T Nation

Sprints without overtraining

Anybody incorporate HIIT-type sprints into their cutting cycles? I’m concerned about how to do this without overtraining my legs. I do squats and other leg-glute exercises on Monday and Thursday. Will sprinting during my off days mess up my recovery/growth time?

KellerMan, The HIIT sprints may hinder your recovery. The sprints, if done the right, way could replace a leg workout. When did you plan on using them in the week? How often? Are you using any regeneration/recovery methods? Supplements? Steriods? How often do you work on flexibility? What kind of work do you do? Married/Single? What kind of leg training do you do? Try to answer as accurate as possible. Trial and error takes too long.

I DONT THINK 2 DAYS INBETWEEN LEG DAYS IS ENOUGH TO RECOVER.ESPECIALLY IF THE QUALITY AND INTENSITY IS HIGH.TRY INCORPORATING LEG WORK 4 TO 5 DAYS INBETWEEN.MON HI INTENSITY MED SET HAMSTRING WORK.HEAVY CALF WORK HI SETS.TUES.MED INTENSITY FT THIGH WORK.TAKE WED THURS OFF FROM LEGS…IF YOU ARE STILL SORE ON FRI…WAIT UNTIL SAT TO SPRINT …IF YOU SPLIT YOUR WORKOUT INTO 2 A DAYS…ON SPRINT DAY…DO SOME HIGH REP FT THIGH AND HI REP CALF WORK ON SPRINT DAY ABOUT 6 HOURS AFTER SPRINTING.AS YOU KNOW YOU DONT GROW FROM TRAINING…ONLY REST…YOU SHOULD SLEEP REAL GOOD ON SAT NITE…MAKE SURE YOU TEAR YOUR GIRL UP IN THE AM…PS…CHECK OUT TC 50 YARD DASH ARTICLE ITS A GOOD 1…AND NO IM NOT KISSING ASS…LATER

Note from Mod- No need to scream, Mark.

It depends on how intensely you’re sprinting and on what days you’re doing them. Sprints at 70% or less of maximal speed shouldn’t hinder your performance and will most likely help speed recovery. High intensity cardio type sprinting in interval type fashion usually falls into this category as you’re not able to generate as much speed and power due to fatigue.(example 200 meter sprints with 1 minute between sets) However, if you were to do several max sprints with long rest intervals in more of a max speed session you’re hitting the nervous system and Type IIB fibers hard which will require at least 48 hours recovery.(example 40-100 meter sprints with 5 minutes in between sets) You can do interval type sprint training on your off days and in between leg workouts but if you do max speed sessions it’s best to either do them on the same day or allow at least 48 hours recovery between either heavy leg training sessions or max speed sessions.

Thanks for all of the feedback. Stronski, I’m a full-time grad student (special education) and am not married. The only supplements I use are my post-workout shakes, occasional MRPs, multi-vitamins and MD6 (for now while I’m cutting using T-Dawg). I do two full-body HIT-style workouts on Monday and Thursday. I find this works well for me at maintaining lbm while I’m trying to shed fat (I’m 205 lbs. with 14% bodyfat). I was thinking of including the sprints on Saturday for the metabolic boost, especially considering I’m only training twice a week (30 sec.-1 minute sprints with a total workout no longer than twenty-five minutes). In bad weather, I planned on using a shadowboxing workout instead (10 3-minute rounds). I want to give this a try for a month or so before trying Meltdown or Fat to Fire. Thanks for all the help!

In regards to the term “HIT-type” sprints, I don’t believe this is possible. HIT is training to absolute failure, well in sprinting you’ll never technically reach failure because you could always slow down to a jog.

Anyway, adding moderate intensity sprints could definately help lean you out, as they do me. As Kelly said these are 65-75% and you'll be running 100-200m at a time. Charles Francis refers to these as tempos. Just in case you don't know you're 100m times, 70% in the 100m would be around 15-18s and for the 200m you'd run 30-36s. One set-up you could use, after a good warm-up, is to go around a track, running the straights and doing bodyweight exercises around the curves. The bodyweight exercises add variety, help general physical preparedness(GPP), and add to the metabolic effect of the sprints, like circuit training. After doing three sprints with a pair of exercises in between each you'd rest 3m and that would be one set(sprint, two exer., sprint, two exer., sprint). Work up to 5 sets as you gain endurance. I would do these the day leg day to aid in recovery because when you get used to them they'll be too low intensity to elicit soreness. I hope you try these, they're a lot of fun. Ask if you have any questions.

Nathan, just to clarify, HIIT has nothing to do with HIT. HIIT refers to High Intensity Interval Training, a workout based on sprint circuits.

Keller Man, If you are only performing the sprints on Saturdays, is shouldn’t interfere with recovery too much. You might want to make Monday’s leg training session quad dominant as the sprints attack the hams and glutes pretty good. Periodize the training so that you take a Saturday off every three to four weeks for regeneration. You can also use a stationary bike for a period of time.
Finally, the sprints should be done at near 100% intensity to get the maximum benefit.
Periodize the sprints and rest intervals just as if it where a weight training workout. Have a plan! Depending on your level of physical fitness, a good place to begin would be 5 minutes of total sprints. In other words, 10, thirty second sprints with a one minute rest interval. This may be too much. But you manipulate the sprints and RI as you need.

Just a little note…if by any chance you end up doing your sprints on your leg training days, do the sprints before lifting weights. Sprinting at maximum (or near maximum) intensities after weight training can put you at risk of injuries due to specific muscle fatigue (which will place more stress on the ligaments and joints). Also, if you’re going for maximum speed and power, you won’t be able to generate it after you’ve blasted your legs (unless your using a set of 1-2 heavy squats to try and prime your nervous system).

KellerMan, thanks for the correction. Let us know what you plan to do. There’s two main ways you could incorporate sprints. I hope you understand the difference in what I told you and what others have suggested, just so you can make an educated decision.

Also to clarify my message. I recommended doing tempos after leg day.