Last time I talked about wind sprints…
I went into a few reasons why you need to add them to your plan. In case you didn’t read that one yet go check it out.
Now it’s time to give you what you need to start sprinting before, during or after your training sessions. It should go without saying that if your training sessions consist of long distance runs this might not be your cup of tea. On the other hand if you’re doing bodyweight circuits, kettlebells, resistance training or nothing at all, wind sprints are going to be right up your alley.
Usually I’m against adding things to a previously planned workout. Usually what happens is people, myself included, hear of something new and automatically think that it’s the magic fix to whatever their problem area is. Whether its fat loss, muscle gain or just plain athleticism your mind can play tricks on you and convince you that you need more.
So here is my warning…before you add wind sprints to your training plan take a look at what you’re already doing. Are you already spending more than 60 minutes on a training session? Are you spending more than a single second doing bis, tris, delts, calves or forearms? If I asked you how long you rested between sets would you only be able to answer “about a minute…I think.”
DO NOT add wind sprints to your training session if those answers sound familiar.
Seriously, don’t do. You’re already missing out on the basics of short and intense training sessions, training efficiency and effectively using rest to help you progress. By adding one more thing that you will need to manage you’re more likely to burn out and quit from mismanaging your training approach as a whole.
More is not better. Effective is better.
Now, IF what I wrote above is not an issue for you go right ahead and add in some wind sprints. You can do it on your off days or you can do it after your already scheduled training days, that part is up to you. The key is to understand you do not need to run yourself into the ground to make progress. Running 10-12 40yd dashes at 100% directly after working up to a heavy double on squats or deadlifts looks great on paper but it doesn’t pass the reality test. Use wind sprints to enhance your workout, not to make yourself so sore that you can’t make your next training session.
So here is the plan. Three days a week after your resistance session, or just whenever if it’s an off day, you’re going to sprint for a total of 6 minutes. That’s it.
It’s called interval training and I’m sure you’ve heard of it before. Some people like to feel hardcore and call it HIIT but it’s all the same. You run for a little bit, rest for a little bit and repeat. Too easy huh?
OK, the first thing you have to do is find place to run. It can be a basketball court, a track, football field or any other open area that has enough space to move. I prefer a track because it’s circular and it gives me the option of doing short intervals or long intervals seamlessly intermixed with my rest periods. If you have to use a treadmill just make sure you put the incline to at least 3 or 4 since you really don’t have to propel yourself forward like you would running on any other surface.
Now, if you are doing wind sprints as their own training session you need to warm up, if you’re doing them after a resistance session then you should be good but doing a quick mobility refresher won’t hurt. The warmup is where you get to do what you want, everyone has their own needs when it comes to preparing for a training session so make sure you are warm, loose and not just starting from nothing after sitting at a desk all day. That will get you hurt.
I personally like to jog 800m then go into knee hugs, figure 4s, lunge-twist, lunge-reach, pretzels and frankesteins at the very least (all of these are demonstrated on my youtube page for Average Joe to Alpha Male). If after the 800m jog I’m still feeling cold I’ll knock out 150-200 jumping jacks just to make sure my blood is flowing.
Now you’ve warmed up and are ready to sprint, but what do you do? Grab your watch (personal favorite here) or GymBoss and set the timer for 15 seconds on/45 seconds off. Sprint all out for 15 seconds and then rest/walk for 45 seconds. Repeat this four times and you’re already at one minute of sprinting. Next change the intervals to 30 seconds on/30 seconds off and repeat another 4 times. The last one is a doozy… 60 seconds on/60 seconds off done a total of three times. BOOM 6 minutes of sprinting in 10 minutes time.
A few random notes on wind sprints:
– 100% speed is not what you’re aiming for here. The only time you need to be above 90% effort is in competition. For these wind sprints aim for 80%-90% effort. You’ll get the same results and will be less likely to injure yourself.
– A lot of people think that stride length is the key to speed. It’s not. The amount of force you push off the ground with is the key to speed. Not surprisingly when you actually push off with a good amount of force all of the indicators of “perfect sprint form” will magically appear. Slight forward lean, high knees, full extended trail leg etc. all more or less come from just pushing off harder with each ground contact.
– The times are more or less suggestions. If you can get through what I wrote without a drop off in power then keep on keeping on. But if you find yourself struggling to finish 30s at 80% there is no need to try to push through 60s at 55% with crappy form. Train smarter not harder.
That’s the best way to include wind sprints into your training program if you haven’t done it already.