How to Properly Train for Sprints
Sprints have so many health benefits that it would take a huge list to name them all. Studies have shown that sprinters benefit the most from running and it is easy to see this in action with the physiques of sprinters and football or soccer players.
The science behind sprinting
Studies show that track athletes,those who cover longer distances while running, with around 54 to 65 yards, get the most health benefits. Team sports athletes have shorter sprints, on average, from 21 to 32 yards.
One study found that decreasing interval sprinting has major health benefits:
- An increase of the growth hormone (GH) and lactic acid from blood. These two indicators show a clear extra “taxation” on the body and is linked to an increase of the fat burning process.
- An increase in testosterone production
- A better stimulation of the IGF-1 (growth hormone). Although studies have shown different results on this hormone it seems that an increased amount of sprint training has a good influence on the anabolic effects on adults.
Training routines for sprints
One of the easiest ways to train for sprints is with regular sprints. This is an effective way to increase sprint performance over time but it needs to be documented for professional athletes. Amateurs can also benefit from training like professional sprinters. All you need is a stopwatch and a notebook and you can write down all you timing. If you truly want to take it to the next level then always try to train in similar conditions or have different tables for sprinting on a sunny day and on a rainy day.
- Have a sprinting partner
One of the best methods to constantly push yourself during training is to have a partner. Sprinting on your own does not give you real time feedback, but having a partner running along will further motivate you to push those limits.
- Resistance training for better sprinting results
A very effective way to increase sprinting results is to follow a resistance training routine. An increasing number of sports teams combine both conventional sprinting with resistance training for optimal results.
The most popular resistance training exercise is squatting. This exercise is so recommended around the world that has become a legend. But there is much to attribute to this exercise and even watching someone doing a squat will give you an indicator on his form and balance and these would indicate on the overall ability to prevent injuries.
- Bulgarian squat
The Bulgarian squat or walking lunges is perfect to exercise one-foot stability. Combined with traditional squatting it delivers a good overall training for sprinters. It will increase the mobility and balance of the body and will provide the necessary muscle growth to support this.
- Hip flexion with a cable
This exercise is great because it implies constant tension from start to finish. Using a rubber cable or a weight cable will work running muscles. This exercise is part of the weekly routine of top athletes around the world.
Jump training or Plyometrics are exercises that involve jumping with the maximum force in the shortest interval of time. There are various options available.
Lower body options include:
- Jumping on a box to warm up
- Knee high jumps
- Double leg bounds
- Single leg bounds
- Box jumps
- One leg explosive step ups using a box
- Split squat jumps
- Forward bounding hops
You can also train your upper body using Plyometrics principles with the following exercises:
- Jumping push ups
- Jumping pull ups
- Seated throws
- Wall chest passes
- Overhead forward wall throws
TRX Plyometrics options include:
- One leg jump squat
- Split squat
- Rotating split jumps
There are many more Plyometrics exercises. These include variations of lower and upper body exercises with or without TRX-style bands.
Bodyweight training for sprints
Some of the easiest options out there are the bodyweight exercises. You can do them anywhere and in any weather.
- Quick repeats
Interval training is great for quick sprinting repeats. After warming up you can do 30 seconds sprints with 2 minutes rest. A weekly plan would include progress by decreasing resting time. The routine would look similar to this:
Week 1 – 10 X 30 seconds sprints followed by 2 minutes rest
Week 2 – 10 X 30 seconds sprints followed by 1 minute and 50 seconds rest
Week 3 – 10 X 30 seconds sprints followed by 1 minute and 45 seconds rest
Week 4 – Deload 8 X 30 seconds sprins followed by 2 minutes rest
- Hill sprints
This old-school training method is beneficial for increasing sprinting performance and building muscle at the same time. It only involves finding a hill and running. A typical routine could look similar to this:
Week 1 – 6 X 30 seconds sprints followed by 2 minutes rest
Week 2 – 4 X 30 seconds sprints followed by 2 minutes rest
Week 3 – 2 X 30 seconds sprints followed by 2 minutes rest
You can finish sprint sessions with a light run on a flat road until you are back to normal breathing levels.
In the end you need to remember you can combine all these techniques to improve your sprinting results. Also keep in mind that sprinting is very demanding on the body and take your time warming up and stretching after every session. Sprinting is very different from regular running and you could easily get injured. Because it involves a maximum effort in a short period of time you need to keep track of timing and write down your weekly progress.