Sprint training is an excellent way to burn fat, build muscle and boost your basal metabolic rate (BMR) - the number of calories your body burns at rest. There’s also evidence that sprint training can improve circulation, and boost cognition, as well as better heart and lung health, as training specialist David Wiener explains.
Sprint interval training is any anaerobic training involving periods of all-out running interwoven with plenty of recovery. It differs from the high intensity interval training (HIIT), in the sense that effort bouts are shorter and more intense, hence the word “sprint”. This type of training is commonly perceived as being mentally and physically challenging, so is the hardship worth it?
In short, yes, and here are just a few reasons why:
1. It helps to burn fat...fast
Research shows that sprint interval training is an effective form of conditioning for promoting fat loss. This is because sprint intervals stimulate the production of the human growth hormone, which contributes to the buildup of lean muscle in the body. During recovery, the metabolism of your muscles speeds up and you burn more calories even after you’ve finished training. More lean muscle means more calories burned and more weight lost.
2. It can help you build muscle
Sprinting isn't the primary method for muscle growth, but it can support the hypertrophy process, helping you to gain leg muscle. Muscle growth from sprinting happens primarily in the glutes and hamstrings, although you'll also see muscle development in your quadriceps, calves and potentially in the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and pecs, as all of these muscle groups are recruited in this form of training.
3. It can improve endurance
Studies have shown that sprint interval training is more effective at building endurance and stamina than steady state cardiovascular exercise like jogging. This is because sprint training encourages your body to use energy more efficiently, prolonging the length of time you’re able to exercise. Sprint training also helps to improve your speed because it targets the fast-twitch fibers. Put simply, because sprinting is an anaerobic exercise, each time you push your muscles to the max, you’re training them to process the lactic acid buildup faster and faster each time. This repetitive work gives you a higher threshold for the pain and soreness that goes hand in hand with sprinting and makes it easier to go faster each time.
4. It builds mental toughness
Sprint training makes for a challenging workout. There may be moments when you want to quit, but It is important to keep going. Pushing through the discomfort will enable you to beat PB’s and build confidence in your mental and physical abilities.
5. You can do it anywhere
If running isn’t your thing, you can perform sprints on the rowing machine, bike or even in the pool and reap the same benefits listed above.
Lower body training doesn’t have to mean endless Squats or Split Lunges. Sprint training is the ultimate lower body exercise, building muscle, developing muscular endurance and, naturally, improving speed.