Achieve Your Fitness Goals Faster with Sprint Exercise Training


For individuals who don’t have time for a full workout, could incorporating sprint exercise training be an option to improve their cardiovascular and overall health?

Sprint Exercise Training

Most think of running when they hear the word sprinting. However, sprinting can be performed in any aerobic activity, whether swimming, cycling, rollerblading, or exercising on an elliptical machine. Sprint exercise training means varying the intensity levels of the activity. It is also known as sprint interval training or speed drills. It targets cardiovascular endurance and is suitable for all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced. This type of training is demanding and requires high motivation, but it can lead to significant improvements and help achieve fitness goals faster.

Sprint workouts are a time saver. Many exercise guidelines recommend up to 60 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times a week; however, many people don’t have the time. Studies have shown that short, high-intensity sprint exercise training improves aerobic capacity and endurance in half the time of traditional endurance exercise. Sprint exercise training burns calories, improves cardiovascular health, builds muscle, and increases speed and power. Sprint workouts are great for individuals who lack time for traditional steady endurance exercise but want to improve cardiovascular health. (Vollaard, N. B. J., and Metcalfe, R. S. 2017) Adding them to a workout routine can take training to a new level.


The key to sprint training is performing an activity at a certain percentage of all-out effort to increase heart rate. Sprint exercise training is recommended three times a week, with at least one to two days of rest or other easy exercises between sprint workouts. How to do.


  • Warm up with easy exercise for five to 10 minutes.
  • Slowly perform the exercise that will be done for the sprints to prepare the body for the intense sprint.

Do the First Sprint

  • Perform the first sprint at around 60% intensity.
  • Slow down and continue warming up if there is muscle tightness or joint pain.


  • Recover for four minutes by slowing to a comfortable pace, but continue moving.

Do the Second Sprint

  • Perform the next sprint at 80% max intensity.


  • Rest for four minutes.

Do the Third Sprint

  • Perform the remainder of the sprints at 100% intensity or all-out efforts for 30 seconds.
  • Push to the maximum for each exercise.


  • Recover for four minutes after each sprint to slow down breathing and heart rate, and can hold a conversation without gasping.


  • Repeat the sprint/recovery routine four to eight times, depending on fitness level and ability.
  • For the first workout, stop at four sprints.
  • Gradually build up to eight.


Sprint exercise training enhances endurance performance and can be effectively used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals who want to improve their fitness and health. (Litleskare, S. et al., 2020) In one study, participants who completed eight weeks of sprint training saw improvements in maximal oxygen uptake or VO2 max. The test is one way to measure cardiovascular fitness. (Litleskare, S. et al., 2020) These short bursts of intense exercise improve muscle health and performance comparable to several weeks of traditional training. (Gunnarsson, T. P. et al., 2013) Other studies have found that short, high-intensity exercise burns more calories than the same amount of moderate-level cardiovascular exercise. (Vollaard, N. B. J., and Metcalfe, R. S. 2017)


There are different ways to structure a sprinting routine, and different fitness goals will determine the intensity, duration, and number of sprints that should be performed.


Those new to sprinting should start slow, as overdoing it can lead to injury. Work on building up a base level of fitness before introducing sprinting into an exercise routine. Start with one set of four sprint/rest cycles when trying sprints. As fitness goals are achieved, add more sprints to each set or different sprints.


Once a sprinting exercise routine is begun, it may only be a few weeks before one is ready to advance to an intermediate level. Try increasing the number of sprints at different intensity levels. However, avoid sprint exercises too often weekly as the body needs adequate rest.


Advanced athletes can intensify the routine by increasing intensity and adding reps. One way is by adding resistance. For example, for those running or cycling, try sprinting hills, or if rollerblading, try wearing wrist and ankle weights to increase the load. Swimmers can use strength-building techniques to focus on specific body areas or add resistance. The intensity of any sprinting activity can be intensified by wearing a weighted vest.

Beginner Errors

A few common starting mistakes include going too hard, advancing too quickly, and doing too many for too long. Sprints are not meant to replace moderate-intensity exercise. The goal is to modulate the intensity of aerobic activities. A study showed that not getting enough rest between sprints led to an inability to perform as well during sprinting. (Selmi, M. A. et al., 2016)


Sprint workouts can be done with running, swimming, cycling, or other aerobic cardiovascular exercises. The following precautions should be considered before adding sprint training to a workout schedule:


  • Because sprinting is a high-intensity exercise, it is recommended that individuals consult with a healthcare professional and review the physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q) before beginning a sprint training workout.

Base Fitness

  • A strong fitness base in the sprint activity is also important.
  • To build a fitness base, follow the 10% rule and gradually increase training volume.


  • Because of the intensity, sprint workouts should not be done more than three times a week.

Muscle Soreness

  • Launching into a sprint program can cause delayed-onset muscle soreness.
  • Experts recommend having about three to four weeks of base fitness before beginning.
  • Injuries are more likely if the body isn’t properly prepared.

The goal is to do a sprint workout six times in two weeks, then only perform 2 times a week for maintenance for six to eight weeks before changing the workout. On the days following a sprint workout, aim for 20–30 minutes of the same aerobic activity at an easier pace to help recover but maintain results. If pleased with the results, continue with the routine longer, but it is recommended to vary the workouts every few months and throughout the year. Modify the routine to find what works best.

Military Training and Chiropractic Care: Maximizing Performance


Vollaard, N. B. J., & Metcalfe, R. S. (2017). Research into the Health Benefits of Sprint Interval Training Should Focus on Protocols with Fewer and Shorter Sprints. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 47(12), 2443–2451.

Litleskare, S., Enoksen, E., Sandvei, M., Støen, L., Stensrud, T., Johansen, E., & Jensen, J. (2020). Sprint Interval Running and Continuous Running Produce Training Specific Adaptations, Despite a Similar Improvement of Aerobic Endurance Capacity-A Randomized Trial of Healthy Adults. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(11), 3865.

Gunnarsson, T. P., Christensen, P. M., Thomassen, M., Nielsen, L. R., & Bangsbo, J. (2013). Effect of intensified training on muscle ion kinetics, fatigue development, and repeated short-term performance in endurance-trained cyclists. American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology, 305(7), R811–R821.

Selmi, M. A., Haj, S. R., Haj, Y. M., Moalla, W., & Elloumi, M. (2016). Effect of between-set recovery durations on repeated sprint ability in young soccer players. Biology of sport, 33(2), 165–172.

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The information herein on "Achieve Your Fitness Goals Faster with Sprint Exercise Training" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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