If You Want Ripped Abs,
Try Adding Sprints to Your Workout Routine!
If you really want ripped abs and a killer 6 pack, consider adding sprints to your workout routine.
Here's one sad fact about 6 pack abs... for the average person they are hard to get.
Now that doesn't mean you should give up. If it's truly a goal you want to achieve, then by all means-- Go For It!
If you looked across sports for the athletes with the lowest body fat percentages and the most ripped 6 packs, sprinters would have to be on the top of your list.
All sprinters have 6 packs, and it's no coincidence!
Sprinting burns calories faster than any other activity.
Think about this- the top sprinters run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds. At that pace they would run a mile in about 2 and a half minutes (160 seconds).
This is equivalent to about 50 calories burned per minute.
Just for comparison
sleeping burns about 1 calorie per minute
driving in heavy traffic burns about 2 calories per minute
walking slowly (2.5 mph) burns a little over 4 calories per minute
jogging at 5.0 mph burn about 10 calories per minute.
Adding Sprints can help you get ripped abs because sprinting has such a high intensity that it burns a ton of calories.
Hidden Benefits of how Sprinting can help you get Ripped Abs
There are 2 huge hidden benefits of sprinting besides burning tons of calories. Sprinting improves hormones and sky-rockets fat burning through EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
Sprinting can help to regulate your fat burning hormones, especially growth hormone. When you include high intensity anaerobic exercise in your fitness program, you will likely support ideal growth hormone levels.
In medicine growth hormone is sometimes referred to as "the fountain of youth", and it really is one of your body's main fat burning hormones.
In addition to growth hormone, sprinting or high intensity anaerobic exercise will increase insulin sensitivity. When you cells are more sensitive to the hormone insulin, you can better control your blood sugar, and this allows your body to more easily burn stored fat.
In addition to improving your fat burning hormones, sprinting burns a ton of calories through excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.
Don't get overwhelmed by that physiology term. Basically, when you perform vigorous exercise, it takes your body many minutes and sometimes hours to recover from the exercise.
In order to recover your body needs to take in more oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for fat burning, and following intense sprinting your body will burn more fat even after you stop working out.
This is just an example, but let's say that sitting and watching tv burns 2 calories per minute. After a good sprint workout, your body might burn 4 calories per minute for the next 2-24 hours. 2 hours is 120 minutes times an extra 2 calories per minute equals an additional 240 calories burned.
Some research on elite sprinters has shown that their metabolism can be raised even 24 hours after an intense sprint type workout.
24 hours is 1440 minutes. Imagine if your metabolism was 1 calorie higher each minute following an intense sprint workout-- that's an additional 1440 calories a day.
No wonder sprinters have ripped abs!
Now, just to give you more perspective, Olympic sprinters train 4-8 hours a day. There job is to workout all day, so I won't promise that adding in a few sprints will turn you into Tyson Gay or Carl Lewis.
But, you can take advantage of the benefits of sprinting to lose body fat and get ripped abs and a nice 6 pack.
Incorporating Sprints in your Workout Routine
Before including sprinting in your workouts, you must start slowly by jogging on a regular basis. You should have at least 1-2 months of general aerobic conditioning from jogging before beginning intense sprinting.
Aim to jog or run outside 3-4 times a week for 20-45 minutes for 1-2 months before beginning sprint training.
After you have a base level of conditioning...
Begin with short sprints of 40-50 meters at 75-85%.
Then, move to longer sprints of 75-100 meters at 75-85%.
Then, return to shorter distances 40-60 meters and increase the intensity to 85-100%.
Then, move up to 75-100 meters at 85-100% intensity.
Try wind sprints. Basically this technique involves sprinting a distance and then walking back to the start. When you get back to the start, your rest is over and you should start the second set.
4-12 wind sprints is plenty for a good sprinting workout. You can take longer rests every 2, 3, or 4 sprints.
Warm-up for 15-25 minutes and always cool-down after a sprint workout.
Because sprinting is intense, there is a high risk of injury.
Listen to your body. If you're achy, or your muscles don't feel right, decrease the intensity or skip the sprints on that day.
Okay, that's just a brief conversation on sprinting, but hopefully you can see how sprinting can help you to get a 6 pack and ripped abs.
Actually, any type of high intensity anaerobic exercise can help you to get ripped abs.
Jumping rope vigorously, spinning classes, total body weight lifting exercises like cleans and snatches, and just about any plyometric or jumping exercise can really speed up your metabolism.
If you want to look like an athlete with ripped abs and a killer 6 pack, you have to train like an athlete.
Add some sprints to your workout and watch the fat melt away!
Train hard, have fun, and get ripped!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles Former Boston University Sprinter
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