Get Lean and Maintain Mass With Sprint Intervals
By ProSource Training Team | Friday, May 6, 2016 2:07:08 PM America/New_York
Attain Maximum Physique
Benefits From Minimum Cardio
Despite our best efforts, there’s a long list of activities and exercises that even the most ardent gym-goers tend to avoid. There are front squats, of course, which are perhaps more effective for quad-building than back squats but are exponentially more uncomfortable. And a show of hands for those of you who do burpees on purpose? We didn’t think so. But the most universally shunned activity for serious lifters? Running. Because . . . it’s running.
The fact is that even lifters who are sold on the value of pounding the pavement are loathe to actually do it because of any number of reasons. It’s difficult. It’s boring. It can even hurt for those whose mechanics are lacking. But here’s the good news – you don’t need to be a spandex-clad cardio freak to take advantage of what running has to offer. All you have to do is sprint.
Sprints are to cardio as Twitter is to Facebook. In other words, it cuts the clutter down to size. Sprinting is the upgraded, more efficient way to run for those serious about strength, size and body composition. You can get more done in less time and with more appreciable results. If you’re not interested in any of that, have fun with your burpees. But if you are, here’s your condensed starter’s guide.
“I hate sprinter’s physiques,” people say. But these same people might be surprised to discover that sprinters’ training regimens typically include plenty of heavy, explosive lifting. When you think about it, the two activities have a lot in common.
Unlike long, steady-state runs that can chew through stored glycogen and compromise muscle mass, sprinting relies heavily on your explosive energy stores while directly taxing your growth-prone fast-twitch muscle fibers. This means that you will exert yourself at a higher intensity with greater power but for a shorter time span. Even the most well-conditioned athletes can only sustain an all-out sprint for around 20-25 seconds. After that, your body begins to rely more on other energy systems to keep the wheels turning. Meanwhile, muscles in your quads, hamstrings and calves are being trained to produce greater amounts of force in a shorter amount of time, which translates to greater performance on exercises that involve those muscles.
But what about fat-burning? Research has shown that subjects who completed 4 to 6 30-second sprints a few times per week improved markers of cardiovascular fitness as much as subjects engaging in longer sessions of lower-intensity cardio, while also improving fat loss. A 1994 study found that a sprint group lost nine times more bodyfat and 12 percent more visceral fat than a group that did aerobic training. Sprinting, like any other high-intensity activity, demands a huge amount of energy to recover from, meaning that your body will use more energy in the 24-48 hours following your last sprint. This is known as EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, a happy phenomenon that has you burning calories while you rest.
What’s more is that sprinting has been shown to improve production of your body’s natural growth hormone, which can aid in muscle growth and fat loss. And again, the targeting of fast-twitch fibers all but assures that you are more likely to hold on to (or grow) muscle by sprinting.
HOW SHOULD I SPRINT?
If you’re committed to becoming a sprinting machine, here are some pointers to consider while crafting a regimen.
1 Frequency. Sprinting is a high-intensity activity. If you’re fully new to it, once or twice per week would be sufficient to coax your body to torch more bodyfat. As you progress, you can add a session or two per week to keep your body guessing.
2 Rest. One of the most overlooked factors of sprint training is rest. Studies have used multiple work-to-rest ratios, including the aforementioned 30-second sprint program, which called for four minutes of rest between sprints. The fact is that sprints are fueled primarily by phosphagen – ATP and creatine – which is pretty well tapped in 15-25 seconds. And at this intensity, maximum rest is generally achieved at 4-5 times the work interval. So, a 10-second sprint, for example, should be followed by 50 seconds of rest (walking or slow jogging) in order to maximize effort on the next sprint.
3 Effort. All out. It’s a sprint. You can only sustain the effort for so long anyway, so make sure that you’re going as fast as your legs will take you for the time that you’re on the clock. In trainer/coach parlance, you should strive for 90-95 percent of your max intensity on every sprint.
4 Volume. As intensity goes up, volume goes down. Or at least it should. The longer your sprints are, the fewer sprints you need. See the programs below for an idea.
5 Form and Flow. YouTube is a fantastic resource for proper sprinting form but you will want to make sure that you’re avoiding heel strikes on each stride, that your arms are pumping hard and are swinging in line with your body, not across it. As with any other high-intensity activity, don’t get into your first working set without a thorough, full-body warm-up. This will not only maximize sprint performance but also greatly reduce the risk of injury.
WORKOUT 1: Sprint Intervals 101
This is a good basic foray into sprinting for fitness. With this workout, you’ll perform 10 10-second sprints with 50 seconds of rest. Perform this workout twice per week on non-lifting days. Each week, you can add one second to your sprint while removing one second from your rest period. After five weeks, move up to a more advanced program.
Sprint 10 sec.
Walk 50 sec.
Repeat 10 times.
WORKOUT 2: Science Sprinter
One of the most crucial studies referenced here had athletes running 30-second sprints, then resting four full minutes, always to fantastic results. Worked for them, so it can work for you. Try this workout twice per week (and no more than three), making sure to give your max effort for the duration of each interval. Even as your energy fades, continue pumping your arms and legs as hard as you can, remembering that you have four minutes of rest coming!
Sprint 30 sec.
Walk 4 min.
Repeat 4-6 times.
WORKOUT 3: Track Sprinter
In the spirit of the coming Olympics and the return of the summer sun, many of you will be heading out to local tracks. This is a mile run (at least initially) that will involve sprints of roughly 100 yards on the straightaways, ala Jamaican sensation Usain Bolt. Walk the curves and gear up for your next sprint and repeat the process until you’ve completed four complete laps (8 sprints). Try this workout twice a week and add one lap each week to push your progress.
If there’s been one overriding theme thus far in this article, it’s been max intensity. You want to tackle every sprint like you’re fleeing a zombie apocalypse. To achieve that kind of focus, you’re going to want to prep yourself with a high-impact pre-workout formula that hits EVERY aspect of performance enhancement squarely and effectively. BioQuest’s AndroFury contains a comprehensive matrix of energy catalysts and focus intensifiers (among them beta alanine, L-leucine, L-citrulline, arginine-AKG, caffeine, R-alpha-lipoic acid, and L-carnitine L-tartrate) all in clinically indicated dosages to amp your workout into the stratosphere. At the same time, AndroFury contains a protodioscin-rich botanical super compound that has been shown to support all-important testosterone levels, providing for optimized power, focus, and aggression.
How about after your workout? You’ll want to restore glycogen levels and start the business of repair, particularly to those ravaged fast-twitch muscle fibers. That’s where a top-flight post-workout formula like BioQuest’s MyoZene will pay big dividends. MyoZene contains an ultra-fast-acting whey hydrplysate ideal for jumpstarting growth immediately post-workout, plus an advanced carbohydrate matrix that raises blood glucose levels, potentiating insulin release, which in turn plays a key role in skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Add in potent amounts of Creapure® creatine monohydrate (the world’s best), a highly bioavailable N-acetyl-L-glutamine, and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, and you’ve got a recipe for renewed growth and repair after your workout.
No bodybuilder likes cardio. The key is to do as little of it as possible, while leveraging those short intervals to support muscle mass. Sprinting is your solution!
Read more about AndroFury here.
Read more about MyoZene here.
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