One of the best bromantic montages in the history of film is that of Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa in Rocky 3.
During that sequence you see glimpses of Creed training and teaching Rocky the multiple aspects of boxing. And one part is shown over and over – the beach sprints.
That scene is both iconic and unforgettable. Just thinking about it makes me want to go out and sprint right now!
But why did they focus on it so much and what’s so special about sprinting? I’m glad you asked!
Sprinting Is the Only Cardio You Will Ever Need
Forget treadmills. Forget endless hours on the elliptical or bike. Throw those P90X DVDs in the trash right now.
If you want the ultimate cardio workout to maximize your fat loss, you need to sprint. It’s no accident that it’s a core part of my ultimate 4 week program to shred.
Sprinting is the best way to develop power, muscle, endurance, and get absolutely shredded all at the same time. If this sounds too good be to true, IT ISN’T.
Sprinting will get you the biggest bang for your buck and is totally worth the effort. Want to get ripped, build muscle and look powerful? Then start sprinting right now.
There are two main reasons why you don’t see people sprint that often. First, it’s brutally hard. I’m not going to lie about that. But if you want crazy results, you need to put in the crazy effort, right?
Second, sprinting with improper form or without adequate warm up can lead to injury. I included my sprinting warmup at the bottom of this post to help you minimize the risk of injury.
5 Reasons Why Sprints Are Awesome
1. You WILL Lose Fat
If your diet is on point (meaning you’re not stuffing pizza in your mouth and tracking your macros), sprinting will melt body fat off quicker than any other cardio.
It’s the most metabolically demanding form of cardio and has the absolute best return on time invested. 15 minutes of sprinting will do more for your fat loss than 45 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical or bike.
Just compare the pictures of a sprinter vs. a marathon runner below. See the difference? Sprinters are bigger and actually leaner, because sprinting oxidizes fat at a much greater rate than steady state cardio.
2. They Will Get You Jacked
Sprinting is pretty much like using cheat codes in real life. Sprinting targets the larger muscle fibers in your legs and pushes them to do a lot of work.
This is a very anabolic process that can lead to increased testosterone and growth hormone levels, while decreasing cortisol. Creating a perfect environment for your muscles to grow.
So not only are you going to lose fat while sprinting, but you’ll also be gaining muscle, giving you a lean, strong and powerful body. What’s not to like 🙂
3. They Are Better for Endurance Than Endurance Training
You read that right. Sprinting will actually improve your endurance faster than steady-state cardio. Sprinting enables your body to store more glycogen (read – muscle fuel) and makes your body more efficient.
Sprinting also trains the body to use fat as fuel, delaying glycogen usage and increasing the amount of work your body is able to do.
Lastly, sprinting makes you faster. By doing sprints you will decrease the time it takes to perform longer distance work (such as running a mile), making you better at long distance cardio.
4. They Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity determines how much insulin your body needs to produce to process a specific amount of glucose (body fuel).
You are insulin sensitive if your body can process glucose with a small amount of insulin. You are insulin resistant if you need large amounts of insulin to process glucose.
Insulin resistance is directly associated with weight gain and diabetes. As sprints increase your endurance and make your body more anabolic, they help increase your insulin sensitivity, which makes you less prone to weight gain.
5. They Save Time
One of my favorite reasons for doing sprints is the fact that it saves you time. Sprinting workouts are short, but very effective.
Like I mentioned earlier, a 20 minute sprinting session will do more than 45+ minutes on the cardio machines. Short, simple and intense.
Example Sprinting Workout
Now that you know WHY you should sprint, I’ll show you the right way to do it.
First, sprints work best when combined with a strength training program. Here is a good place to start if you’re new. Add 1-2 sessions of sprints to your regular routine and you’ll see dramatic changes to your body composition.
Before you sprint, always do a warm up to reduce the risk of injury. Here is what I like to do:
A) Light Jog – 1 minute
B) High Knees – 2 x 20 yards
C) Butt Kicks – 2 x 20 yards
D) Side to Side Jumps – 2 x 20 yards
E) Long Stride Sprint @ 1/2 Speed – 2 x 40 yards
After you’re warmed up, you have two options for the actual sprints:
Option 1: Hill Sprints
Find a hill that has an include of 20-35 degrees. It doesn’t have to be exact, but it should be a decent incline.
The workout is simple – sprint up, walk back down and rest for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 10 times (which should take you about 20 minutes).
Option 2: Flat Sprints
Any flat stretch of land will do – a field, a road, a track, etc. You need at least 100 yards of free, clear space.
The workout: sprint for 100 yards, walk back to the starting position, go right into the next sprint. Repeat this 10 times (which should again take you about 20 minutes).
Get Ready for The Beach Season
Sprints are simple, quick and brutally effective. You don’t need any equipment, just some good shoes and some space.
But I promise you that if you sprint 1-2 times a week for 6-8 weeks, you won’t even recognize yourself in the mirror. You will be leaner, faster and stronger.
So get off that stationary bike. Hop off that treadmill. Sprint your butt off and get the results you’ll be proud to show off.