The Most Effective Bodyweight Exercise You Can Do
Sprints. Quite simply, they rule. In fact, I'd call them the most effective 'bodyweight' exercise you can do.
Even if you hate them, they love you. Trust me.
Sprints burn fat, build muscle, develop functional power, improve athleticism and increase overall & core strength.
Yep, and no equipment needed. It's so cool to me how some of the best exercises are the simplest.
Ultimately, sprints are a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training). HIIT is a buzzword that generates lots of $$ nowadays. But your good old basic sprint, well, it's actually the ultimate HIIT exercise.
A study from Nicholas Russo of RunRepeat performed a meta-analysis of over 70 scientific studies comparing sprint interval training and conventional HIIT. He found that sprints burned 39.6% more fat while spending 60% less time.
Whoa. You're starting to like 'em even more now aren't you?
If I haven't sold you yet, sprinting screams intensity. (Don't be intimidated, sprinting can translate to any fitness level.)
In proper form, it forces you to use your entire body: upper posterior, pecs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves, to name few. Your arms have to move with power and coordination with your legs to enable your foot to drive into the ground with maximal force with each step.
Meanwhile, your core links your upper and lower halves to create this maximal power while withstanding unwanted extension, rotation, and lateral flexion.
No wonder why sprinting produces great results.
But wait, there's more!
Sprinting also works wonders in creating positive hormonal response. It increases protein synthesis, boosts testosterone, spikes HGH production, and improves insulin sensitivity.
With all that being said, don’t pull a hammy straight out of the blocks. Make sure you properly warm up, build your intensity and distance slowly, and rest as needed.
And make sure it's done as part of a comprehensive training program that is built for YOU, YOUR body and YOUR goals (we know of a good resource to help you do just that!).
Tony Muyco, III, NSCA, CSCS
Director of Training
Functional Elements Training & Nutrition