Should you be sprinting this weekend?

Looks like the answer is “yes.” But that’s okay for me. Sprinting on my bike is one of my favorite things. (Hills, not so much.)

  1. “Well, if you want to increase metabolic response, accrue lean muscle mass, gain speed and quickness, enhance rotational power, jump higher, lift heavier, dominate life and sports and have a greater chance of surviving a shot at running with the bulls, then YES, you should be sprinting!” That’s Kyle Arsenault at Fitocracy. Read more, especially about getting ready to sprint, here.
  2. “Scientists in Australia claim to have discovered the exercise technique that burns the maximum amount of fat with the least amount of work. Participants in the study put in three 20-minute stints on an exercise bike per week for 12 weeks. During the sessions, they would repeatedly sprint for eight seconds, then pedal slowly for 12. The researchers claim that the subjects lost as much weight with this single hour of exercise per week as they would have with five to seven hours of jogging. The group explained the results as such: Fast sprinting caused the body to release high levels of a specific group of hormones, called catecholamines, which drive the release of fat, especially abdominal and visceral fat, from fat stores so it can be burned by working muscles. ‘We don’t know why, but moving limbs very fast generates high levels of catecholamine,” Dr Boutcher, whose findings are published in the Journal of Obesity, said. Sprinting for eight seconds raised a person’s heart rate while keeping lactic acid release, which make muscles tire quicker, to a minimum, he said.”  Read more at Lifehacker here.
  3. Supercharge Your Sprint  from Chris Carmichael at  Bicycling Magazine
  4. Technique: How to improve your sprinting by Gary Palmer at Bike Radar

Mark Cavendish sprints to his sixth stage victory at the end of the 2009 Tour de France

3 thoughts on “Should you be sprinting this weekend?

  1. Great post, Sam! Everything I read about fitness training emphasizes intensity these days. Going as hard as you can seems scary, but in a controlled environment (for newbies– try it on a long stretch of very quiet road, or on a bike trainer if you have one), it feels GREAT to go all-out for say, 20 seconds. Another tip for newbies: according to training guides, your maximum power output is defined (sort of) as the effort you can sustain for 20–30 seconds before drop in power output.

    Two sprint workouts that I like, in addition to the 8 seconds on, 12 off microburst sets:

    1) traditional sprints, 4–6 of them. Warm up first (I do 15-20 mins or however long it takes me to get to the quiet road). Then there are options– seated or standing (do first one seated to get the form right), and easier or harder gear (easier means you’ll spin at super-high rpms, hard gear means your legs go a bit slower). I start seated, then do some standing ones. Make sure to rest (pedal easily) for 3–5 minutes in between sprints.

    2) this one is hard but satisfying– anaerobic work capacity (AWC) workout. You can do up to 4 sets of 60-second efforts divided up as follows: after warmup and on quiet road (this can be done on mtn bike on flat dirt road, too), do 20 seconds hard (but not all-out) out of the saddle. Next 20 seconds, you are seated, working to maintain the effort. Last 20 seconds (when you are dying), back out of the saddle and go all-out! Then you pedal easily for 4–5 minutes. Do this up to 4 times. Then you can ride home– you are DONE!

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