Can You Really Build Strength With Sprints?

Sprinting for Strength

Sprints are an exercise that you can do to accelerate fat burning without losing muscle size or strength.

If you want to improve your level of cardiovascular strength and overall conditioning, sprinting is the better option over those long drawn out 5km runs.

Benefits Of Sprint Training

Sprinting makes you work at 85% to 95% of your Maximum Heart Rate or MHR.

At this level, the workout becomes anaerobic because there is not enough time for oxygen to reach the muscles. Thus, carbohydrates become your primary fuel.

The explosive nature of sprints activates the thicker fast twitch fibres which is why sprinters have bigger, more muscular and powerful legs than distance runners.

Other benefits of sprint training are as follows:

1. Increase power and strength of your legs;
2. Improves agility and functionality;
3. Increases fat burning;
4. Increases VO2 Max;
5. Cuts down training time

Sprint Program For Strength Training

It is very important to have a thorough warm up before doing sprint training.

The exercise is so explosive, you may pull or tear a muscle in your hamstring, thigh or calf if you don’t warm up properly.

The light, short sprints function in the same way as dynamic stretching.

It activates the muscles and the Central Nervous System or CNS to get ready for the workload ahead.

1. Walk uphill or at a 5% incline for 5 minutes.
2. Light jog x 400m.
3. Light sprints ; 80% x 20m x 5 intervals.

You can add plyometric drills such as horizontal jumps, depth jumps or tuck jumps if you feel you are still not prepared to do sprints.

Workout Schedule:

Monday – Lower Body
Tuesday – Upper Body
Wednesday – Sprint Program “A”
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Lower Body
Saturday – Upper Body, Sprint Program “B”
Sunday – Rest

Sprint Program “A” – Short Sprints

• Sprint 1 – 85% x 60m
• Sprint 2 – 90% x 60m
• Sprint 3 – 95% x 60m
• Sprint 4 – 100% x 60m
• Sprint 5 – 100% x 60m
• Sprint 6 – 100% x 60m

Sprint Program “B” – Medium to Long Sprints

• Sprints 1 and 2 – 70% x 250m
• Sprints 3 and 4 – 75% x 200m
• Sprints 5 and 6 – 80% x 150m
• Sprints 7 to 10 – 85% x 100m


1. Rest 1 to 3 minutes between sprints.
2. Intensifier: Perform last 3 to 4 sprints on a hill.
3. Warm down by walking for 5 to 10 minutes.

Right after your warm down, do static stretches on your thighs, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hips, lower back and abdominal muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

Sprinting is a great way to ensure you are stripping away unwanted body fat while maintaining muscle size and strength.