Very few things in life are earned while lying on your back, and that includes the coveted six pack. So quit the endless rounds of crunches and take your next core routine to the treadmill. “Sprinting is incredibly demanding on the core,” says Brandon Mentore, a certified strength coach and the owner of The BodyLogic. “And when you combine the core activation of sprinting with the fat-burning properties associated with high intensity interval training, you have a powerful combination.”
How Sprinting Works Your Core
In essence, your core — all the muscles spanning from your hips to your shoulders — is designed to help transfer energy between your upper and lower body and to keep you balanced as you move in multiple planes of motion. When you sprint, your arms and legs are pumping as fast as they can, and you’re continuously transferring your weight from side to side. This is incredibly taxing on the core, which has to engage to maintain stability, preventing you from being pulled one direction or the other or from falling forward. The result is activation of the entire trunk, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, as well as the stabilizing muscles of your spine. It’s not a bad way to hit two birds with one stone — you get a nice ab workout while simultaneously enjoying some high-intensity, fat-burning cardio.
Treadmill Sprinting Workout
Mentore points out that you don’t have to hit the track to work on your sprints — you just need access to a treadmill. His go-to routine takes about 30 to 40 minutes, and includes three separate series. Complete all three for a killer ab workout, and don’t hesitate to adjust the suggested treadmill speeds to account for your fitness level. The workout should be challenging to complete, but shouldn’t wear you out so much that you collapse after the final ladder.
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Series 1: Ladder Up
Start by warming up on the treadmill at a moderate speed for about five minutes. Once you’ve started to break a sweat, you can start your ladders. “During this first series, you’ll increase the treadmill speed while decreasing sprint time for each interval, summiting with three wind sprints lasting 10 seconds each,” Mentore says.
- Sprint #1: 30 seconds at 7.5 mph (rest 10 seconds)
- Sprint #2: 20 seconds at 8.5 mph (rest 10 seconds)
- Sprint #3: 10 seconds at 9.0 mph (rest 10 seconds)
- Sprint #4: 10 seconds at 9.0 mph (rest 10 seconds)
- Sprint #5: 10 seconds at 9.0 mph (rest 10 seconds)
Repeat this series three times through, completing a total of 15 sprints.
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Series 2: Ramp Sprints
After giving yourself a few minutes to rest and recover after the first series of sprints, you’ll move on to Mentore’s ramp sprints, which are exactly what they sound like — sprinting up a ramp. “This involves engaging sprint mechanics, increasing core activation by sprinting on an incline,” Mentore says. “Inclines force you to pick up your knees higher and pull more from the hips and core.” Just remember to keep your torso as erect as possible to get the most out this series.
- Set the incline on the treadmill to between a 7- and 10-percent grade
- Sprint 15 seconds at a pace between 7.0 and 8.0 mph
- Rest 15 seconds
Repeat this series a total of 15 times, completing 15 total sprints.
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