Do sprints to be healthier and lose fat without losing muscle. A new study shows that an effective short-sprint workout can be done in half the time required for an endurance running program, and it produces better results.
The new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology compared the effects of a 7-week short-sprint training program and an endurance program on various health markers and performance in a mile time trial. Participants were all recreational runners with equal health status. The sprint interval program took less than half the training time of the endurance running protocol, which consisted of three 8-km runs a week. The sprint program included 3 to 5 sets of short sprints (10, 20, or 30 seconds in length) at maximal speed.
Results showed that the short-sprint group increased maximal oxygen uptake by 5 percent, reduced systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg, and lowered LDL cholesterol by a clinically significant amount, whereas the endurance training group had no changes in any of these markers. In addition, the short-sprint group improved performance in a mile time trial by 6 percent whereas the endurance group had no change.
Researchers also measured markers of muscle adaptations to determine whether the programs produced an environment that was anabolic to build muscle, or catabolic to degrade muscle. The sprint program led to muscle protein synthesis, indicating that the high-intensity sprints caused an anabolic stimulus that will prevent loss of muscle tissue, which is particularly important if you want to lose fat but don’t want to lose hard earned muscle at the same time. In contrast, the endurance group produced muscle protein breakdown, indicating that muscle and lean tissue is being catabolized as a result of the endurance training.
Sprints are your best bet if you want to be healthier, be leaner, and improve performance. They go well with a strength training program since both call on the anaerobic energy system to produce a better body composition. Sprint training also produces adaptations that improve performance for activities that call on the aerobic energy systems, such as distance running, cycling, rowing, swimming, or soccer. Read more about the benefit of training the anaerobic energy system in Do Sprint Intervals to Lose Fat Fast and Be Lean for Summer.
Copyright ©2012 Charles Poliquin
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