If you are looking to improve your physical conditioning, sprint training is one of the best cardiovascular and muscle building exercises. Many individuals prefer sprint training because it takes less time than traditional cardio exercises that have you running on a treadmill for thirty to sixty minutes, still consumes a large amount of calories, and utilizes energy burst training that has shown to provide better cardiovascular health.
The benefits of sprint training include:
- Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption
- Metabolic Adaptations
- Phosphate Metabolism
- Intramuscluar Buffering Capacity
Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)
One of the biggest benefits you will get from sprinting is the EPOC effects it creates. This is where the body will continue to burn calories after the finishing the fitness workout routine to bring the body back to its former state of rest.
EPOC is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity. The extra oxygen is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, and anabolism. It also is accompanied by an elevated consumption of fuel, and some studies found that included an elevated consumption of fat.
When you perform a number of sprint training workouts, the body increases its ability to produce enzymes that are going to work at increasing the storage capacity of the muscle for energy substrates such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a multifunctional nucleotide (molecules which comprise the structural units of RNA and DNA), and is most important in cell biology as a coenzyme that is the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer. In this role, ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.
Increase muscle energy storage capacity then has the corresponding effect of enabling harder and longer workouts before fatigue sets in. This is particularly noticeable in intense aerobic workouts that require large oxygen utilization.
The next benefit you will get with sprint training is the effect of phosphate metabolism. Phosphate creating stores comprise a major component of the body's fuel source for muscular activity. Increasing this storage capacity will improve your body's ability to breakdown fat for better energy consumption and encourages weight loss.
Myokinase is an enzyme that is responsible for resynthesizing the energy from phosphate creatine, and with sprint training, it will increase its concentration within the muscle tissue.
The next adaptation that will occur after you have been doing sprint training for a period of time is that of glycolysis. This is the primary form of metabolism used during a ten second all out wind sprint and contributes between 55 and 75% towards energy production during exercise.
Phosphofructokinase (PFK), and enzyme that catalyses of phosphorylation of the glycolytic intermediate fructose phosphate, has also been show to increase during sprint training along with lactate dehydrogenase and glycogen phosphorylase. PFK is is important in regulating the process of breaking down simple sugar glucose within the body that produces more energy.
Intramusclar Buffering Capacity
Finally, the last adaptation that is seen with sprint training is the buffering capacity of the muscle. During glycoglysis, various byproducts are created such as lactic acid, and when these accumulate, it causes the extreme feelings of fatigue in the muscle tissues. This then forces you to stop exercising as the fatigue sets in and often will be the end of your workout.
Overtime, sprint training will increase your ability to buffer these byproducts so that you can then workout for a longer period of time while maintaining that intensity.
So the next time you are debating about whether to do a sprint training session or a moderate paced cardiovascular session lasting for 40 minutes, opt for the sprint session. The benefits you will receive are far more numerous and fat loss will be kicked up a notch as an added benefit.
Keep in mind that for these types of benefits to occur, you want your sprints to last somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 40 seconds, followed by a 40 to 90 second rest period. Repeat this process a total of six to eight times and begin and end with a five minute dynamic warm-up and cool-down.
For more cardiovascular and weight training technique, go to No Nonsense Muscle Building.
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