What Are the Different Types of Sprints? A Comprehensive Guide for Sprinters
Sprinting is a popular form of exercise that involves running as fast as possible over a short distance.
It is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, and burn fat. Sprints are also a key component of many sports, including track and field, football, basketball, and soccer.
However, not all sprints are created equal.
In this article, we will explore the different types of sprints and their benefits so you can learn how to sprint faster!
What This Article Will Cover:
- Short Sprints
- Long Sprints
- Hill Sprints
- Interval Sprints
- Resisted Sprints
What Are the Different Types of Sprints?
There are a variety of different sprints that you can do to get faster, improve fitness, and get a great workout.
Short sprints are the most authentic, most common type of sprinting. Because sprinting requires maximal effort and high speeds, most people can only sprint for a short distance.
They typically range from 10 to 100 meters in length and are used to build explosive speed, speed endurance, and power output.
Short sprints can be performed on a track, field, or flat surface. What surface is best for sprinting will depend on your goals, injury history, and facility access.
Example Short Sprint Workouts:
- 3x10m, 3x20m 3x30m with 2-3 minutes rest.
- 4x50m with 6 minutes rest.
- 3x90m with 8 minutes of rest.
Long sprints are used to develop speed endurance, specific endurance for longer sprint events, or for anyone looking to perform a very intense workout. These can be as short as 100 meters or as long as 500 to 600 meters depending on the type of athlete and their ability level.
You should only perform long sprints if you have already built up a good work capacity with shorter distance sprints. That way, you can ensure you have a high-quality workout and stay injury-free.
Long sprints can help develop lactate tolerance, which makes them helpful in developing sprinters who compete in the 200-meter or 400-meter dash, as well as 800-meter runners and long-distance runners.
Example Long Sprint Workouts:
- 3x120m with 12 minutes rest.
- 1x300m, 1x250m with 15 minutes rest.
- 2x2x150m with 2 minutes between sprints and 15 minutes between sets.
These sprints involve using external weights or equipment to add resistance to your sprints. Here are a few examples of popular resisted sprints:
- Sled Pulls: This involves attaching a weighted sled behind you and sprinting while pulling the sled along. Sled pulls are excellent for building leg strength and power, as well as improving your sprint technique.
- Sled Pushes: This involves pushing a weighted sled in front of you while sprinting. Sled pushes are great for building upper body, leg, and power.
- 1080 Sprint: This piece of equipment allows you to perform resisted sprints while also measuring your performance metrics, such as acceleration, top speed, and power output. The 1080 Sprint is a popular tool athletes, and trainers use to improve speed and power.
- Exer-Genie: This is a portable resistance training device that allows you to perform resisted sprints and other resistance exercises. The Exer-Genie applies constant resistance, making it is a versatile tool that can be used to target different muscle groups and improve overall strength and power while sprinting.
Adding resisted sprints to your workout routine can help you break through plateaus and challenge your muscles differently.
Hill sprints are a variation of sprinting that involves running up a steep hill. Hill sprints can be helpful for developing acceleration, strength endurance, and lactate tolerance.
These sprints are excellent for building leg strength, endurance, and power. Incline sprinting is particularly effective at developing the calves, quadriceps, hip flexors, and foot muscles. By getting stronger in these areas, hill sprints can help you sprint faster.
Hill sprints also burn more calories than regular sprints due to the incline. Since you have to work harder to overcome gravity when sprinting up a hill, hill sprints are an excellent way to burn fat quickly.
Hill sprints are usually safer than flat sprints as they do not stress your hamstrings as much. This makes hill sprints an excellent option for beginners to start sprinting without getting injured.
Examples of hill sprints include:
- 6x20m sprints up a steep incline
- 5x50m sprints up a moderate incline.
- 4x150m sprints up a slight incline.
Stair sprints involve running up a flight of stairs as fast as possible. Like hill sprints, sprinting up stairs is a great way to build leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, and explosive power.
Interval sprints involve alternating between periods of high-intensity sprinting and low-intensity rest or recovery. These sprints are excellent for building cardiovascular endurance, burning fat, and improving overall fitness levels.
Examples of interval sprints include:
- 8x30 seconds sprint, 90 seconds rest.
- 6x150m at 75% effort with a 50-meter walk between sprints.
- Short sprints (10-100 meters) are ideal for building explosive speed and power.
- Long sprints (100-500 meters) are great for building endurance and maintaining a high level of speed.
- Hill sprints are great for building leg strength, endurance, and power.
- Stair sprints involve running up a flight of stairs and are excellent for building leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, and explosive power.
- Interval sprints involve alternating between periods of high-intensity sprinting and low-intensity rest or recovery and are great for building cardiovascular endurance, burning fat, and improving overall fitness levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sprints better than long-distance running?
It depends on your fitness goals. Sprints are great for building explosive speed and power. At the same time, long-distance running is ideal for building endurance and improving overall fitness levels.
How often should I do sprints?
How often you sprint depends on your ability level, goals, and ability to recover between workouts.
It is recommended to do sprints 1-2 times per week and to give your body adequate time to recover in between sessions. Sprinting too often can lead to both chronic and acute injuries, while sprinting infrequently will limit your progress.
Most elite sprinters will sprint 2 to 4 times per week, and recreational athletes will max out around 3 sprint workouts per week.
Can anyone do sprints?
Anyone can make sprints, but it is vital to start with shorter distances and gradually increase intensity and duration as you build endurance and strength. Check out my article on sprinting for beginners to learn more.
Sprinting is an excellent form of exercise that can help you improve your cardiovascular health, build muscle, and burn fat.
By incorporating different types of sprints into your workout routine, you can target other muscle groups, build endurance, and improve your overall fitness level.
Whether you prefer short sprints, hill sprints, or interval sprints, there is a sprinting variation that can help you achieve your fitness goals.
So, what are you waiting for? Lace-up your running shoes and start sprinting today!