When it comes to mud run training, strength training and long cardio workouts will only get us so far.
Sprints do more than just make us faster runners, they make us faster reactors, and in mud running, reacting to challenges is the name of the game.
Preparing for the signature stop-and-go pace of mud running is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of mud run training. Sprinting, an awesomely primal activity, activates those fast-twitch muscles required to get over walls in a single leap, leap over jagged rocks, or get a running start to hit a rope swing. Sprints do more than just make us faster runners, they make us faster reactors, and in mud running, reacting to challenges is the name of the game. Simply put, sprinting is one of the single best activities you can add into to your mud run training. Here’s some of the main benefits:
- Sprinting is fun. Sprint exercises are quick and exciting and won’t bore you like long, tedious cardio or jogging workouts.
- Sprints make a happy heart. Long periods of slow cardio can cause continuous stress on the heart. Sprinting, on the other hand, strengthens the cardiovascular and skeletal systems with short explosive bursts followed by long periods of recovery.
- Sprinting is a natural steroid. Adding a steady diet of sprints (1-2 days per week) to your weekly mud run training routine will actually make you stronger. Sprinting naturally stimulates human growth hormone. The result? Bigger muscles, weight loss, healthier skin and increased stamina.
- Faster fast-twitchers. Sprinting promotes activation of fast-twitch muscle fibers to help make you physically stronger in less time than low-intensity workouts.
This week’s Maniac Monday Workout is designed to provide you with five sprinting exercises to get you up to mud run speed in no time.
Filthy Five: Ultimate Mud Run Sprint Workout
How to: Be sure to warm up for a few minutes with some light jogging and some sprints at about half speed. If you haven’t sprinted in a while, keep your intensity down a bit and build it up over the course of a few weeks until you can sprint at full speed. During your sprint workout, remember that “intensity” is what you are aiming for, not volume. In other words, when you hit your sprints, you want to hit them hard. If you feel yourself slowing down or jogging to get through the finish line you should take a minute or two to recover so that you can sprint at full-speed again.
Complete the following cycle with 1-2 minute rest periods between exercises:
- 60-Yard Sprint Intervals x 10
- 50-Yard Monkey Chase x 6
- 40-Yard Bear Crawl Hill Sprints x 10
- 30-Yard Fireman’s Carry Sprints x 6
- 20-Yard Up-and-Go’s x 10
Rest for 3-5 minutes and repeat.
Bonus Maniac Challenge: Complete while wearing weighted vest.
Sprint Intervals – Real simple. Basically, start by jogging, but continuously pick up your pace as you go. Once you get to the midway point (about 30 yards), hit your full-speed stride and sprint through the finish. Turn around and do it again.
Monkey Chase – Start at the bottom of soccer goal post or anything you can jump up to and shimmy across, such as the façade of a set of monkey bars. Leap up and shimmy or swing yourself across until you reach the opposite side, then leap down and sprint 50 yards. Jog back, leap up and repeat in the opposite direction.
Bear Crawl Hill Sprints – Find yourself a nice little hill and jog toward it, once you hit the incline, get down on all fours in a bear crawl position and crawl up the hill as fast as you can. When you hit the crest, pull your hands up and hit your sprint for 40 yards.
Fireman’s Carry Sprints – Walk out 30 yards with a 50 lb. sandbag or similar item. Drop it on the ground and jog back to the start. Sprint to your sand bag, stop and pick it up (use your legs!), toss it over your shoulder and sprint back to the start. Repeat alternating shoulders each time.
Up-and-Go’s – Lie down on the ground on your stomach. Explode off the ground and sprint 20 yards. Drop back down to the ground, count to three and repeat. Alternate by beginning on your stomach and your back for every other repetition.
Mud Run Maniac wants to know what you think! What other sprinting exercises and workouts do you use in your mud run training? What other topics or exercises would you like to see featured in Maniac Monday Workouts? Please no spam-mongers. Happy mudding!