Sprinting: The Top 10 Benefits

Author, Josh Bryant, Sprinting

Whether you are looking to up your right-swipe ratio on Tinder, outrun the 5-0s, dominate the company flag football game or improve your health—sprinting can help you!

Sprinting is the most versatile form of exercise because sprinting  is utilized to build power and speed, increase muscle hypertrophy, shred body fat, and increase your cardiovascular capacity and muscular endurance. 

No other singular form of exercise can match sprinting because it builds speed and power, muscle mass, burns body fat, builds work capacity, endurance and cardiovascular conditioning.

Legendary late strength coach, Charles Poliquin, used to say, “Do sprints to lose fat, build muscle, improve your health, and live a more excellent life. Sprint training is a powerful tool that gives you back considerably more in terms of health benefits than the effort required.”

Here is a cursory overview of the top 10 benefits sprinting has to offer you!

1. Bodyfat Reduction –Multiple scientific studies confirm sprints are superior to steady-state cardio for fat loss and are much more time efficient.  Anecdotes close the case—skinny-fat distance runners don’t look as good in their three-piece suits or birthday suits as sprinters! Some studies show sprint programs reducing the body fat of participants by 10 to 20 percent over 12 weeks.

2. Build Muscle & Target Fast Twitch Fibers-Studies show sprinting can enhance muscle protein synthesis by over 200% while building your fast-twitch muscle fibers, assuming nutrition is dialed in. If it’s not, start (with Nutrition, Your Way); this will build a lean, more muscular physique that is not just smoke and mirrors. 

3. Hormonal Response-For men, repeated sprints will flood you naturally with a cascade of anabolic hormones (testosterone and growth hormone), you will be waking up stiff and we are not talking about decrepit, but pitch-a-tent stiff! Ladies, don’t worry, you won’t be matching your man’s beard because you won’t experience the same testosterone boost but the sprints will increase growth hormone levels, producing a sexy, strong feminine outcome that will catch the eye of the tall, dark and handsome, independently wealthy guy that just got an office down the hall.

4. Increased Work Capacity-Strength athletes and traditional athletes alike benefit from work capacity gained through sprinting.  Repeated sprints require more efficient energy utilization by increasing the amount of glycogen that can be stored in a muscle in the neighborhood of 20 percent (giving your muscles that dense, full look).  Repeated sprints train the body to become more effective at removing waste products during exercise, greatly increasing the muscles’ buffering capacity.  Because you are now faster from sprinting, your submaximal zone is higher; your 70 percent of max speed is higher than most untrained street peoples’ 100 percent. 

5. Increased Time Efficiency-Sprinting means all out, you cannot go all out for hours on end.  This makes sprinting very time efficient; that is why the volume of the program, at first glance, seems low.  Nasty, brutish and short, paraphrasing Thomas Hobbes, is all we need.

6. Increased Mental Toughness-Sprinting ain’t for the flaccid, it’s hard! Sprints hurt.  You will be in pain and question if it’s worth it  during these workouts, assuming you give 100 percent.  Persevere! You got this.  Focus on the pleasure you will achieve both physically and mentally by completing this program, not on the pain of the individual sessions.  Performance, health, aesthetics and vitality will prevail when you see this through.

7. Improve Heart Health, Circulation and Lung Function– Sprints, in some studies, show greater improved lung capacity compared to aerobic training protocols! Furthermore, sprint protocols have been shown to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and improve circulation.

8. Improved Brain Function & Depression Prevention-Almost all forms of exercise improve brain function; if this subject interests you, read the book “Spark: The Revolutionary Science of Exercise and the Brain”. Sprint training appears to be the Taj Mahal of exercises because it decreases inflammation in the brain, increases mobility, escalates energy levels, and improves hormonal balance.  

9. Build Stage Ready Muscles- “Old men have pancake asses because they don’t sprint!” quoting the legendary, Al Vermeil.  In bodybuilding, striated glutes are now the standard.  On the bikini stage, shows are won from the rear, and  don’t forget about the Chippendales stage, well-shaped butts drive the ladies nuts.  Sprints are unsurpassed in building the glutes, hamstrings, thighs and calves. You can do sit-ups til the cows come home but your abs will get taxed running at maximum speed (like the glutes hammys). But, remember, for these benefits you must give 100 percent and run at max speed—this is all while synergistically burning the fat that covers your hidden six pack and love handles.  Properly-programmed sprints will  simultaneously reduce body fat and  inflammation.

10. Defy Aging-Fast-twitch fibers—use ‘em or lose ‘em! Far too often, as folks age, they stop moving and only train on machines and sitting down.  No better way to use fast-twitch muscle fibers than sprinting! Besides, this sprint training can regenerate mitochondria.  Sprinting builds power and reaction time so you will more efficiently be able to react to a sucker punch at the high school reunion, make love like an earthquake, jump high, or catch a ball.  All typically abilities that fall faster than a drunk on a mountain bike as people age.

Need a program?  Try Speed Strong HERE.