More for less
Sprinting breaks the rules of fitness. The science does not lie (the study). Your muscles oxygen using efficiency (measured as VO2 max) improves the same from 12 minutes sprinting versus 10 hours at moderate intensity.
Do you have to run to sprint?
No, you can perform my interval sprints training routines doing anything that gets your heart rate spiking (full exertion for 30 seconds followed by rest period and repeat):
- Hill Climbing
- Doing jump-ups
- Ice skating
The sprint training method is about manipulating your heart and cardiovascular system. It re-programmes your bodies systems and adapts them to the attack sprints. It is good because it got you dinner a million years ago. The more adept your were to all out sprints the more successful hunter you were and the longer you and your dependant tribe existed.
Aside from sprinting making theoretical sense, the hunter attacking his prey, researchers and medical professionals around the world have found it is as beneficial as long moderate endurance sessions (study) at decreasing your risk of heart disease. Sprinting improved the test subjects peripheral vascular structure (blood supply to the heart) as much as the long moderate sessions. In a time starved society sprinting is a necessity.
In a Swedish study 8 males were subjected to sprint type strength training (running up an inclined treadmill) 3-4 times a week for 1 month. After a small rest period the subjects were tested in standing vertical jump. The average improvement was 4cm (from 47 -51). In addition to that gain they averaged a thigh circumference gain of 1.5 cm indicating larger leg muscle volume.
Healthy heart adaptation.
This study took 134 male and 54 female elite runners of varying distance disciplines: 100m, 10,000m and marathon runners. They measured the internal diameter of the left heart ventricle at its most contracted state (calling it LVIDd).
In the study the 100m and 10,000m runners had larger LVIDd than the marathoner. With the 10,000m runner having a negligible but slightly larger value than the 100m.
The bigger your left ventricle internal diameter at contracted state = the better your heart is adapted for blood pumping.
The left ventricle adapts to exercise by increasing its internal diameter (study showing same adaption in pig hearts) to increase overall blood plasma pumped. Lance Armstrong, with a heart adapted for punishing endurance feats, will have a very large left ventricle internal diameter. He has trained his heart and it has consequently adapted to his extreme needs for blood especially during a mountain climb or time trial sprint.
However, if measured, as the study showed, Lance Armstrong (being a marathon bike rider) would have inferior left ventricle internal diameter to his time trial specialist counterparts.
The 100m elite runners had more efficient heart pumps than the marathon runners. They were physiologically more capable of pumping blood to their muscles at times of need.
Is that amazing, or what?
With the increased capacity in your pump, you can sprint harder and for longer. It is of note that the 10,000m runner has essentially the same heart adaptation as the 100m runner. In my opinion proving again that sprinting is, given the time efficiency, more effective at increasing fitness and decreasing disease.
Sprinting and human evolution (the common-sense)
Modern humans pre-date 200,000 years. A few million years back if you want to include all homo sapiens. Sticking with 200,000 years, we can say that we have been:
- hunters for 10,000 generations (stalk, sprint, carry heavy things, rest)
- farmers for 500 generations (walk, carry)
- consumers/shoppers for 3 or 4 generations (drive thru).
Modern humans are adapted and genetically predisposed to sprinting (attack) combined with light cardio (walking) and lifting heavy things (carry kill back to tribe). Not having to do these things are detrimental to the structure of your heart, mainly I believe, because it is not doing what it should be doing day in day out.
Transfer to mechanically engineered pumps:
If you leave a pump turned off for too long, the bearings start to rust, the electrical switches start to trip and the inlet and outlet clog with goop from the surroundings. Use it or lose it!