Is Sprint Training The Underrated Holy Grail Of Lean Gains?

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Who likes cardio? If you’re like most muscle-focused gym rats, you’ll look for any reason in the book to skip cardio day, right? Not so fast. Turns out, one form of cardio – sprint training – isn’t just good for your heart, it’s also great for muscle building and fat burning. And it can be done in a fraction of the time most cardio takes.

Let’s take a look at the seriously underrated benefits of sprint training, and how you can use it for explosive muscle growth.

Benefits of sprint training for bodybuilders

It builds muscle

Naturally, anyone interested in bodybuilding or packing on serious amounts of muscle is going to hear the word sprint and immediately associate it with muscle loss. Sure, endurance-based cardiovascular exercise – think training for a marathon – will undoubtedly strip away some muscle mass. Sprinting, on the other hand, does not. In fact, it can actually add muscle mass, making it ideal for bodybuilders.

Sprint training will add muscle mass in two key ways:

  • First, sprinting targets Type II or ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibers in the legs. These fibers are associated with increases in muscle size and mass. Studies show that for this reason alone, sprint training can increase muscle size and strength.
  • Second, sprinting has been shown to increase protein synthesis and growth hormone production; both of which are essential for recovery and growth.

Put this combo together and what you have is an exercise that triggers muscle hypertrophy (growth) and the production of hormones responsible for recovery.

It burns fat

Traditional bodybuilding workouts follow two phases: bulking and cutting. As the name implies, bulking is going to focus on putting on as much size as you can without paying much attention to whether that muscle is defined or not.

A few months before you’re due to step on the stage or beach, you can begin the cutting phase. This is when bodybuilders will burn as much fat as possible while holding on to as much muscle mass as they can. The result: That lean, shredded, jacked physique.

Sprint training is ideal for cutting season since it’s been shown to burn fat without sacrificing lean muscle mass. Studies show that a short burst of sprint training increases fat burning during and after your workout. Excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC) is how many calories you continue to burn after you finish exercising. Sprinting can significantly boost EPOC levels without putting the body at risk of protein breakdown.

Your guide to sprint training

Before going all out on the track, you know the drill: Warm-up and stretch. A light warm-up of 10 minutes followed by a dynamic stretching session will prep the muscles for the workload to follow. It’ll also prevent any running-related injuries, especially in the connective tissue. Now for the workout.

Beginner’s Sprinting Workout

If you’re a beginner to sprint training, we recommend finding a classic high school track or something equivalent that allows you to run circles. Take a nice, easy first lap around the entire track. Once you return to the starting position, this is when the workout will begin.

Jog at a normal pace during the first half of the track (one straightaway and one roundabout). As you finish the first roundabout, sprint at about 80% of effort for the straightaway. Once you reach the roundabout, return to normal speed. Complete this pattern five times.

As you progress, you can increase your intensity to 100% effort. Then you can begin to sprint both straightaways and slowly jog only the roundabouts. Here’s a four-week sprinting workout breakdown:

WEEK ONE:

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap
  • Jog the first straightaway and roundabout
  • Sprint the second straightaway at 80% effort
  • Return to jogging
  • 5 sets

WEEK TWO:

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap
  • Jog the first straightaway and roundabout
  • Sprint the second straightaway at 90% effort
  • Return to jogging
  • 5 sets

WEEK THREE:

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap
  • Jog the first straightaway and roundabout
  • Sprint the second straightaway at 100% effort
  • Return to jogging
  • 5 sets

WEEK FOUR

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap
  • Sprint the straightaways at 100%
  • Jog the roundabouts
  • 3 to 5 sets

Thinking this isn’t much of a challenge? Step up to our advanced program.

Advanced sprinting workout

For the advanced workout, you can use a track but any straight, flat, and safe surface like a running path will do just fine. The only thing you’ll need is a stopwatch. After warming up and stretching, start your watch. You’ll jog the first 50 seconds of every minute. For the remaining 10 seconds, you’ll sprint at 100% effort. Repeat this for up to 10 minutes. If you’re feeling ambitious, complete a normal-paced jog afterward.

You might need to build up your endurance for this one, so here’s an advanced sprinting workout breakdown for the next four weeks:

WEEK ONE:

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap or 5-minute light jog
  • Jog for 50 seconds
  • Sprint at 100% effort for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 5 times

WEEK TWO:

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap or 5-minute light jog
  • Jog for 50 seconds
  • Sprint at 100% effort for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 6 times

WEEK THREE:

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap or 5-minute light jog
  • Jog for 50 seconds
  • Sprint at 100% effort for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 7-8 times

WEEK FOUR

  • 10-minute warm up
  • 10-minute dynamic stretching
  • 1 warm-up lap or 5-minute light jog
  • Jog for 50 seconds
  • Sprint at 100% effort for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 9-10 times

Fueling your muscle growth during sprint training

More important than running your butt off is getting in the right nutrition after your workout. Sprints are tough. The studies above show that before they improve protein synthesis, your levels of amino acids take a hit. If you want to skyrocket your recovery and results, run to the kitchen after sprint training.

Focus your diet on protein-rich options such as lean chicken breast and tuna. Pair this with complex carbohydrates such as quinoa and healthy fats like coconut oil.

After your sprint training session, we recommend using a whey protein isolate shake for rapid absorption of muscle-building amino acids. Avoid complex carbs right after a workout; instead focus on simple carbohydrates such as banana, white rice and raisins.

To avoid over-training and to boost your recovery and growth, we recommend taking our Bulking Stack. Whether you’re trying to get as big as possible or you just want a clean bulk, this bulking stack has everything you need. You’ll be able to:

  • Increase intra-workout performance with D-Bal
  • Support post-workout recovery with Testo-Max
  • Strip fat away with Trenorol
  • Ensure next-level size gains with DecaDuro

Do you use sprint training to build muscle? What results have you seen since you started sprinting? Are you interested in doing a clean bulk year-round? If so, has sprint training helped you achieve your goals? Let us know in the comments below.

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