Blow Past Your PR With Sprints

Want to add some sprints to your workout? They have myriad benefits. Many people do them to lose fat and build muscle as sprinting has a positive impact on human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and testosterone levels in the body. But they can also help improve other fitness markers as well, such as endurance, peak power and VO2 max. Not surprisingly, you’ll need to do a little work to get in shape to sprint. Start with some moves for mobility, stability and power, coupled with a sprinting program that you can advance as you build speed and stamina.

Before you begin
Before you start sprinting, build a solid aerobic base. If you’re a beginner, you may need to allow three to four weeks to advance. If you’re not accustomed to running, you may want to start building your aerobic base on the stationary bike or a rowing machine. Don’t plan on running sprints if you have limited range of motion or asymmetry in your ankles, knees or hips.Plan on your sprint sessions lasting 10 minutes, up to 30 minutes. You can train using the “work to rest” method, alternating set times for work and rest intervals – or you can use a heart monitor to sprint until you reach your target heart rate, and then rest to recover to 50 or 60 percent of your max heart rate.Begin with these movements for mobility, stability and power.

Seated Arm Sprints

DURATION PER SET: 10-30 sec (build up time each week as form and endurance improve)
SETS: 2-3

Wall High Knees

DURATION PER SET: 3-5 each leg
SETS: 2-3

Lateral Leg Swings

DURATION PER SET: 8-10 each leg
SETS: 2-3 each leg

Bridge Kicks

DURATION PER SET: 8-10 each leg
SETS: 2-3 each leg

Running Mountain Climbers

DURATION PER SET: 4 per variation
SETS: 1-2 sets per variation

A. Straight on: as above.

B. Diagonal to each hand: Perform a standard mountain climber, but bring your right knee toward your opposite (left) elbow. Then bring your left knee toward your right elbow while extending your right leg back. Continue alternating leg until you reach the designated rep count.

C. Straight on again: as above.

D. Springing Mountain Climber: Begin as for a standard mountain climber, but switch your legs in mid-air and make sure your feet land near your hands on each repetition.

Reclining Russian Twists

DURATION PER SET: 8-10 each side
SETS: 2-3

Shuttle Runs

Hit the basketball court for the sprint portion of your workout. Here’s one set:

You can follow this guide to progress your shuttle run workout to increase the work interval and decrease the rest interval.


When your work level is intense, your work period will be shorter and your rest period will be longer. If you’re working for a longer period, your intensity will be lower and therefore your rest interval will be shorter than your work period. You can progress your workout by

increasing your work time, cutting your rest time, doing more sets, increasing the distance or targeting a higher heart rate.

This workout is demonstrated by Nik Herold, 24 Hour Fitness Regional Educator.