Get Fit Faster With 30-Second Sprints
If you want to get in shape faster, consider adding speed training to your schedule. The high intensity effort of a 30 second speed workout can provide impressive results. Speed workouts are great for people who don't have time for long, consistent resistance training, but want the same (or better) cardiovascular benefits.
While many exercise guidelines recommend up to 60 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week, most people are unable to exercise as much for a variety of reasons, including lack of time and results. If you're short on time but want to improve your heart health and overall fitness, running workouts may be the perfect solution.
Evidence shows that short-speed, high-intensity exercise improves aerobic capacity and endurance in about half the time than traditional resistance exercise.
Sprint Training Science
Speed training can be used effectively by both elite athletes and recreational athletes. A recent speed training study with cyclists showed greater improvements in performance in less time when using high intensity speed training instead of regular speed exercise.
These brief bouts of intense exercise (not unlike interval training) improve muscle health and performance compared to several weeks of traditional resistance training. The study results showed positive changes in metabolic markers such as K + concentrate (the amount of potassium in the blood) and lactate accumulation, which the researchers believe delayed fatigue and improved performance.
Other findings have shown that short, high-intensity exercise burns more calories than the same amount of moderate-level cardio.
Speed workouts can be done while running, swimming, biking, or just about any other cardiovascular exercise. The following precautions should be considered before adding speed training to your program.
- Safety: As this is a high intensity exercise, it is recommended to consult your doctor and review the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) before starting a speed training.
- Basic Fitness: It is also important to have a strong fitness foundation in the activity you are using for sprints. To build a foundation of fitness, follow the 10 percent rule and gradually increase your training volume.
- Frequency: Due to the intensity of these workouts, most athletes should not run more than three times a week.
- Muscle pain: Starting a sprinting program can be difficult or cause late-onset muscle aches if you haven't worked out long before. We recommend having 3-4 weeks of basic preparation before starting.
Step by Step Guide
Before speed training, be sure to complete a full warm-up. Injuries are more likely if your body is not properly prepared.
Do speed training routines three times a week. Allow at least a day or two of rest or other easy exercise between speed workouts.
- Heating. Before sprints, fully warm up with easy exercises for 5-10 minutes. Do the same exercise that you will use in your sprints.
- Sprint. Run your first sprint at about 60 percent full intensity. If you experience muscle stiffness or joint pain, stop and continue warming up.
- To recover. Recover for 2 minutes by slowing down to a comfortable pace, but keep moving. It can be an easy run or a hike, depending on your fitness level.
- Sprint. Run your next sprint at about 80 percent full intensity.
- To recover. Recover for 2 minutes.
- Sprint. Run the rest of your sprints at 100 percent maximum intensity or with full 30-second efforts. You should do your best for each one.
- To recover. Recover 2-4 minutes after each run to allow your breathing and heart rate to drop to the point where you can carry on a conversation without choking.
- Repeat. Repeat the sprint / recovery routine 4-8 times, depending on your level and ability. For your first workout, you will want to stop at 4 sprints. That is good. Try increasing to 8.
The goal is to do this exercise six times in two weeks and then do it again twice a week for maintenance for six to eight weeks before changing your workout. In the days after your sprint training, do easier runs of 20 to 30 minutes to help you recover but maintain your mileage.
If you liked the results, you can continue this routine for longer. But it is a good idea to vary your workouts every few months and throughout the year. Feel free to modify the routine to your liking; see for yourself what works best for you.
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