By Stephen Hannah |
API-Caveman Training Coach
I am sure you would have all seen the latest Olympics or are aware of national athletes. But have you ever seen a fat sprinter in the Olympics? I didn’t think so!
The fact is that sprinters, whether it is a runner, swimmer or cyclist, tend to have one of the best muscle to fat ratio in sports, and these athletes train with short, high-intensity focus in mind to focus on fast muscle twitch fibre development.
So how do they end up with such an excellent muscle to fat ratio?
Well, short duration high-intensity exercise not only burns fat but also builds muscle and helps to increase bone density! – It’s quite magical actually!
Training for weight loss
Generally, when most people want to lose weight they cut back on calories and begin a cardio program usually in the form of prolonged low-moderate intensity exercise such as a 45-minute walk or 3-mile jog, etc.
Although this form of training does have its benefits including; improved cardiovascular health and the burning of calories, while performing, you get virtually no significant bump in metabolism after stopping. In fact, without resistance, exercise large amounts of cardio can actually lead to a loss of lean body mass thus lowering metabolism.
Basically, if we can train for the same duration but continue to burn calories after leaving the gym due to activating the metabolism why not? We all want more bang for our buck!
Sprint Training Drills
It’s easy to distinguish the difference in body structure between an Olympic track sprinter versus a long distance runner: the sprint athlete usually holds a lot more muscle mass.
A study at NSW University in Australia found that test subjects who used a sprint format of 8second sprints with 12 seconds rest in between lost 3 times as much weight in 20-minute sessions – compared to a group working at moderate intensity for 40 minutes! That’s not to bash the long-distance runner, but emphasise why sprint training may be your go-to for breaking that weight loss plateau! In regards to the above…
There may be two reasons for this:
1) High-intensity training increases the release of a group of chemicals from the adrenal glands known as catecholamines. These chemicals are known for their fight or flight response in the body. Another effect is an increased release of fatty acids from the cells.
2) High-intensity training, being more vigorous, causes more tissue damage, therefore necessitating more body repair. This requires greater resources and elevates metabolism for an extended period. This is called afterburn.
Because of the demands of this type of training, you should already have a fairly good level of fitness; consider this a progression to your routine rather than a starting point.
Also, if you have health issues this may not be an advisable course for you. Those of you who want the benefits of sprinting but have bad knees – it may benefit you to perform swim or cycle sprints. If it’s shoulder problems cycling should work!
Let’s get started.
Sprint training drills: example programmes
As you will see I have outlined 3 example programmes. These can be performed on a treadmill, but if possible try and get outside to do these.
Take a stopwatch, find some open space and enjoy the fresh air. Keep mixing it up!
✓ Always ensure a thorough warm up with stretching and movement drills!
|Warm-Up/Activation||20 Meter Drills x 2-3 times|
|High-step Walking||(lifting knees up to hip level)|
|High-step jogging||(lifting knees up to hip level)|
|Forward Bounding||(exaggerated: focus on foot push-off)|
|Zig Zag Forward bounding||As normal|
|Quick Feet to high knee drill||small strides fast steps >high knees|
Speed Drill Programmes: 1,2,3
Speed Drills 1
Speed Drills 2
Speed Drills 3 | M=Metre
30 Seconds Sprint
60 Sec Sprint
60 Second Rest
90 Second Rest
Repeat x 20 Min
Repeat x 30 Min
To ensure proper form, you should not be fatigued when you complete the drills. The form is the first thing to suffer when you are tired, so if you don’t complete the workout that is fine just aim to keep form good and build it up.
If you continue when tired then improvements stop and this is when athletes become injured. Here are a few points to keep in mind with regards to form.
Sprint Drills: Maintaining Proper Form
✓ Avoid bending forward at the waist
✓ Push from the balls of your feet (not the toes)
✓ Focus your vision on the end of the course
✓ Keep smooth forward/ backwards arm swings(not across the body)
✓ hands pump from shoulder height to hips (men) and from chest height to hips (women)
✓ Elbows at 90 degrees at all times
✓ Maintain relaxed arms, shoulders and hands
✓ Avoid head bobbing or twisting
✓ Keep momentum forwards not side by side
✓ Maintain full extension of back leg
Take Home Message
Try these drills to burn fat, build muscle and increases bone density…
Time to train!