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What constitutes a "sprint?"

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  • What constitutes a "sprint?"

    Few sprints on a bike going as fast as one can on any resistance. Or going as fast as you can with resistance, say on a spin bike?

    I know running is the optimal form of sprint but I am forevermore cursed to not be able to run. so that's out.


    looking for some ideas here. I have a spin bike but when i go as hard as a i can i don't ever really feel like I'm doing as much as i could be. Going hard in an up/climbing position feels weird and going hard while sitting makes it difficult to go all out for some reason.

  • #2
    Sprint...you should be at or close to your max heart-rate for the sprint. I have been doing a lot of tabita sprints and they work well.
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    • #3
      The goal is to put out a maximum effort for your sprint time- almost falling down when you are done. However you accomplish that is up to you, but I believe Tabata did his original research on some sort of exercise bike.

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      • #4
        I do water aerobic sprints. They work fine for me. I imagine a shark is chasing me. If walking slowly in a walker gets you out of breath, then that's your sprint. Nearly everyone can do sprints.
        Last edited by Hedonist; 02-20-2012, 08:44 PM.
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        • #5
          Great thing about a stationary bike, especially a spinning bike, is that you *can* sprint with varying degrees of resistance. Analagous to running sprints up a hill, up stairs, flat, or whatever.

          I'd recommend switching them up - standing, sitting, heavy, light resistance, etc. Keep some variety.

          Realize that most of the time very light resistance - especially on a Spinning bike where the flywheel creates momentum - will end up working more on leg speed, form, and balance than any of the other things you may be interested in.

          A real sprint should be as hard as you can go, 10 or 12 seconds long, and you should be pretty knackered at the end of each one. Tabatas are a bit different as they are 20 seconds long, so effort is tempered just a little bit, but with incomplete recovery they'll get to you and make you hurt.
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          • #6
            Sprint = doing lots of work in a short space of time and wanting to stop very quickly.
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            • #7
              I have to avoid running too.

              Sprinting on an exercise bike is not always a great idea - I have to go flat out for a minute to get my heart rate up to 150 and it hurts my knees.

              I find sprints easier to do on a cross-trainer, rowing machine or swimming (crawl) because they use the whole body and cause no knee pain for me.
              F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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              • #8
                A "sprint" is going all-out for a short period of time - literally max effort. You shouldn't be able to sustain this for more than 30 seconds before resting, and 10-20 is really more typical.

                The exercise(bike, run, row, swim, whatever) itself is less important than the fact that you're giving 100% effort, which develops explosiveness and favors fast-twitch muscle development.

                I find it's easiest to sprint when I'm outdoors and can simply run, or when I'm on my road bike with a nice long, flat stretch of road. Treadmills don't speed up/slow down quickly enough, and exervise bikes in the gym aren't sized right for me.

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                • #9
                  The biggest problem with using a treadmill is the safety factor. You have to really crank up the speed and one slip up could be catastrophic. You don't want to go flying off balance, backwards at 10 MPH!

                  I obviously don't know the details of why one can't run, but there are of course many reasons that could be so. Swimming sprints in this case would be a good substitute. I've done it for a change of pace and its extremely effective. If running all out is to much or seems to lead to injuries, trying hill sprints might be just the thing needed. If the incline is steep enough you literally can't run very fast. It will seem like unless you give it your 100% all that you will be running in place or going backwards. They are very demanding because you are fighting gravity. You will be absolutely gassed after each sprint but they are much safer and easier on the legs overall. It is the sheer speed of straight away flat terrain sprinting that greatly increases the chances of tearing something.

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                  • #10
                    I've decided to just stick with the bike for now. How many sprints are optimal in a single session?

                    and i can't run because i have a nerve condition and i damaged a nerve that runs to my testes beyond repair from cycling on traditional bike saddles that hurts extremely bad when i do something like run. I use a special bike seat now which may be why trying to sprint while sitting feels weird.

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                    • #11
                      Start with 3-5 reps at first nd work towards 10 reps of 8-15 seconds the bike will allow you to go a little longer than running since the upper body and midsection stabilizermuscleswon't work as hard. Sorry to hear about the nerve condition, sounds brutal.
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                      • #12
                        Optimally you are running as your form of sprinting. The reasoning behind this is that there is a reflex that you use in running that you don't get from biking, swimming, etc. called the cross-extensor reflex that activates far more muscle fibers than riding a bike. This is why, for most people, the jump in heart rate they get from sprint running exceeds what they get from sprint biking or any of the other forms. If you can't do running, I would recommend more of a full body exercise like squat presses with a medball or something else that activates more musculature. If you can get your hands on a Schwinn Air-Dyne I would say that is a close second to running.

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                        • #13
                          I jump rope as fast as I can for as long as I can. Or, until I catch my foot with the rope. Then I hop around on one foot for a bit and start over!

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                          • #14
                            If you are able to hop around on one foot between intervals you clearly aren't "sprinting". Sprints performed properly will leave you gasping for air barely able to stand up much less walk or hop. Not saying your method is a bad workout by any means. But it isn't sprinting and it won't produce the same results.

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                            • #15
                              I have been taking walks of 3 to 4 miles at a pace of about 3.7 mph. I've started to incorporate 3 or 4 sprints in the middle of the walk. Is this OK? I ask because Mark always seems to discuss slow walks as completely separate activities from sprints.

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