Kamis, 28 Maret 2013

Getting Ripped Abs; Sprint Workouts


Sprint workouts are one of the best fat burning workouts you can do. Yes, really.

Have you ever seen a fat sprinter? Me, either. I set fat marathon runners all the time, though. Sure, they don’t look fat when you glance at them. What I mean is, too much of the (little) weight they carry, is fat, not muscle. While their overall weight may be okay, the body composition of that weight isn’t always what it should be. They burn too much muscle.

But not sprinters. If you want to shed fat at a record pace and keep your lean muscle and your metabolism revving, sprint workouts are the way to go for getting ripped abs.

You also have to be careful. Sprinting all out on a flat surface can be a great way to injure yourself, especially if you don’t warm up properly.

Sprint Workouts
image; blondeponytail.com

One way to limit the risk of injury (and it can be a more intense, more effective workout, too) is to perform your sprints uphill, instead of on a flat surface.

If you don’t have a hill around that’s convenient, a flat place to sprint (on a track, or a field, not the hard cement or concrete of a road or sidewalk) will do just fine.

You’ll also want to limit your sprint efforts to 85 – 90% of your all out effort. Believe me, it will be enough.

Before a sprint workout, I’ll hit a light jog for a few minutes (if I’m sprinting on a field like a soccer or football field, I’ll jog a couple of laps around the outside) or perform a couple of minutes of jump rope.

Then it’s a few bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks and bodyweight squats.

All this doesn’t need to be long or intense but you want to prepare your body for sprinting.

I’ll then hit my workout, which begins with three or four (progressively harder) sprints of about 30 to 40 yards. Then I’ll start the real thing. These are warm ups. You shouldn’t be bent over hands on your knees exhausted!

    “Interval training stresses energy systems in the body that aren’t accustomed to being used,” says Jeramie Hinojosa, M.S., director of the East Texas Medical Center Olympic Center, in Tyler, Texas. “Blood supply to cells increases, the cells use oxygen more efficiently, and the enzymes that help create energy also increase. This improves fitness.”

In addition, the recover process from intense interval training forces the body to continue to burn fat for energy, which means a significant increase in post workout calorie burning.

Keep in mind, serious sprint workouts are similar to intense weight training sessions for the legs, so your body needs time to recover. If you start doing multiple sprinting sessions per week, cut back on your leg workouts with weights accordingly.

There are numerous ways to perform not only sprinting sessions, but interval training in general, from work to rest ratio, length of work and rest intervals, number of interval ‘set’s, exercises involved, etc.

Besides the variety, you can also build on your sprint workouts as you improve your overall fitness level. Starting out, you might only be able to perform 2 or 3 sprints of 20 yards before calling it quits. But your fitness levels will quickly improve and before you know it, you’ll be doing more sprints of longer length (not necessarily for longer time as your speed will improve as well).

Even so, don’t let these training sessions expand into long, volume oriented workouts. When it comes to hiit training, a little bit goes a long way.

If you aren’t ready for high intensity interval training, here’s a sample progression for you:

    Alternate jogging with walking
    Alternate running with jogging
    Alternate sprints with walking
    Alternate sprints uphill with walking down the hill

If you don’t have access to a hill, you can still adjust the parameters like I mentioned above. Maybe you start out with 3 to 4 sprints of 20 yards.

First you add intervals until you are doing 10 sprints of 20 yards and then you drop back the number of sprint intervals to 4 or 5 and sprint for 30 yards.

Eventually, you may be doing 10 60 yard sprints for your workouts. Yes, it’s the same type of progression ladder you’d use to increase your weights in your weight training routines.

* During your sprint workouts, you don’t need to go all out. Try sprinting around 85 – 90% of a maximum effort.

I’ll add more specific sprint workouts in a future article.

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