I hope that some of you are sitting down, because I have a confession to make.  I’m experimenting with an upright form of accelerated locomotion.  As most of you know, I hate running. I find it boring, it makes my knees ache, and in my mind there are other ways to work on my aerobic capacity than to punish myself with running as a form of chronic cardio.  So unless I’m training for a Black Belt (been there, done that) or running from a Tiger (not lately, although there has been a suspicious looking raccoon staggering around our back yard), I don’t see the need to run.

Enter the Sprint.  There are more and more proponents of Sprinting as a form of cardio activity (see Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Fitness eBook, found here).  So although I’ve known I should be doing some sprinting, I always found an excuse not to. Until a couple weeks ago,
that is.  I decided that I would start to incorporate a sprint activity at least 1X/week into my other activities.  The local church across from our development has an open area next to it that is used for Pee Wee football.  It’s already laid out with ~ 60 yards of lines in 5 yd. increments.  So I just stop by, place an orange cone at the start line, another one 50 yds. out, and run the sprints.  I’m starting easy, 70-80% effort, 5-9 sprints, recovering while walking back to the start line.  So far, so good.  Will keep you posted as things progress.  And I’ll post a  few interesting links in the weeks to come.

{Note - just read an article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (26(1): 53-62, 2012) that compared High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to Repeated–Sprint Training for tennis players.   I know that doesn’t have any carry over to the Martial Arts (unless you’re going to whack someone with a racket), but there was a key finding.  They found that Repeated-Sprint Training (RST) might be a time efficient strategy in enhancing aerobic adaptations, given the lower training volume required by the RST compared with that of the HIIT.  “..from a practical point of view, desired adaptations (e.g., VO2 peak increases) can be obtained with a substantial reduction in exercise training time, allowing the players to spend more time on-court and optimizing technical and tactical skills.”  It’s the efficiency and providing more time to work on technical skills (strikes, locks, holds, weapons) that interests me from a Martial Arts perspective.}

Do you like to run?  I hate to run and my knees hate to run. Currently my cardio work consists of KB swings and Concept2 rowing intervals.  But a Martin Rooney seminar at the Perform Better Summit in Providence got me to thinking.  Martin’s emphasis was not so much on running as it was on sprinting, and the subsequent conditioning benefits that sprinting provides.  So I’ve been more aware than usual about articles and research on the benefits of sprinting.

An article in the September 2011 Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research discussed the addition of sprint-interval training (SIT) to wrestling training.  The 
authors (Farzad, Gharakhanlou, et. al.) worked with 14 freestyle wrestlers with national or provincial ranking at a University in Tehran. Wrestlers, like other athletes, are often looking for ways to increase their level of fitness in a short period of time.  By using a relatively simple SIT protocol, the athletes were able to increase both aerobic and anaerobic performance over a 4 week period.  
What did they do?  Two SIT sessions per week (in addition to their wrestling training,
weight training, & plyometrics) which consisted of “…a 10-minute warm-up, followed by sets (3-6) of 6x35m sprints with 3 minutes of rest between sets and then a 10-minute cool-down period.”  There was a 10 second recovery between each sprint. Now that seems very feasible.  It’s low volume, but effective, and could be incorporated several times during a training cycle, in conjunction with skill training and weight training.    

Running? Still not interested.  But as much as I hate to consider it, it looks like sprinting should be added to my routine.