High speed running (sprinting) involves two phases: acceleration and max velocity. The ability to accelerate and reach highest velocity possible in shortest time is determined by mechanical components of neuromuscular system. Sprinting is a full body workout. Everything from the neck down needs to be tight, engaged, activated, and primed. Apart from speed, there are a few key differences between sprinting and jogging.
Jogging is a controlled fall. What I mean by that is there isn’t a significant propulsion forward and if you’re jogging on a treadmill, propulsion is even less. A jogging torso is upright, relaxed, arms swinging, but not creating enough momentum to affect speed or balance. The purpose of jogging is to sustain an elevated heart rate. Jogging is classified as low intensity and great for cardiovascular health and blood circulation. It places a low excitation on the nervous system, making it an ideal exercise for everyday use, provided form is decent with minimal heel striking and neutral posture.
Why isn’t sprinting used more often in personal training? Injury, impact, and intensity. Sprinting is an exercise involving submaximal loads at maximum intensity. It’s also posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, calves) dominant. Most people are anterior chain dominant (quads, chest, abs, hip flexors), making sprinting a hamstring injury waiting to happen. This can be avoided.
How to Use Sprints (how to minimize injury)
- Warm up, Warm up, Warm up
- 20-30 yards is all you need, use the same distance to decelerate.
- Work up to 90% effort
- Allow for full recovery in between sprints
- Uphill is best, flat is fine, never downhill
Hamstring strains are very common in sprinting. It is a testament to the force being produced during hip extension in the propulsion phase. The glutes are the main hip extensors, but they are prone to inhibition especially after sitting, and need a lot of activation prior to an activity in order to contribute. Donkey kick
Sprinting over 40 yards=injury. Maximal velocity is reached within 20 yards, max velocity can be maintained for 10 yards. Sprinting for longer distances than this results in decreased force, velocity, form, phosphagen system energy use and increases hamstring strains.
The idea of capping sprinting efforts at 90% comes from the cost:benefit ratio. What’s that extra 10% effort getting you? A hamstring strain.
You just ran a 30 yard sprint, accelerated the whole length, if you did reach maximal speed it was juuuuuust at the end, and have since decelerated over an additional 30 yards. Now jog (no walking) 60 yards back to your original spot and wait another minute. If you don’t, the exercise changes. Not in a bad way, it just becomes something different than what you intended on. Working under fatigue allows for more cardiovascular training adaptations. Allowing full recovery is better suited for decreasing injury rate.
Without further adieu…
No Equipment Workout #9
1 minute each
Elbow to knee pillow holds (30 sec/side)
Elbows to hands
Donkey kicks (30 sec/side), rest 15 sec and repeat
75 push ups in as few sets as possible
Eight 30 yard sprints, 30 yard deceleration, jog back, 1 min in between