I will let you in on a secret: As a coaching staff we are afraid to have you sprint.
It makes us uneasy; the whole time you are sprinting we are cringing until you reach the finish line injury-free. In fact, from a programming standpoint, we try to avoid it as much as possible. Yet, as CrossFitters we are all about performing to the “max”… aren’t we? We max out on strength and strength endurance with the back squat, press, 500m Row, Olympic lifts, Fran, Fight Gone Bad, and the list goes on and on.
There is also a famous quote you may have heard in the CrossFit community:
“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people” – Mark Rippetoe
Well, I would like to add to that:
“Fast people are harder to kill than slow people” – Aaron Davis
If we are trying to maximize the human body, why is the most basic athletic function (i.e., “sprinting”) the huge elephant in the room that no one talks about?
No one talks about it because, for most of us outside of CrossFit, we allow our glutes to atrophy and the muscles in our feet to become weak. We sit at a desk all day, for example, or wear shoes that restrict the natural movement of our feet.
You know what? Let’s be honest. Let’s not rule out the daily hour of CrossFit either. Yeah, I said it! Your daily hour of CrossFit might not lead you down the path to injury-free sprinting either.
I will let you simmer on that for a bit….
I know what you are thinking: “This is Aaron’s ploy to get me to his Austin Athletic Running Class.” WRONG!
This isn’t about classes. This is about maximizing what you were born with: being athletic, strong, and healthy.
3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD SPRINT
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Christopher McDougall
- Before I get into the details and totally “nerd out” trying to convince you why you should sprint, I will start off by saying that we should never lose an ability that as kids came so naturally. Are we evolving or devolving? Enough said…. Let’s call that Reason 1.
- Reason 2: Our glutes, butts, badonkadonks (or whatever you call it) evolved because of the necessity to run. Research shows that the EMG (Electromyography) activity of the glute muscles during walking are minimal, but activity shoots through the roof when you pick up speed to a jog or sprint. From this information, evolutionary scientist now draw correlations that the enlargement of the gluteal muscles in humans evolved from the necessity to run for hunting or self-preservation purpose.
- Reason 3: Glute activity is so high during sprinting that it can not be replicated voluntarily. If we want to become more athletic and have powerful glutes, sprinting is one of the most effective tools to accomplish this. This will also begin to improve posterior chain exercises like our Olympic lifts and Squats at the gym.
3 TIPS TO GET YOUR SPRINT BACK
- Start with your Feet.
– Jump Rope barefooted with a flat foot landing so to strengthen the feet and achilles tendon.
– Wear shoes that allow your feet to move naturally. Ladies, ditch the 6-inch heels (or at least save them for the weekend); men, ditch the block shoes that don’t move. Unfortunately, most sandals are terrible as well.
- Practice Hip Extension
– Practice Cleans, Snatches, Squats, Plyos and all of their variations. Make sure you fully extend at the hip. If not, you are screwing up the timing pattern of your muscle activation, which will cause the timing pattern of your sprinting to be off, resulting in injury.
- Sprint Uphill
– Sprinting uphill is the safest way to start sprinting. Start at an intensity of 80% and work up over time.
– Coach Aaron