Sprint Your Butt Into Amazing Shape
Have you ever seen a sprinter’s body? O! M! G! When people think of sprinters, I think most people generally think of runners – but there is a HUGE difference in the two sports AND their physiques.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Let’s just compare the two body types. Because sprinting requires strength and power, training like a sprinter develops very muscular, yet very lean, legs. Sprinters leap, jump, explode, lunge and squat their legs into the powerful machines they are.
Since plyometric exercises also burn serious calories, sprinters tend to be very lean so you can clearly see their sculpted muscles. Although many sprinters may never lift a weight, and just use their own body weight in explosive movements like box jumps, many sprinters use powerful functional weight training exercises like the Snatch or a Clean and Press to increase strength.
Running, on the other hand, trains primarily the slow twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch muscle fibers are more efficient and take a while to fatigue. Fast twitch muscle is for power and fatigues quickly. The different muscle fibers also look different too. For example, let’s look at a chicken. A chicken’s legs are primarily made up of slow twitch muscles (dark meat) because they are on them most of the day. Since they rarely fly, they only need strength to fly in short bursts. That’s why most of their fast twitch muscle is in their upper body (white meat). Like a chicken, runners can have thin “chicken legs” because they too are using their legs for long periods of time. Since the sport of running requires little to no upper body strength, runners often have thin upper and lower bodies (pictured left). Of course the less they weigh, the easier it is to take their bodies for long distances.
Look at the contrast between athletes. You can see the serious muscular development in the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings (pictured right) – but also look at the difference in their upper body too. The sprinters’ entire bodies look extremely powerful, curvy and lean. Don’t get me wrong – if you are going for skinny/model look, a runner’s body is just fine. However, I personally prefer a fit look and love to see muscle both in the upper body and lower body – and especially a nice BUTT! 🙂
Train Like a Sprinter
So what can YOU do to get a sprinter’s body? Most people are born with a balance of roughly 50% slow twitch and 50% fast twitch fibers. However, marathon runners can have 80% slow twitch fibers and sprinters can have 80% fast twitch fibers. This means, you can choose to train the types of fibers you want to develop.
If you like the way a sprinter looks, trade your mild power walk or jogs on a treadmill for plyometric training a sprinter would use. Not only will you become more cardiovascularly powerful, as plyometrics will get your heart racing like no other exercise, you will melt the fat and sculpt beautiful legs and glutes. Here are a few moves you can use on the same old treadmill to get sculpt the sprinter legs. (video coming out this fall!)
Conditioning exercises include plyometrics and functional movements (like the exercises in our BCx Boot Camp at FitStudio), meaning they are similar to things we do every day like squatting down to pick up something, walking up the stairs or jumping over a puddle of water. Try implementing some of these exercises in your regular routine.
Run Up Hill – Sprint UP hill and walk down hill (or flat on a treadmill)
Run Stairs – Run as many stairs as you can, walk down stairs and repeat (can also use stairclimber)
Elliptical Training – increase resistance during sprints, decrease resistance and slow pace during rest
Sprint Intervals – Sprinting for 150 meters, then walking until you can sprint again
Overhead Walking Lunges (100 meter X 3)
Elbow to Instep Walking Lunge
Standing Long Jump
Skip Bounds (for height), swinging arms to assist your lift (100 meter X 3)
Alternating Bounds (big leaps for distance) (100 meter X 3)
Straight Leg Bounds
Here are a few staple weight training exercises. If you are already lifting weights, work on lifting heavy and powerful – explosive on the push or pull, slow and controlled on the way down. This will develop nice round shapely muscle while the conditioning exercises will help melt the fat as well as develop the slow twitch muscle fibers.
UPPER BODY (featuring how-to videos from FitStudio‘s Scott Herman)
Dumbbell Bench Press
Pull-Ups (great video by Scott on how to do a beginner pull up)
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Posted on September 27, 2011, in Exercise & Training and tagged fast twitch muscle, fast twitch vs slow twitch, muscle fibers, sculpting muscle, slow twitch muscle, sprinter, sprinter's physiques, sprinting vs running, training for power, workout program for sprinters. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.