Sprint for body composition

Anaerobic type of training, sprints and strength training, are more beneficial for body composition than aerobic type of training.

Summer time. The gyms are emptying and the tracks are getting crowded. To keep all the gains from hard strength training gym work during winter time, I would strongly suggest high intensity interval sprint training. Of some kind. While aerobic activity is good for children and youth to strengthen their heart and blood circulation, adults in fairly good shape will benefit more from high intensity intervals. This will help to further enhance both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning and strength. As a matter of fact, extreme aerobic training (overtraining) can damage the heart and inhibit any strength or speed development. Aerobic overtraining will quickly deteriorate the body, which is why even marathoners actually prefer interval training (even if their interval spurts might be a tiny bit longer). Marathoners do not run marathons in training.

It’s not all that uncommon to see people wasting their time and effort on the treadmills. If you do the same aerobic workout, run the same mile at the same speed, week after week, your body will adapt to the routine and become more efficient. This mean less energy expenditure, which is good to be honest, but you would need to run longer and longer to keep up the energy expenditure if loosing weight is your goal. That’s not always convenient though, because over time the exercise would become a marathon.

Next step is to speed up so you would be able to run longer in the same amount of time which increases the need of energy. Energy expenditure is more related to distance than speed in a steady state run. Over the course of time this would also soon become inconvenient, you can only run for so long at high speed. Sooner or later you would be forced to cut the distance into shorter sprint intervals. At this point the training has become what is called anaerobic. Surely, the sprints are more strenuous work but the greater effort brings more muscle mass into play, which stimulate release of growth hormones and creates a greater oxygen debt. The results will be greater fat burning (due to greater oxygen debt), better speed endurance, muscle growth and a fantastic body!

When my aerobic friend and I (we all have an annoying friend like that) go for a 5 kilometer run I usually dash every other 200 meters and walk or jog the other 200 meters, while he runs the 5K in a steady state. We often end up at the finish line pretty much at the same time.

My favorite types of high intensity sprint training.
* Sprint 400 meters, rest 4 minutes, sprint 300 meters, rest 3 min, sprint 200 meters, rest 2 min, sprint 100 meters. Done. (Learn more from Christian Thibadue at t-nation.com)

* Hill sprints. Find a slope, 60-80 meters long, maybe 8-10 degree inclination. Run up the slope as fast as you possibly can, walk down, rest till your pulse has calmed down and do it again. Go for 8-10 sprints or till you can’t get your pulse down between the sprints. Good exercise for your behind.

* 30 second sprints. Can also be done on a stationary bike or treadmill. Sprint as fast as you possibly can during 30 seconds, walk or jog slowly for 2-3 minutes and go again. Do 6-9 sprints. If you’re not blown out after 9 sprints you’re doing it wrong. Don’t save yourself, run as if life depends on it!

References
* The Black Book of Training Secrets, by Christian Thibadue
* Aerob och anaerob träning, by Jens Bangsbo m.fl.
* Åldersanpassad fysisk träning för barn och ungdom.., by Michail Tonkonogi and Helena Bellardini