Training like a Sprinter


Why should we train like sprinters?

Have you ever seen an overweight or out of shape sprinter?
Your typical sprinter is lean and muscular to the point a number of them could probably do really well if they suddenly changed their careers to bodybuilding competitiors.


(pictured are Harry Aikines-Areyeetey a British 100m and 200m sprinter and Allyson Felix an American 100m sprinter)

How a sprinter trains

Obviously a sprinter, sprints! The benefit s of sprint training are huge as I’m sure you are aware but incase your not, Here they are:

• Great for fat loss
• Targets fast twitch muscles therefore improving lean muscle growth
• Improves endurance
• Improves Heart health
• Improves insulin sensitivity
• Improves circulation
• Plus it’s a time saver in comparison to long distance running

As you can see there are a lot of ‘improves’ in that list, so get yourself to your nearest hill and get sprinting if you want to burn fat and improve your health. What else do they do? Well…. Weight Training and generally heavy at that! But why?

Sprinting is all about converting your power through your hip, legs and feet to create acceleration, the upper body also aids in the production of power and pace to hence the Upper body mass of male sprinters . Weightlighting/powerlifting use the same principles but instead of creating speed your using your power to move an object from A to B. More muscle means more power which means your going to generate more force and move quicker.

The benefits of resistance/weight training are again widely known but just to reiterate I’ll write you a list:

• Reduces risk of diabetes and insulin needs.
• Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Lower high blood pressure.
• Lowers risk of breast cancer – reduces high estrogen levels linked to the disease.
• Decreases or minimizes risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass.
• Reduces symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
• Reduces stress and anxiety.
• Decreases colds and illness.
• Increases Muscle strength, endurance, size and power
Look at the health benefits! Strength training should be part of any health conscience persons routine. Especially you women who claim it will make you bulky IT WONT!

Example of a sprinters training

(Track workout designed by Monte Stratton, coach of multiple Olympic sprinters.)
• Monday (10am): Track work: speed-endurance (300m, 200m, 100m)
• Monday (2pm): Upper body strength training
• Tuesday (10am): Track work: block starts (2 x 10m, 2 x 20m, 2 x 30m, 1 x 50m) or speed work
• Tuesday (2pm): Lower body quad dominant strength training (squats, knee flexors, hip flexors)
• Wednesday: Soft Tissue therapy/ Massage
• Thursday (10am): Track work: speed day (5 x 60m) or (4 x 90m) or (3 x 120m) w/ 10 minute rest interval
• Thursday (2pm): Upper body strength training
• Friday (10am): Track work: speed endurance (3 x 150m) or (4 x 120m) or (180m, 150m, 120m)
• Friday (2pm): Lower body hip dominant strength training (deadlifts, split squats, hip flexors)

In terms of bodybuilding this program is split upper and lower, that could be to make sure the sprinters are recovering as much as possible between sessions, so I don’t see why you couldn’t train full body, push + pull or keep it the same! whichever suit you and your schedule best.

See Below for videos of British Sprinter Harry Aikines-Areyeetey training



How can you train like of a sprinter

Lets assume you have a job and a social life, you wont have the time to train like a elite level sprinter. You haven’t got the time or resources, but you can do your best to mimic it.

A good place to start would be to follow a STARTING STRENGTH Program. I’d Advise training 3-4 times a week alternating the sessions put together here – In this program you are concentrating on Compound movements (full body) to increase your strength.

As for Sprinting, 1 or 2 times a week should be enough. Try:

10 x 30 second sprints with 90 seconds rest in between.

Joe Neill
Personal trainer @ Liverpool Personal Training studios
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About Author

I am an ex-professional athlete & personal trainer based in No Limits Strength & Conditioning Gym in Liverpool I have the first-hand experience of first class training and nutrition. I can build a program to suit your goals and needs, teaching you everything you need to make that transformation. A keen interest in Nutrition and exercise has led to me to enrolling on Exercise and Sport Science Degree which allows me to bring advanced and ground breaking methods into practice. Whether you’re interested in muscle gain, fat loss or performance I have proven strategies to produce continual progress with my clients.