People often don’t exercise because they don’t have enough time.

The evidence indicates that short, high-intensity sprint workouts can improve aerobic capacity and endurance in around half the time compared to traditional endurance exercise.

If you want to achieve fitness goals more quickly, adding sprint training to your schedule may give you better results. By adding intervals of faster sprints with slower intervals, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness. This type of workout is ideal for people who don’t have time for long endurance exercise, but still want the same (or better) benefits.

How to Do Sprints

Sprinting can be done in any aerobic activity, not just running. It just means varying the intensity to increase your heart rate.

Sprint workout routines should be performed three times a week. One to two days of rest or another easy exercise should be taken in between sprint workouts.

  1. Warm-up. Before sprints, warm up thoroughly with easy exercise for five to 10 minutes. Perform the same exercise you will be using for your sprints.
  2. Do your first sprint. Perform your first sprint at about 60% max intensity. If you feel any muscle tightness or joint pain, back off and continue to warm up.
  3. Recover. Recover for four minutes by slowing to a comfortable pace, but keep moving.
  4. Do your second sprint. Perform your next sprint at about 80% max intensity.
  5. Recover. Recover for four minutes.
  6. Do your third sprint. Perform the remainder of your sprints at 100% max intensity or all-out efforts of 30 seconds. You should be pushing yourself to the max for each one.
  7. Recover. Recover for four minutes after each sprint to allow your breathing and heart rate to slow to the point that you can hold a conversation without gasping.
  8. Repeat. Repeat the sprint/recovery routine four to eight times depending on your level and ability. For your first workout, you will want to stop at four sprints. Try to gradually build up to eight.

Benefits of Sprints

The participants who completed the study also experienced a decrease in heart rate during endurance exercise, meaning that their hearts were working more efficiently. Both elite athletes and recreational exercisers can benefit from sprint training, which can improve endurance performance. In one study, participants who completed eight weeks of sprint interval training saw improvements in their VO2 max (a measure of cardiovascular fitness). The participants also experienced a decrease in heart rate during endurance exercise, meaning that their hearts were working more efficiently.

Short, intense bouts of exercise are as effective as weeks of traditional endurance training when it comes to improving muscle health and performance.

Other findings have shown that short, high-intensity exercise burns more calories than the same amount of moderate-level cardio exercise.

Other Variations of Sprints

There is no one-size-fits-all sprinting routine. The intensity, duration, and number of sprints should be tailored to your specific fitness goals.


If you are new to sprinting, take it slow at first to avoid injury. Build up your fitness level before adding sprinting to your routine. Start with one set of four sprint/rest cycles. As you reach your fitness goals, add more sprints to each set, or add another set of sprints.


Once you start a sprint routine, progressing to an intermediate level may only take a few weeks. As you do sets of sprints, try gradually increasing the number of sprints you do at different intensity levels. Keep in mind, however, not to overdo sprint exercises by doing them too many times per week; your body needs time to rest.


If you are looking to intensify your sprint routine, one way to do so is by adding resistance. This can be done by sprinting hills if you are running or cycling, or by wearing wrist and ankle weights if you are skating. If you are a swimmer, you can use strength-building techniques to focus on just the upper or lower body, or add resistance with a tool like a Push Plate.

Common Mistakes

Sprinters tend to make a few common mistakes, such as starting too hard, advancing too quickly, and doing too many sprints for too long. Sprints are not meant to be performed at the exclusion of more moderate-intensity exercise.

Not getting enough rest between sprints will make it harder to perform during the sprint phase, according to a study published in Biology of Sport. Not resting enough means you won’t get as much benefit from the same amount of effort.

Safety and Precautions

Sprint workouts can be done while running, swimming, cycling, or almost any other cardiovascular exercise. The following precautions should be considered before adding sprint training to your schedule:


You should check with a healthcare professional and fill out the physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q) before beginning a sprint workout, as sprinting is a high-intensity exercise.

Base Fitness

You should also gradually increase your training volume if you want to build a strong base of fitness for the activity you’re using for sprints.


Sprint workouts are intense, so most athletes shouldn’t do them more than three times a week.

If you’ve never done much training before you try sprinting, you may find it difficult or cause yourself muscle soreness. Experts recommend being three to four weeks into a fitness program before beginning.

You should always complete a warmup before your sprint workout to avoid any injuries.

Try It Out

You should aim to do this workout six times in two weeks, and then reducing the frequency to twice a week for maintenance for six to eight weeks. After this, you can change your workout. For the days following your sprint workout, you should do 20-30 minutes of the same aerobic activity at an easier pace, to help with recovery but also maintain your results.

It’s a good idea to change up your workout routine every few months to keep things fresh. This will help you determine what works best for you and help keep you motivated.

Add Treadmill Sprint Workouts to Your Routine

There are two types of runners- those that are able to run 400 meters in a few seconds, and those that can run a marathon without their legs giving out.

Even if you love your go-to running workout, you could be missing out on some health and workout benefits by sticking to it. Mixing up your running workouts, with options such as treadmill sprint workouts, can help you avoid injury, score PRs, and make you a better and stronger athlete all around.

Sprint workouts not only help you to run faster, but also improve your running form. In addition, these workouts are like HIIT workouts, where your heart rate goes up during the sprints and then recovers slowly. This helps with both your endurance and speed.

Being consistent in your training schedule is one of the easiest ways to improve. You can set your exact pace on a treadmill and not have to worry about the changing elements.

How to Build a Treadmill Sprint Workout

There are a few things you should keep in mind before you begin a treadmill sprint workout. According to Norris, you should have been running for at least six months to get your body used to the impact and reduce your risk of injury.

You can try doing sprints early on in your running career, but Nurse says it’s better to start with a light jog and then gradually pick up the speed. After you’ve warmed up, try running at a speed that’s about 30 seconds per mile faster than your normal speed for 10 to 20 seconds. Then slow down to a walking speed. Repeat this four to five times. This type of workout will help you work up to sprints without pushing you to do more than you can handle, which can be overwhelming and increase your risk of injury.

If you consider yourself an intermediate runner and have done your fair share of outdoor sprints, you might not be able to run as fast on the treadmill. “Runners tend to take longer strides on the treadmill, and they’ll take shorter, faster strides outside,” says Norris. “I also think some people tend to sit back on the treadmill, while most people lean slightly forward outside,” she adds. Even though these differences might seem small, they can make you a slower runner indoors, she explains.

Nurse and Norris say that to determine your sprint speed, you should first figure out your “easy pace,” which is the speed you can run or jog and still carry on a conversation (the “talk test”). Your effort here (your “rate of perceived exertion,” or RPE) should feel like a 3 or 4 out of 10, Norris says. Then, when you’re sprinting, you should aim for a speed that feels fast but doesn’t use up all your energy, which would be a 9 out of 10 on the effort scale.

You should start your sprints at a slightly slower pace than what you think you can run. This will help you maintain good form while sprinting. It is also important to make sure your legs can handle the speed before increasing the pace.

After completing a few sprints at a slow speed, check in with yourself to see if it was challenging. If it was, then that is a good speed for you to be at. If it wasn’t, then you can slowly increase the speed by 0.5 mph each interval.


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