What is the KING of getting great Abs??
A. 1,000 crunches
B. $19.95 Ab Cruncher from an infomercial
Woo hoo! How easy and less time consuming is the correct answer C – SPRINTS!!!
YES, they are uncomfortable & YES, they are challenging!! But, if you are not uncomfortable or feeling challenged, then most likely you are wasting your time.
As a matter of fact, ask any good strength and conditioning coach what they do to work on their athlete’s midsection and they will not tell you crunches. Sprinting is a required component of 90% of all sports and therefore the major component of any athletes training.
Crunches and other ab exercises focus almost exclusively on the rectus abdominis muscle. This is a narrow range of development. Total degree of muscle activation and length of time that muscle is under tension are major determinants of muscle function and growth. There is no exercise that generates more force in the abdominal musculature than sprinting, and therefore NO exercise can mimic the developmental stimulus it provides.
When sprinting, the arms and legs are pumping and exploding like pistons. This immense force being generated on either side of the body pulls and twists the spine and body back and forth, and side to side. The only reason the body stays ridged and upright is because of the tremendous degree of force and pressure elicited by the contraction of the abdominal wall. The entire abdominal cavity is forced to engage in one monumental effort to stabilize the trunk. This force is so powerful that even ONE ten second run can induce massive muscular stimulus on the midsection.
ADVANTAGES OF SPRINTS:
BURNING FAT: Sprints literally teach your body how to be an effective fat burner. Unlike steady state aerobics, sprint training produces a metabolic ripple that leads to enhanced fat burning for days after the workout is over. Almost ALL traditional ab exercises fail miserably in their ability to burn fat.
AFTERBURN = FAT LOSS: The sprint is so powerful for fat loss because it sets into motion biochemical reactions that turn on your fat burning machinery. This concept is popularly known as the metabolic afterburn effect. It represents the body’s attempt to recover, repair and regenerate after intense exercise. Anyone who has run a 100 yd dash or a HILL sprint knows what the beginning stages of the afterburn feels like. This intense exercise releases a “chemical soup” that is one of the key benefits leading to fat burning for hours and even days after the workout has ended.
BURNS FAT AT REST: Sprinting also trains the body to be a more efficient fat burner at rest. Sprint training turns on fat burning enzymes and keeps them on.
The most important thing to remember is that intensity is an individual thing. You can reap the benefits of this training by just putting on your gas pedal a little bit more when you are doing your cardio!
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Very good info! I was unaware of this. Thanks!
I agree, Elaine! Thank you for this, Kathleen. While at Mission Bay Park last Thursday with the kiddos, thanks to your great info I added a few sprints in the grassy field. I definitely get a lot of bang for my bucks with sprinting!
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