By Obi Obadike
Have you ever watched a track meet on TV and been amazed at how sculpted the sprinters are? Well, you don't get a body like that by just waking up and rolling out of bed in the morning. Those shredded physiques speak to the incredible fat-burning effects of sprint training and workouts. No wonder sprinting is gaining popularity among celebrities looking to stay in shape.
Sprinting is one of the most explosive exercises you can do. It's a complete, total-body workout -- targeting the butt, hips, hamstrings, quads, calves and abs -- that builds long, lean muscle. In fact, many professional athletes incorporate sprints into their training for that reason.
Sprinting also promotes fat loss and increases your metabolic rate for several days after the workout, a phenomenon known as the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. EPOC -- also known as "afterburn" -- allows you to continue burning calories long after the workout is over.
Sprinting is arguably the best way to tone your legs and butt without incorporating any resistance training. Don't get me wrong: Squats, lunges and hack squats are all great ways to train your legs, but sprinting is an excellent alternative. We all get bored sometimes, going to the gym every day and lifting the same weights over and over, and sprinting is a great way to change things up and get outside. All you need is a track or a flat, grassy surface.
You don't have to run sprints at top speed to obtain a quality workout. In fact, I always suggest doing sprint workouts at 75-percent speed or less, to avoid injury. Your body isn't conditioned to run full speed, and you don't want to pull a hamstring or groin muscle.
If you want to really push your body, add an extra cardio component to your sprints. I came up with a special workout that does just that. I call it Sprint Burpees. Sprint Burpees aren't easy to do, but they'll help you burn more calories, build lean muscle and increase your endurance. This weekly workout will burn a minimum of 500 to 700 calories:
Do eight 100-meter sprints at 50 to 60 percent of your top speed. After each sprint, walk back to the starting line and do 5 burpees before running the next sprint. (40 burpees total)
Repeat the Monday workout, but increase the number of 100-meter sprints to 10. (50 burpees total)
Repeat the workout, this time increasing to 12 100-meter sprints. (60 burpees total)