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When it comes to working out, more is not always better. Wind sprints are a quick and efficient way to make yourself faster and stronger. These exercises, which are essentially short dashes, work like high-intensity intervals. You run hard followed by a recovery period. Over time, this builds your body's speed, power and endurance.
Wind Sprint Basics
A wind sprint is a fast-paced dash at approximately 90 percent of your maximum effort over a set distance or time. You start with an aerobic heart rate, 50 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, and then sprint to raise your heart rate into the anaerobic level. During your recovery period, your heart rate should return to the aerobic rate before your next sprint. When done regularly, sprinting sessions will increase your running speed, endurance and overall fitness level.
Warm up before wind sprints to loosen your muscles and prepare your heart and lungs for the high-intensity effort. But you don't want to do wind sprints at the end of your workout because, chances are, your muscles are already fatigued. When you are running wind sprints, you want to push your body nearly to its maximum effort to really reap the benefits. To effectively work these into your routine, do wind sprints on strength-training days or on a day off.
Fortunately, to reap all the value of wind sprints, you don't have to tack on several hours to your weekly workout routine. Wind sprints are short and fast. Following a warm-up, sprint for 15 seconds and then walk for 45 seconds. Repeat this four times. Next, change up the interval so you sprint for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds recovery. Repeat four times. Finally, sprint for 60 seconds followed by 60 seconds recovery. Repeat twice.
In a study published in the вЂњInternational Journal of Sports Physical TherapyвЂќ in 2012, 25 recreational runners were separated into four groups that did different stretches prior to sprinting. There was a significant correlation between stretching and sprint times. All participants warmed up with a 10-minute walk and then either did ballistic, dynamic, static or no stretching. The individuals who did not stretch actually had the greatest sprinting improvement. Simply walk or jog and then tackle your wind sprints.