T Nation

Sprints - Upper Body Strength


#1

For a bit of context, my training for the last 2 years has consisted of full body training every other day, finishing each session with 15-20 mins of HIIT. I’ve built strength and size, but there’s always been that lagging feeling of not being “athletic”, conditioned or as fit as I could be.

Inspired by some articles I read I started building sprints (primarily hill sprints) into my routine around 6 months ago - typically into an upper-lower split so that I’m sprinting 2 x pwk (around 1000m total sprint distance per session). I feel like this has improved my body fat levels (around 12%) and I definitely feel more athletic, but it’s had an impact on my upper body strength and size. My numbers have stalled (and possibly gone backwards in some lifts) and I’m convinced that my muscles feel flatter and less full.

Thinking it through, if we take shoulders as an example, with the full-body workouts I was training them 3-4 times pwk, and with the sprints routine this has dropped to 2-3 times pwk. My (perhaps irrational) mind is suggesting that this might be causing the perceived loss of strength and tone. Or perhaps the extra metabolic workload from sprinting has eaten into recovery?

Can anyone offer any words of wisdom here? I feel a little bit lost at this stage.


#2

Sounds like overtraining, the nervous system can take so much, sprinting is high intensity exercise.
I remember two a days in the august heat, wasnt no one lifting after practice.
Then we go back to regular workouts , come back stronger.
For your lifting days stick with lower rep power/olympic lifting programs not bodybuilding type
I remember most sprinters do a lot of cleans, squats, benches.
Lolo Jones said she cleans 198 and benches same , for the men take times 50% that is olympic level though.
I would sprint twice a week and lift twice a week for a while and see if you get strength back.


#3

I, too, have added hill sprinting to workouts, about 2-3X per week. What you are finding is nothing magical about sprinting, simply that the more “different” things you do the less progress you will make at any specific lift. It depends on your goals. If you want to be overall fit and more athletic, you’ll want to implement sprints, jumps, and other athletic movements. If you want to be as strong as possible in the gym, you’ll want to focus as much of your effort on the big lifts you want to improve on.

I personally add sprints, yoga, boxing, and soccer to go along with workouts. I feel more athletic and overall better doing this, but I know that it is not a recipe to increase my squat or bench press.


#4

Due to my size and age i wouldn’t do these , but an mma trainer had his guys sprinting down hill also.
Apparently teaches you yo move feet faster, that has blown knee or face plant spelled out to me.
But we are talking about twenty something year old athletes here.


#5

Id alternate sprints with somehing that ipacts the overall system less say HIIT on the bike or rower, also try moving on to an upper /lower split or even just a different full body template. This one is excellent…


#6

I found hill sprints to be very taxing, which caused my numbers to drop. Since, I was more concerned about strength then cardio, I replaced hill sprints with other exercises. I cycle through the following exercises each month, hitting a heavy bag, swinging a sledge, battle ropes, jump rope, sled pulls, and kettle bell swings. I also make sure that I don’t pull the sled the day after heavy squats and I’m swinging the sledge after a heavy upper body workout. Having a variety of cardio exercises keeps me from getting bored and it works the different energy systems.