What are Treadmill Sprint Workouts & Why Do Them?
Treadmill sprint workouts (a common HIIT cardio workout) are often avoided by most because…well…they hurt. In my experience, the workouts that hurt the most often generate the greatest reward. In this treadmill sprint workout I, Ryan The RaveRunner® Lange will show you a HIIT sprint training workout on the treadmill that is proven to be one of the best ways to burn fat and reduce injury rate. Later in this post, we will back up that last statement with cold-hard-facts. Let us first go through how to do this beast of a treadmill sprint workout.
Although this is a quick, 20 minute, treadmill sprint workout, it will certainly be a treadmill workout to lose fat. Here is how it goes.
- Set the treadmill at 0% incline and begin running at 40% your max speed for 2-minutes
- Once the timer hits 2-minutes, turn the incline up to 4% and the speed up to 90% your max speed
- Repeat this process 5 times. If you can only do 4,3,2, or even just 1, that is okay.
- Another way to make it easier is to walk during the 0% incline rounds. This will enable you to get more oxygen and recover faster.
Now that you have the routine down, let me really sell this treadmill sprint workout to you with the benefits and advantages you get from a treadmill sprint workout.
The key to success in this treadmill sprint workout is to hit 85%-95% of your max heart rate multiple times. This will boost your VO2 Max which is the main determining factor in an individual’s top speed. To give you a little bit more of a correlation between treadmill sprint workouts and your VO2 max, your (link: https://www.cnet.com/health/your-vo2-max-explained/ ) VO2 max refers to the amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. Essentially, it is a gauge of the aerobic endurance or cardiovascular fitness of an athlete. When you do sprint workouts on the treadmill, you push that vo2 max as high as it can go. What happens when you push your current limits in any situation? That’s right, they get higher. It is important to not get this confused with your heart rate or lactate threshold.
1. Best Way to Burn Fat
While we burn 100% carbohydrates at the 85%-95% heart rate range, when we STOP running (like right AFTER our treadmill sprint workout) our body will quickly conserve carbohydrates. In return, our body will turn on the fat burners. To back that statement up, this study shows that a 45-minute high-intensity workout will increase your metabolic rate for 14 hours. The workout tested in this study? Yeah, it was a treadmill sprint workout. The average individual in that study burned 200 extra calories (not including the sprinting on the treadmill itself) throughout the rest of that day. So, when someone tells you that HIIT treadmill sprints don’t actually burn fat, you can drop that knowledge on them and walk away from the conversation feeling like a boss.
2. Build a Stronger Stride
Your stride will ultimately determine your speed. The force you put on the ground to launch you further is what generates your speed. It is a common misconception that the faster you can reposition, or cycle, your legs determines your speed. Usain Bolt and the last-place finisher at the Thanksgiving day 5k can cycle their legs at the same speed. It’s the runner that applies greater force to the ground will be the winner of the run. By utilizing treadmill sprint intervals, you are strengthening the muscle groups that provide pressure to the ground.
3. Improved Running Economy
The term, “Running Economy,” is complex and is often confusing. Essentially, it measures how efficiently you use oxygen at a given running speed. To further explain, let’s take your current 1-mile pace. When you improve your running economy, your body will require less oxygen. Therefore, you can either run a faster 1-mile or run your previous 1-mile pace for a longer distance. A survey on various collegiate cross country teams confirms that those who incorporate uphill sprint interval workouts emerged victoriously.
4. Stronger Tendons
Treadmill sprint workouts involve pulling all of your weight very quickly. Your tendons account for ~50% of the energy force that moves your body forward while running. Think of your tendons as a slingshot. With a thicker rubber band, that slingshot will shoot much harder and faster. Stronger tendons will enable your muscles to work less. So, that leftover energy your muscles have will propel you to move faster and more efficiently. By pounding a treadmill sprint workout once a week, those tendons will form into some rock solid slingshots to propel you faster in whatever sport you find yourself playing.
5. Reduces Risk of Injury
Some people may use the excuse to not incorporate a treadmill sprint workout because it increases your chance of injury. Those people are wrong….if you stretch beforehand. With a HIIT treadmill workout, your muscles go through a fuller range of motion, which in turn improves flexibility. By stretching your legs further during a treadmill sprint workout, you are strengthening areas deeper in your muscle tissue. Those deeper muscles are often the ones that are injury-prone. A study by Stanford University also concluded that runners were less likely to require knee or hip replacement than non-runners. This is because those who do sprint interval training and other resistance training, have stronger bones, tendons, fascia, and even ligaments.
Now listen, please don’t get the wrong impression. I don’t enjoy ANY treadmill sprint workout, but we have to do them to become faster! Personally, I am not happy with how fast I am. Based on all the studies I have read and included in this post, it shows that pushing yourself in a treadmill sprint workout will undoubtedly make you into a faster athlete.