I wanna go fast! Benefits to sprinting

The fastest man alive

Last week we discussed the first part of my exercise routine-slow aerobic activity. Today we’re going to look at the other part, which is sprinting. Once again I’m going to reiterate the downfalls of high intensity aerobics. Honestly who wants to run for at least a half hour at time! I don’t find that enjoyable, I’d rather spend less time doing sprint work (it’s far more enjoyable); getting more results and better health benefits. We’ll do a recap though of the pitfalls of long duration high intensity aerobics. It requires large amounts of carbohydrates (which I don’t promote the consumption of starchy, grainy and sugary foods), promotes hyperinsulinemia (over production of insulin), increases production of free radicals, and for some it can increase cortisol levels (check last Thursday article). Humans were made for low aerobic activity or for “fight or flight” (sprinting). Look at our ancestors. They spent all day performing their daily routine (low aerobic) and when they needed to survive (whether they were hunting or being hunted) they would call on their ATP-PC system to provide a short burst of energy to escape the lion. What’s even better is that the initial ATP burst generates a growth spurt that creates leaner, stronger muscles. Sprinting has other benefits as well:

  •  increases aerobic capacity
  • increases insulin sensitivity
  •  increase muscle fiber strength
  • increases number and size of muscle mitochondria
  • increases growth hormone production
  •  increase VO2 peak
  • lowers blood pressure

  A Scottish study showed that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is productive in raising metabolism, and for bettering insulin action and glucose clearance. A seperate study at McMaster University in Canada showed that sprint training provided improvement structure and function of heart vessels. What kind of sprint training should you do then? I do sprint training 2 days a week (Tuesday and Saturday mornings). I do six 100’s on the track and then I take my shoes off and do four barefoot sprints in the grass. I like to do progressive sprints so that I only sprint all out the last 20 meters or so. The barefoot running I do only at half speed because I want to avoid injuries and the grass has holes and can be uneven, so that turning an ankle is easy. I have worked up to this load; someone just starting should ease into. Start out with two or three and ease your way up. Besides the fact that we were made for these short bursts, look at runners. Compare a sprinter to a long distance marathoner. Hopefully you recognize Usain Bolt up above (the fastest man in the world). He has lean and strong looking muscles compare to that of a long distance runner. Long distance runners tend to be less muscular and can even appear somewhat sickly. Pesonally I think I would rather spend less time training at higher intensity and look leaner and stronger!

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One Response to I wanna go fast! Benefits to sprinting

  1. Pingback: Distance Running Rankings

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