The Sprinters Formula for a Strong, Lean Body

Article by Dennis Heenan


Over the past year or so, I have been studying a wide variety of sprinters when it comes to what they do in their workouts.

The reason for this is because when you look at a sprinter, you see someone who is strong, incredibly lean, and has a body that looks like a superhero.

Often times, many of us just look past this and say: "yea, that's just because they are an athlete and have good genes."

Yet the truth is, if you started taking the simple principles that sprinters use and started applying them to your own workouts, your results would skyrocket.


Sprinters do something in their workouts that everyone needs to be doing.

This small change can make or break the results you see…

In a study done by Experimental Biology, researchers took 11 men and 11 women and had them workout at different levels of intensity for 12 weeks.

What researchers found was that the individuals working closest to their anaerobic threshold, they were the ones that experienced "maximal fat utilization." This means that those who spent their time sprinting or working out at their highest intensity burned the most fat during the study.

See, that's the key: The closer you can work to your anaerobic threshold during your workouts, the more fat you will burn.


Now here's the best part… When you look at a sprinter go through a workout, what do you see?

You see them sprint all out for 15-45 seconds, take a 2-4 minute break, and then repeat.

So if they went through a workout that consisted of 10 sprints at 30 seconds each, their "total work time" would only be 5-minutes (30 seconds X 10 sprints = 5 minutes).

Pretty interesting, right?

What I have found is that when you apply this method of training to all the workouts you do, your results immediately start going up.


Now here is where things get even better…

Over the years I have developed what I call "manipulated rest periods".

The reason these were first created was because I noticed that everyone I was studying and training was different.

I could have two different athletes rest for 2-minutes between circuits, when the reality was that one athlete only needed 30-seconds of rest while the other needed 3-minutes.

So what I did was I started telling my clients to recover to 90% capacity, then start their next set or exercise. I say 90% because after going through your first round of exercises, you won't be able to recover all the way to 100%.

What you will find is that manipulated rest periods really allows you to push your body to the limits and lets you train closer to your anaerobic threshold for a longer period of time during the workout.

Plus, as time goes on, your rest periods get shorter causing your endurance, speed, strength, and recovery times to drastically increase.

Although the methods of sprinting have been around since the beginning of time, they are something that 98% of the population has stepped away from.


We live in an age where "hard work" has been translated into how much one sweats or how much their biceps burn while doing dumbbell curls.

Although these things are great, the real results happen within the 5-minutes of "all out" work you put in during your workout.

No matter if you are sprinting, jumping rope, squatting, bench pressing, etc… You can find a way to work near your anaerobic threshold for that short period of time.

When it comes to lifting, simply challenging your body and continuing to (safely) push the limits each time you hit the gym is what will bring you those results.

Have you ever tried squatting for 10-reps at a very challenging weight? If you have, you know that by that 9th and 10th rep, you are very out of breath and fatigued.

That is what you need to be doing on all your exercises. Pushing your strength, endurance, and explosive limits.

That's the great thing about working out… There is always room for improvement.

As I watched a video recently on Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, he still believes he has a lot of room for improvement. That's the reason you see him push so hard during his workouts. He wants to break world records even though they may seem impossible.

If you are not progressing in the right fashion by getting stronger, increasing endurance, maximizing power and explosiveness… It is going to be very difficult to ever see the kind of results you want.


As I like to tell my clients, if you train like a sprinter, you will look like a sprinter.

The formula is really this simple:

1. Spend time working near your anaerobic threshold in every workout
2. Manipulate your rest periods
3. Constantly progress

Do those three things, and in no time you will be looking and feeling like a world class sprinter.



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