How To Use Sprint Training For Fat Loss - Tips
For Sprinting Workouts
we get started with our discussion on sprinting for fat loss I would
like to point out a few very important facts:
- Sprinting is a very advanced mode of training, requiring high
speed limb movements, resulting in great stress being placed on
muscles and joint structures and therefore isn't suitable for
everyone seeking fat loss results.
- Even if you are a highly trained individual, you will experience
a high level of muscle soreness in the days after your first sprint
training session and this may interfere with your overall training
- Pure sprint (speed) training is used by athletes for speed development
and will require longer time to prepare for... i.e. a longer warm
up period is required.
- We are primarily concerned with using sprint training for its
powerful fat loss and conditioning benefits.
- Technique is very important, not only in order to avoid injury,
but also to make sure you benefit maximally from your time invested.
- Sprint (speed) work does not have to be exclusive to track work,
you can also perform sprint training protocols on bikes and rowers.
- Sprint training causes huge amounts of EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise
Oxygen Consumption) which is what all fat loss seekers need!
Track Sprinting Versus Treadmill Intervals
Both track sprinting and treadmill sprinting (intervals) have
their advantages and disadvantages. So what should you choose? Well
it's rather simple... you have to look at what method is going to
suit your goals, ability level and also choose the one which you
have access to. Do you have access to a track or smooth grass field?
The disadvantages of using a treadmill for sprint interval type
work is that the intervals will need to be 30 seconds or more in
duration as you have to dial in the speed... going up and down.
It will often take several seconds to reach the speed you plan to
use before you actually start your timed interval period.
Another problem with treadmills is that they are too quad dominant,
meaning the front side of your legs do all the work and your hamstrings
and glutes, the muscles heavily involved in true sprinting, get
disengaged. This can lead to muscle imbalances and injuries.
Moving at high speeds on treadmills can also feel a little restricted
The main advantage to treadmill sprinting (intervals) is that you
can dial in the exact speeds you want to move at for both the high
intensity portion and the low intensity recovery period of your
training session... Therefore over the weeks you can push the speed
level of your intervals up and up in a more structured and controlled
manner. Think of this as controlled intensity escalation.
However treadmills have a maximum speed limit and like I said earlier...
intervals shorter than 30 second are going to be pretty much out
of the question.
Track sprint work and interval training work beats treadmills for
this reason as you have no speed limits, and can perform sprints
and intervals of any time duration. From as little as 5 seconds
upwards! You control the speed and getting up to speed is easier
Your entire body, including your glutes and hamstrings, will be
more engaged when you sprint on a track or grass field surface.
More muscles being taxed means greater energy expenditure during
the training session... greater conditioning and ultimately higher
levels of EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) will be
achieved... resulting in greater overall calorie expenditure and
Sprint Intensity, Recovery and Duration of Sessions
don't like to prescribe specific sprint training plans for anyone.
What I prefer to do is have a person tell me how much time they
have to perform their sprint interval session and go from there,
making sure to calculate in enough time for their warm up and cool
If you are new to track sprint work I suggest you keep your intervals
to 30 seconds and upwards, going no further than 90 seconds, keeping
the majority of your work in the 45-60 second range... and using
rest intervals that are equal to or greater than the actual work
period. So, if you sprint for 30 seconds, rest for at least 30 seconds.
Usually the shorter the sprint interval is, then the higher the
intensity will be (you will be sprinting faster) and therefore required
to rest longer. I would generally rest no longer than 4 times the
duration of the sprint interval work period between reps. This means
that if I sprint for 30 seconds I will rest no longer than 2 minutes
(120 seconds) before I start the next 30 second interval. However,
I may perform multiple sets of 30 seconds and will rest longer than
120 seconds in between the sets. Here's an example so you better
understand what I am talking about.
- Set 1: 4x30 Second Intervals - Resting 120 Seconds Between
Rest: 4 Minutes (240 Seconds) Before Commending Set 2
- Set 2: 4x30 Second Intervals - Resting 120 Seconds Between
Rest: 4 Minutes (240 Seconds) Before Commending Set 3
- Set 3: 4x30 Second Intervals - Resting 120 Seconds Between
Now let's work out how long that session will last. Well we first
see that we have 2x4 minute rest intervals between the sets, so
that's 8 minutes. Next we can work out how much each set will take
to complete. We have 4 x 30 second intervals so that's 2 minutes,
plus 3x2 minute rest between the reps, so that's a further 6 minutes,
meaning that each set will take a total of 8 minutes to complete.
So each set takes 8 minutes, we then rest ½ that total time
between sets (4 minutes) and the entire session will take us 32
minutes to complete.
It's interesting to note that out of those 32 minutes we will only
be working for 6 minutes at high intensity... meaning that 26 minutes
is made up of recovery time... BUT trust me, this interval training
session is going to be far superior than any steady state 30 minute
run or bike ride you have ever done.
Intensity and EPOC creation is the key to this type of training
NOTE! This same interval protocol could be used on an upright
stationary bike, rower or cross trainer in the gym. Sprinting would
be my first choice, followed by the upright bike option and the
rower and cross trainer would be my last choice.
My suggestion to you is to first look at what time you have to
get the work in and then plan your session based on your time constraints.
The less time you have the more intense you will be required to
work... i.e. if you only have 10 minutes you can't do 1 minute intervals
resting 2 plus minutes in between... it would be better for you
do to 30 second intervals with 30 seconds in between reps and maybe
take a slightly longer (maybe 60-90 seconds) rest interval after
4 reps (half way point) have been performed.
Just be smart and think your workouts out well in advance... Not
when you arrive to the gym or track. I suggest that you don't do
interval type work any more than 3 times per week and use this in
conjunction with your resistance training program... not in place
I hope you found this tad bit of information informative and hope
you will find it helping in planning your sprint interval session
plans, in order to help you accelerate your fat loss efforts.
Best of luck to you with your fat loss and physique development