Sprints as Cardio
Sprints are one of the most intense forms of cardio you can do since they truly utilize your entire body, not just your leg muscles. What most people don’t know is that, when done properly, sprinting works your core so much that it will give you one of the best ab workouts possible! Sprints are not recommended for beginners so please ensure you are comfortable with running at fast speeds before attempting.
Sprints are to be performed at 90-95% of your maximum heart rate for short bursts of time (we recommend anywhere from 15-60 seconds – the shorter the sprint, the faster you should run) followed by a recovery phase between 55-65% of your maximum heart rate. Begin at a walking/light jogging speed and move straight into sprinting as fast as you can for your chosen duration of time, then recover for 3x the duration of the sprint. For example, if you sprint for 30 seconds, recover for 90 seconds. If you sprint for 60 seconds, recover for 180 seconds. This is considered one interval and you should be repeating these intervals until you reach 20-30 total minutes of sprints. And if you’re not big on running, you can use the 1:3 sprinting principle for biking, elliptical, swimming, and even walking!
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Due to the explosive nature of sprints, sprinting will help increase your metabolism and allow your body to burn fat long after your workout is complete. These workouts are not about how many calories you burn in the moment but how many you continue to burn for the rest of the day thanks to EPOC principles.
1) Always do a light cardio warm-up before any sprints, such as a 5 minute jog.
2) Always end sprints with a light cardio cool-down, like a 3-5 minute walk or jog.
3) Work to keep your chest up and out and your shoulder blades down your back.
4) Keep a slight forward lean of your torso to effectively use your glutes.
5) Squeeze your core with every step and breathe through your diaphragm. Make your sprints count!
6) Use your arms to pump effectively – arms should be at a 90-degree angle, close to your body, and pumping with every step, allowing you to take control of your core.
7) Push vs pull: Think of sprints and running as pushing away from the ground as opposed to pulling away. This will help minimize injury and maximize sprinting effectiveness and engage the glutes more!
8) Your knees should raise to about a 90-degree angle and your foot should fall right below your hips, not in front of your body. This will ensure you are not overstriding, which can lead to injury.
9) Do not slow down until every second of the sprint is finished!
10) Whenever possible, sprint outside vs. on a treadmill.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help with your cardio routine! Or if you have any questions on modifications, alternatives, or injuries, email the Fit Body Physical Therapist at email@example.com. You get free PT consultations included in your Fit Body app membership!