T Nation

Steady State vs Sprints

which do you prefer? which gets better results? Alot of sports coaches (Defranco, etc) say sprints, but I read the Dave Tate 37 things article and he says he does steady state. Which one have you had the best results with?

Best results for what? They have a very different purpose and affect on your body.

sorry…for getting lean as fast as possible without losing much muscle.

btw, what are the different purposes?

[quote]TK52 wrote:
sorry…for getting lean as fast as possible without losing much muscle.

btw, what are the different purposes?[/quote]

I don’t think it really matters as long as you program it correctly. People have been using steady-state cardio for years in conjunction with dieting to get lean. But sprints can work too.

As far as different purposes, just think; sprints last maybe 10-20 seconds. Steady state cardio might last 60 minutes+. Obviously, they are going to have some different effects on your body, on the aerobic system, on your muscles,etc.

Sprints, circuits, complexes combined with normal heavy weight training. No comparison imo.

I’ve seen plenty of fat people doing steady state work at the gym, but I haven’t seen many fat people doing sprints.

Go with:

Hill Sprints
Weighted Stair Runs/Climbs

Couldn’t offer any better training advice than this.

From a chick’s perspective… I incorporate both. I workout 6 days a week and for my cardio, 2/6 I run sprints for 15-20 mins after 45 mins of weight training. I’ve noticed a much better physical response in terms of becoming leaner since I’ve added this into my standard elliptical, run, and stairmill routines.

Just try it out for a few weeks and see what kind of results you get, but based on what I’ve read it’s not recommended to do it more than twice a week. And on a final note, if your body isn’t used to this level of intense physical activity—get ready for some shin splints.

Another thing, and perhaps this is stating the obvious, but try to run your sprints on low intensity weight-training days. In other words, don’t go balls to the walls on a major muscle group and then try doing these afterwards. Best if you save it for shoulders/abs/arms days or do them on a cardio only day. Otherwise you’re just going to shoot yourself in the foot.

Find a hill and try sandbag carries, sprints, backpedels,and bearcrawls. Mix it up. And if you got a workout buddy, do partner carries and wheel barrels up the hill as well.

Sprints are another intense training for the legs so adding them on top of your routine might be too much. Adding a little cardio on off days normally isn’t a problem unless you do really huge amounts.

Steady rate cardio burns some fat some glycogen while exercising. Sprints use glycogen. Sprints give you the EPOC effect long after you leave the gym though. Steady rate pretty much just burns fat in the here and now with little to no EPOC.

I thought this myth that the results you’ll get between the two are drastically different was debunked in a recent article. I think it was by John Berardi (might be mistaken though).

I’m pretty sure the difference between the two, when used correctly for conditioning and/or fat loss, were relatively equal.

Interval training/sprints being only slightly better, but not by enough of a difference to switch if you prefer one over the other.

[quote]missinglink wrote:
I’ve seen plenty of fat people doing steady state work at the gym, but I haven’t seen many fat people doing sprints. [/quote]

You have obviously never seen a high school sports team then!

My opinion is that Steady Cardio is most beneficial after an intense lifting or sprint session being that your heart rate is already jacked up, thus you will continue to burn calories at a faster pace than just doing it alone. I also will have my athletes do some occasional steady cardio (HR 120-140) the day after an intense workout for recovery purposes.

However, if your goal is to burn fat quick stay away from doing just steady cardio. Has anyone ever seen a ripped distance runner? (Just because their ribs stick out, doesn’t mean they are ripped) On the other hand ripped sprinters are everywhere.

Ryan Englebert

[quote]RyanEnglebert wrote:
However, if your goal is to burn fat quick stay away from doing just steady cardio. Has anyone ever seen a ripped distance runner? (Just because their ribs stick out, doesn’t mean they are ripped) On the other hand ripped sprinters are everywhere.
[/quote]

I’m not trying to start an e-war here, but I really hate this argument. First of all, yes, if their ribs are sticking out, I would say it is a fair bet that they have a very low body fat, ie, are “ripped.”

If you are talking about actual competitive distance runners compared to actual competitive sprinters, there are a couple of fallacies in this argument.

First of all, the vast majority of competitive distance runners don’t lift weights at all. They have a lack of muscularity not because of evil steady state cardio, but because they just… don’t lift weights. The majority of competitive sprinters do lift weights and the ones who don’t lift much (Usain Bolt, Kim Collins) are way smaller than the ones who do (Mo Greene, Justin Gatlin).

Second of all, the people who are successful competitive distance runners are (for the most part) born skinny. Your standard mesomorph is not going to take up distance running, so distance runners are skinny to begin with and it is beneficial for their sport to stay skinny. This is almost like saying, “don’t play basketball, you’ll get too tall.” Likewise, almost all of these “ripped sprinters” you see in the Olympics or at D1 meets were born with high test and crazy fast-twitch genetics and would be sub-10% bodyfat if they sat on the couch and ate chips all day. They were ripped before sprinting and will be ripped after they’re done.

Finally, there are plenty of athletes who do a lot of distance running. Many boxers run 20+ miles per week and aren’t losing all of their muscle mass or getting skinny-fat. Also, how about the athletes with the absolute best physiques: bodybuilders! How many competitive bodybuilders do you hear about that do sprints and complexes to get lean? How many do steady state cardio?

I’m not saying steady-state cardio is the end-all, be-all and sprints are worthless. Quite the opposite actually, and for most average people, sprints and intervals are going to be better simply because the average guy only has 3-4 hours a week to work out and spending half of that jogging would be pointless. But many people have swung the pendulum way too far in the other direction.

You should try tempo running as used by the sprint coach charlie francis.
A typical workout for his athletes would be:

100+100+100
100+200+100+100
100+200+200+100
100+200+100

The runs are done at 65-75% of max effort. + means a 50m walk between reps and use a 100m walk between sets.
The workout is quite easy if you use the correct intensity and takes about 15-20 mins.

You are absolutely right supa power, Tempo Runs are very effective!!

GREAT INFO Jtrinsey, another credible perspective is always great to hear.

thanks guys. a lot of great info here. Gymbecile, i hear you about the shin splints…i get them all the time but its been less and less frequent now that I’ve been running consistently.
RyanEnglebert, is that you at bengals camp? sick!! however…Ravens for life!

[quote]86Gymbeciles wrote:
From a chick’s perspective… I incorporate both. I workout 6 days a week and for my cardio, 2/6 I run sprints for 15-20 mins after 45 mins of weight training. I’ve noticed a much better physical response in terms of becoming leaner since I’ve added this into my standard elliptical, run, and stairmill routines.

Just try it out for a few weeks and see what kind of results you get, but based on what I’ve read it’s not recommended to do it more than twice a week. And on a final note, if your body isn’t used to this level of intense physical activity—get ready for some shin splints.[/quote]

I found this worked for me also. What I used to do and what worked really well for fat loss was SS cardio in the mornings and a 2-4 times a week incorporating some sprints in the afternoon. I have since dropped the sprint though because although they were very effective I was much more prone to injury.

So now I stick with SS runs every morning and when I want to shed extra fat I throw in some hilly runs after lifting.

In the end I think the key is something that you’re able to work into your schedule and not hate doing it will be the most effective.