distance between 2 stop signs. At a park, it would be about the length of a soccer field. Try 4-6 sets and give yourself about 2 minutes of rest between sets. As your body begins to adapt to the sprint load (2-4 weeks) you can increase your effort to 80-90% and then 100%. You can also increase sets to up to 10 for this distance. If you’d like to extend the distance to 200-300m then I wouldn’t recommend more than 6 sets (you’ll run the risk of overtraining and remember we are just sprinting for sculpting not to train for the Olympics).
Before actually doing your sprint work, you’ll want to ensure you go through a proper warmup routine. Here’s what I suggest:
- Warmup jog: Jog for about 5 minutes or 1 mile. The jog should be a slow/moderate jog just to get your heart rate up.
- Static Stretching: Spend another 5-10 minutes stretching your hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and calves.
- Dynamic Warmup: Spend 5 minutes on dynamic warmup movies such as high knees and skips. Also do 2 strides (short sprints at 60% effort focusing on the form).
- Sprint Workout: Do the sprint workout that I outlined for you above. Make sure to get plenty of rest between sets and to also perform light stretches to stay loose.
- Cool Down: Cooling down is just as important as warming up. Do at least a 2-minute jog at a slow pace. Follow that up with the same static stretches that you did before your run. Foam rolling and icing post-workout are also great for recovery.
Incorporate sprint work into your workout routine 3x a week and you’ll start to see those body changes that you desire. Remember that recovery is key with sprint workouts so you’ll want to make sure you’re replenishing your body with proteins and carbs post-workout. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest on sprinting nights and drink lots of water to rehydrate.
So now that you can see the benefit of adding sprinting into your workout routine to get sculpted faster before summer, go ahead and lace up your sneaker and find a safe place to start sprinting!
Photo By: Pedro Rodriguez