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WOW – November 29th

02/12/2010

This week’s workout mirrors a lot of what I do in my sprinting. I think we all tend to think “track” when we think of sprinting. We see open road, flat road. I will admit most of my sprints are done on a grassy field, a flat grassy field. But I will also throw in a hill sprint every once in a while. Pay close attention to the “Things to remember”, I find myself slowing the last few steps of an uphill climb. Now, I will say in the last few months, switching to a mid foot or fore foot strike (ala barefoot running). I can sprint with a lot more ease uphill, downhill, flat hill or anywhere. Now, as far as the rest of this workout, I will have to substitute the swimming and maybe the biking due to freezing conditions and just the damn cold!

So having said that, I will be choosing four of the ground sprints, the standard, uphill, crawl sprints and backward running. Let me know what you go with, how it feels, are you doing it on a beach or in the snow like me?

Let’s get into it,

WOW: Sprint Complex

Complete 4 (or more) in succession:

2 10-second Standard Sprints
2 10-second Uphill Sprints
2 20-second Grok Crawl Sprints
2 12-second Backward Run Sprints
2 150-meter Rowing Sprints
2 50-meter Swim Sprints, any stroke
2 quarter-mile Uphill Cycle Sprints

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, three light sprints at 70%.

Sprinting is an essential part of Primal Blueprint Fitness, and it comes in many forms. The standard method is, of course, the classic sprint: running as fast as you absolutely can for short bursts of time. That’s fantastic, maybe even the most effective, efficient way to reap the benefits of sprint training, but it’s not the only way. And we like to play around here. We like to enjoy ourselves when we train.

I’d argue that as long as you’re moving yourself through temporal space with maximum intensity, it’s a sprint, whether you’re crawling, swimming, cycling, rowing, or simply running. So today’s WOW is a sampler of sorts; it’s a gentle nudge in the direction of variety. After today, you can stick to running if none of the other sprints appeal to you, but I only ask that you give it your all and branch out a bit for this WOW. You may find something you like. Maybe you’re still not comfortable running. Maybe you’re nursing an injury that prevents true sprinting. If so, this could be the perfect WOW for you.

I’ve covered sprinting before and you’re probably aware of the basic method. So, to begin, do a couple standard sprints. Go all out, and be sure to rest in between each. This isn’t HIIT; this is trying to go as fast as you can each time. From there, branch out. Pick three or four (or more) of the other sprint methods and give them a shot. Obviously, you’ll need a body of water for the swimming one, a rowing machine (or actual water vessel) for the rowing one, and a bike for the cycling one, but I’m sure you have access to at least one of those.

A few things to remember:

  • Take sufficient breaks between sprints so that you have fully recovered and can give your next sprint your best effort. This WOW isn’t timed so don’t worry about how quickly you get through the entire complex. I recommend 20-60 seconds rest between sprints; more if you need it. And even then you’ll complete this WOW in less than 20 minutes.
  • Uphill sprints are tough. You’ll probably want to fizzle out and give up the last few steps, but don’t! You have it in you to finish strong; that’s just your nervous system trying to give up before your body does. You can ignore it for the last couple seconds.
  • Grok crawl sprints are most effective when you keep those hips low. Don’t form an upside down V with the ground and try to be conscious of using your arms (pulling yourself as well as pushing), along with your legs. Don’t make it all legs, which is often the instinct.
  • Backward sprinting should be done on a reliable surface, obviously. Don’t go tromping through the woods amidst roots and rocks with this one.
  • Make sure you’re pulling with your heels when you row. As with other pulling exercises (deadlift, clean, etc), your heels need to make contact. Don’t go up on your toes.
  • Swimming is great for those with debilitating joint issues, but I wouldn’t replace land-based sprints entirely. Sometimes, you need the resistance to maintain good bone mass and strength. Freestyle is the basic stroke best for sprinting, but butterfly will take a lot out of you.
  • You never forget how to ride a bike, right? If you don’t have an actual bike, feel free to use a stationary one. Just be sure to hit those hills!

Variations:

These are estimated times and distances. Use them as guidelines, but if you find you can’t maintain top speed for, say, a quarter mile on the bike or 50 meters in the pool, find a time or a distance that allows you to really sprint. The sprint, the max effort, is the important part here

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