<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://ct.pinterest.com/v3/?tid=f4de1632775725aa6fdc3fb6c132e778&amp;event=init&amp;noscript=1">
Fat Loss, Cardio

Should I Incorporate Sprints Into My Workout Routine?

By Shannon Cole on Sep 27, 2023 8:45:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


Running has never come naturally to me–I struggle aerobically, and it's been a long road perfecting my gait and running mechanics.

Through the years, I’ve learned to appreciate not just the slow-pace, steady runs, but sprints as well. There is a lot that goes into crafting well-executed sprints, but the payoff is well-worth it.

Generally, I think most people should be incorporating sprints into their workouts. Not only can you burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time, but you’re also developing significant power. Studies show that power, or the rate at which work is expended, is just as important when we age as overall strength.

Strength and power differ. Someone can lift something heavy, but another person who has the ability to lift heavy weights at a greater speed or force is considered more powerful. These elements of lifting require different ways of workout programming, and incorporating sprints into your routine can help someone develop more power. 

Those who want to improve their Olympic lifts, like the clean and jerk, the snatch, cleans, and the push jerk, can absolutely benefit from sprints. Though some would consider sprints aerobic training, there is crossover into lifting benefits as well. Improving power through sprint training can carry over into explosive lifts, while also benefiting endurance while lifting.  

Sprinting is also a great option for those who enjoy running and cardio, but don’t have more than 30 minutes to work out. You’ll get just as much–maybe even more–of a calorie-burn from a sprint workout than you would from a 45-minute, steady-state cardio session.

Even if your goals don’t align with the ones above, you should still consider adding sprints to your workout routine. They offer physiological and health benefits, including the possibility of improving body composition, reaction time, bone strength, cardiovascular function, stress reduction, and metabolism.

Who Shouldn’t Run Sprints?

There are select populations that should absolutely avoid sprints, at least temporarily.

If you have recently suffered from a lower body injury, you should absolutely not be doing sprints unless you are cleared by your doctor. Your goal during this time is regaining mobility and strength, not partaking in sprint intervals. Sprints can put a lot of pressure on the joints and surrounding musculature, so the last thing you should be doing is running at nearly 100% intensity. If you do, you are at a much greater risk of re-injuring yourself. 

Older adults should likely avoid sprints as well. I’m not saying that those over the age of 60 can’t do sprints, but depending on current level of activity, the amount of movement, power, mobility, and strength is probably lacking in these individuals. The main thing to consider with sprints is avoiding injury, and older adults who are not well-developed in other areas of fitness will likely sustain an injury if they jump into sprinting.

How To Program Sprints Into Your Workout Routine

Novices shouldn’t necessarily avoid sprints, but they must program their sprint workouts very carefully; even the most accomplished sprinters can overtrain or injure themselves if they don’t follow a comprehensive training program.

To start, you shouldn’t be including sprint intervals in your workouts more than 2 days a week. If you consider yourself new to running in general, you probably only need to start with 1 day a week. Along with one day of sprints, there should be at least 2 days of strength training dispersed throughout the week. Within these strength workouts, there should be cross-training exercises that are performed to improve movement capacity, mimic the mechanics of your stride, strengthen supportive lower-body musculature, and enhance overall stability. Additionally, you should be performing mobility exercises for 20 to 30 minutes, two days a week, to reduce the risk of joint tightness and injury.

Sprint intervals shouldn’t be long in duration. For someone new to sprinting, or if you haven’t completed sprints in a while, the workout shouldn’t be longer than 10 to 15 minutes. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s all you need starting off. And remember, the all-out effort for each sprint shouldn’t be longer than 10 seconds. Each sprint interval should be accompanied by 30 to 60 seconds of rest, depending on your level of fitness. If you need a little bit of extra time, that is totally fine!

Hopefully, you have learned something from this article, and can start incorporating sprints into your workout regimen soon!

How to Lose Fat in 3 Steps | Mind Pump

FREE Flat Tummy Guide


Free Resources

Everything You Need to Know to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Learn More

Shannon Cole

Shannon Cole is an ISSA certified personal trainer and lives in the Dallas area. She is a certified nutrition coach through NASM and NCI, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. After obtaining her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication she eventually gravitated to personal training, and hasn't turned back since. Her passion for athletics and fitness initially stemmed from her high school years playing golf, and her love for the sport still hasn't faded; her career goal is to obtain her Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certification and develop strength and conditioning programs for golfers. You can usually find her working out in her garage gym, or training for the next Spartan Race with her husband.

Read more from the Mind Pump Blog

Have a question for us?

Feel free to send us an inquiry and allow up to 24 hours for a response.

Contact Us