With the recent Olympic coverage, one can’t help but notice the great physiques that sprinters possess. The training involves intensity on the track and power training in the weight room. You won’t see an athlete logging miles on the treadmill or an elliptical. In fact, people were shocked to hear that Usain Bolt has never run a mile in his life! While we can’t all train like sprinters, we can incorporate 1-2 workouts per week to reap the benefits of sprinting. It’s not ever necessary to have access to a track to run sprints. Sprints can be done in the pool, on a bike, on the rower, and other cardio equipment. As long as the sprints are done with “all out” effort, you will see results.
Let’s go over a few of the ways to get a great HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout:
The pool is perfect for improving speed, as water has 12 times the resistance as air. Either sprint in chest-deep water or use an AquaJogger flotation belt. I prefer the AquaJogger — it allows me to fully sprint without touching the bottom of the pool. Yes, it does look silly, but it’s effective.
Bike sprints should be done at a challenging resistance, while keeping turnover as high as possible. Both bike and pool workouts should last a little longer than outdoor sprints. For example, an outdoor sprint might take 30 seconds. The equivalent on the bike would be closer to one minute to see the same results. Recovery time between sets should be a little less too.
For other cardio equipment, try to go as fast as possible, or set the resistance to something that takes effort to overcome. The rower has been my favorite recently, as you can easily gauge effort and record the distance you travel within an allotted time. If I’m doing 8 sprints, I make sure I’m exerting just as much effort on the 8th sprint as I would on the 1st sprint.
I like working off of ratios for work vs. rest time like 1:1, 2:1, etc. An example of 1:1 would be 12 sprints: one minute on, one-minute recovery and repeat. Or you might do 30 seconds on and 30 seconds recovery. A 2:1 ratio could be one minute on, 30 seconds recovery. Ladders are also very effective. One of my favorites is 1 minute/45 seconds/30 seconds/15 seconds with the same amount of recovery between sprints. Take 2-3 minutes of recovery and repeat.
The key with sprints is that the time spent on the actual workout is short - between 15 and 20 minutes. With a 10-minute warm-up and 10-minute cool-down, it should take less than 45 minutes total. The calorie-burning effects of the workout can last up to 48 hours later! It’s my favorite way to turn the body into a fat-burning furnace!
I also stay lean with BetaTOR. It really helps me maintain my intensity through my workouts. I have been able to increase the volume of my HIIT workouts, too! Thank you for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!
- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia