Resistance band sprints are traditionally used to develop power and speed – but they are also perfect for fat loss.
The exercise goes like this.
- Attach a resistance band to something solid like a tree.
- Step into the other end of the band and place it around your waist.
- Sprint away from the tree as far as you can, touch the ground then run backwards to the starting position.
- Repeat until you pass out or throw up (optional)
Why Band Sprints Are Great For Fat Loss
This exercise is mirroring the start of a spiriting race over and over. To go from a stationary start to a flat out sprint is all about power and recruiting as many motor neurons in your major muscle groups as possible.
On top of that there is the added resistance of the band dragging you back, whose force increases the further you get away from your staring point.
When you return to sprinting without the band to start a race, run to the net from the baseline in tennis or just sprint for the the bus, you accelerate faster because your muscles have over compensated and developed to cope with the band resistance.
Resistance band sprints use a large range of muscles. Not only do you have the obvious leg muscles firing, but in order to propel yourself at speed your arms are going to be swinging like crazy (try sprinting without using your arms – pretty tough). Add to that your calves (to fire you out of the blocks and safely decelerate you when running backwards) and your core (you get a nice stretch when reaching for the ground).
But how does this related to fat loss?
The sheer volume of motor neurons firing and muscle fibres contracting means each rep uses a high number of calories – and we all know more calories burned means a higher calorie deficit (if your diet is good) which leads to fat loss.
Further research suggests that high intensity training (such as doing 10 resistance band sprints, pausing 30 seconds, then doing 10 more, and so on), whilst not burning as many calories during the activity as steady state cardio, keeps your metabolism high for 24-48 hours AFTER training which DOES mean you burn more calories overall.
That’s not all. The anaerobic (without oxygen) nature of resistance band sprints is far more beneficial in transforming your body than steady state cardio because it alters your hormonal profile. The stress of the exercise causes human growth hormone (HGH) to be released, which stimulates the body to increase the production of bone, muscle and connective tissue. Several other hormones are released that help build and transform you body shape.
Use Explosive Power
To get these benefits you need to perform the exercise with speed – you must use explosive force to accelerate as fast as possible. You should feel nauseous and be panting at the end of several sets of this exercise.
Incorporating Resistance Band Sprints Into Your Workout
So I’ve sold you on the idea of trying out resistance band sprints. How do you fit them into your workout? Here are some ideas.
As part of a HIIT bodyweight circuit
Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training fame is a huge advocate of bodyweight circuits for fat loss (do have a look at his fitness blog for tons of great advice). Resistance band sprints can be dropped right in to any of his routines or you can develop your own.
You would perform the body weight circuits on days you are not doing resistance training. A typical week mights look like this:
- Monday – Resistance training
- Tuesday – HIIT bodyweight circuit (including 3 sets of 10 reps of resistance band sprints)
- Wednesday – Resistance training
- Thursday – HIIT bodywieght circuit
- Friday – Resistance training
- Saturday – Rest day / general sport day
- Sunday – Rest day
As a HIIT routine on their own
Sometimes simplest is best. You could use just resistance band sprints on their own to form a fantastic fat loss workout. Here’s the routine:
- 10 x resistance band sprints
- Rest 30 seconds
- Repeat circuit 10 times
Looks easy doesn’t it? Don’t let the simplistic nature fool you. This is a killer routine and at the end of it (if you make it!) your heart will be pounding faster than a that time you set fire to the tea-towel.
Do this routine 1-2 times per week and see the fat melt off and your speed and power increase.
So there you go. Resistance band sprints have it all. They work you hard, develop explosive power, increase your sprinting speed and strip away fat.
If you want a low body fat percentage so you can see your abs and look shredded, then stop doing steady state cardio. Do bodyweight circuits, sprint interval or – duh duh duh – resistance band sprints!
Get out there and do them.