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Strength, speed and recovery conditioning are essential for all sprinters' workouts.
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Although practicing sprinting techniques is essential to any sprinters' performance and success, their workout routines should also provide a foundation that consists of mobility, strength, power and cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. The type of exercises that sprinters do should be specific to their athletic skills. If you're new to sprinting, work with a qualified coach or exercise trainer to help you customize your workout plan.
Sprinters should warm up by using dynamic stretching that moves multiple joints and muscles repetitively within their range of motion instead of stretching each muscle individually. Researchers at the University of Luton in the United Kingdom found that sprinters who performed dynamic stretching only performed significantly better than those who performed static stretching only or a combination of static and dynamic stretching. Likewise, sprinters who performed static stretching after a bout of dynamic stretches had lower performance times than those who did no static stretching after performing dynamic stretches, according a study performed at the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Sample dynamic stretches include mountain climbers, leg swings, and arm swings.
Because of the high-intensity nature of sprinting, sprinters need to have a high a high level of oxygen intake -- or VO2 max -- to recover faster and perform better. This is achieved by doing interval training, which involves doing bouts of high-intensity sprinting with periods of lower-intensity aerobics in between, instead of steady-pace, long-duration aerobics. A study performed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway showed that subjects who performed interval training had a significantly higher level of VO2 max than those who did long-distance running at a slower pace. A sample interval training workout would have you run at 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 30 seconds followed by two minutes of running at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. The cycle repeats itself over your desired period of time.
Strength and Power Conditioning
Don't ignore the benefits of strength and power training. Investing some time in the weight room can enhance your performance. A study performed at the College of New Jersey showed that sprinters who performed sprinting and resistance training together had the highest sprint peak power than those who performed sprint training or resistance training only. Sample exercises include lunges, kettlebell swings, power skipping, lateral bounding and depth jumps. However, perform power training once or twice a week. A study published in the May 2008 issue of "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" showed that athletes who trained once or twice a week had better sprinting time that those who trained four times a week.
Choose exercises that mimic how you sprint. A review published in the June 2006 issue of "International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance" states that exercises that move similarly to the actual sports skill have a greater transference of strength and power than exercises that are not sports specific. For example, strengthen your legs and hips with lunges, stepups, running and kettlebell swings instead of using a leg press machine or doing jump squats. This is based on the SAID principle, which stands for specific adaptation to imposed demand. This implies that your body gets better and adapts to specifically what you train it to do.