Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sprinting increases Power and Strength in the Gym

One of the incredible things about sprinting is the effect it has on you central nervous system in recruiting fast twitch muscle fiber, mainly the type IIB fibers. Those are the fibers that have the biggest potential to produce force. Simply put you can increase type IIB fiber activation by trying to move your body as fast as possible,. a.k.a, Sprinting; or you can lift something that is very heavy for you. One of the benefits I have noticed from my increased sprinting these days is an increase in strength in many of my gym lifts, such as presses, pull ups and front KB squats. With track season in full gear I have some track meets coming up, one at the end of April. I have been on the track only once or twice a week for the last month I can notice that the neural drive to my muscles is always increased after a fast sprint session.

Take home advice:

If you are stuck on a particular lift or feel weak, add a day or two of high intensity sprints to your training regime and you will increase your strength in the gym. Although if you are new to sprinting you must cautious in the beginning as sprinting is very taxing to the CNS. I would cut your gym volume back a bit if you plan on adding in some sprint days.

The following template would be a safe and effective place to start when beginning a sprinting program:

Monday = Sprint Session A
Full Body Joint Mobility
High Knees 3 sets of 10 yards
Butt Kickers 3 sets of 10 yards
Karioka's 3 sets of 50 yards each direction
and any bodyweight loosening drill that helps you feel loose and explosive

4 x 30 meters (1 minute recovery)
4 x 50 meters (2 minute recovery)

Remember that this is not a workout per are trying to spring as fast as possible so if you need to rest more between all means take more rest!!!

Friday = Sprint Session B
Same warm up as Monday

5 x 60 meters (As fast as possible - 3 to 5 minute recover between runs)

If you are not about to out and hit the track, try some of the following to increase fast twitch muscle activation:

Vertical Jumps onto a high Box
Standing Broad Jumps
Single Leg Plyo Hops

Get out there and use the Type IIB fibers. God gave you them for a reason!!!


Taikei Matsushita said...

Those drills remind me an off season football(American) training.
Very familiar.

I need take advantage of living next to a 100yds X 300yds recreational field.

Max Shank said...

very well said, many people underestimate sprinting it has so many benefits as well as being a powerful strength tool.

Franz Snideman said...

Taikei, yes, you need to get out there and do some sprints....what are you waiting for?

Franz Snideman said...


sprinting will just make athletes more explosive, period!

Do you do any sprints?

Mike Pellicio said...

Sprinting from soccer, especially in college, gave me a nice base when I began meaningful strength training. You've got it on the nose, Franz!

Franklin B. Herman said...

Since tearing up my left piriformis 15 years ago training for the Boston Marathon, I have had to give up all running. I used to run 100, 220 and 440 yard intervals and hills as large part of my training. It keep my upper body toned without any resistance training.

I REALLY miss it.

Franz Snideman said...


the bottome line is that SPRINTING rocks! Some of the world's best sprinters all have soccer backgrounds!

Franz Snideman said...


Bummer about the Piriformis issue. What type of therapy have you tried on it? Perhaps there is still hope for you in getting that part of your body to handle sprinting again.

Franklin B. Herman said...

I never had any specific physical therapy for my piriformis injury. It took at least 9 months to walk without pain. I tried getting back to running within the 1st year of the injury and developed a very sore lower back. This was chronic until I took up KB training and integrated it with Z-Health.

Long walks will still cause my left hip to get sore, so I'm going to hold off on any running. Fortunately, there are so many other ways to train strength and endurance to keep me challenged and motivated for a long time.

Mike T Nelson said...

Glad you are rocking the sprints Franz! I just started some basic sprint work a few months ago at the Z Health S Phase. Honestly it was the first time in my life that I really ENJOYED sprinting! Wow.

Do you think the increases in gym lifts are due to a CNS adaptation to recruit more muscle (as you mentioned) or from an increased work load (increased tissue turnover--replacing "old" tissue with newer "better" tissue)?

Rock on
Mike N