The following sprint workout can be done while running, swimming, cycling, or almost any other cardiovascular exercise.
Because this is a high-intensity exercise it is recommended that you check with your doctor and review the PAR-Q before beginning a sprint workout.
It's also important to have a strong base of fitness in the activity you are using for sprints. To build a base of fitness follow the 10 percent rule, and gradually increase your training volume.
Launching into a sprint program may be difficult or cause delayed onset muscle soreness if you haven't done much training prior to this workout. I recommend having about 3 to 4 weeks of base fitness before beginning.
Getting injured during a short, high-intense burst of exercise is possible if you aren't prepared with a thorough warm up.
Sprint Workout Step-by-Step
How Often? Perform sprint workout routines three times a week with plenty of rest between workouts. Because of the intensity of these workouts most athletes shouldn't do sprint work more than three times a week.
Warm up. Before sprints, warm up thoroughly with easy exercise for 5-10 minutes. Perform the same exercise you will be using for your sprints.
Sprint. Perform your first sprint at about 60 percent max intensity. If you feel any muscle tightness or joint pain, back off and continue to warm up.
Recover. Recover for 2 minutes by slowing to a comfortable pace, but keep moving. This can be an easy jog or a walk, depending upon your fitness.
Sprint. Perform your next sprint at about 80 percent max intensity.
Recover. Recover for 2 minutes.
Sprint. Perform the remainder of your sprints at 100 percent max intensity or all-out efforts of 30 seconds. You should be pushing yourself to the max for each one.
Recover. Recover for 2 to 4 minutes after each sprint to allow your breathing and heart rate to slow to the point that you can hold a conversation without gasping.
Repeat. Repeat the sprint/recovery routine 4-8 times depending upon your level and ability. For your first workout, you will want to stop at 4 sprints. That's fine. Try to build up to 8.
Workout Goal. The goal is to do this workout six times in two two weeks and then back off to twice a week for maintenance for six to eight weeks before you change your workout.
Rest and Recovery. Allow at least one to two days of rest or other easy exercise between sprint workouts.
If you like your results, you can continue longer. But it's a good idea to vary your routine every few months, and throughout the year. This type of workout is intense, and you may need to take a break and perform some longer slow workouts for a while. Feel free to modify the routine as you like; see for yourself what works best for you. Sprint training offers an option for those who don't have much time for exercise, but still want to improve their cardiovascular system. While this type of training is demanding and requires a high level of motivation, it can lead to dramatic improvements in a short period of time.