Jul 12, 2016
On this week’s podcast, Franz Snideman, Senior Strong First Instructor, Primal Move National Instructor, former Collegiate Sprinter and International Lecturer shares the fundamental importance of educating and coaching clients in safe, healthy and holistic athleticism. Today, Franz talks about how we can add sprinting to our fitness routines and what benefits it includes for both body and mind.
Franz is a student of nutrition, Neuro-Muscular Therapy, Primal Move Kids and Corrective High Performance Exercise Kinesiology. As the co-owner of Revolution Fitness, in La Jolla, CA and the author of several books including Revolution Kettlebell Fat Loss Program, he draws on his passion for healthy living, athleticism, knowledge and appreciation of human development, anatomy and personal experience, to have co-developed what he calls the Primal Speed System.
It can be a strange, new journey to add something to our lives that we are unfamiliar with such as sprinting, but Franz has some great tips for both beginners and born again athletes who are eager to get back into shape.
With each new effort, we can change our own behavior and improve ourselves every day.
Sprinting has many benefits, not just for the body, but for the mind as well.
How many hours did you spend sitting down at your desk today? Most likely you were sitting there for quite some time before you got up and walked around the room. During that time, maybe you got a drink of water, went to a meeting, or stepped outside for some lunch. When you look back on your day, do you think you have had enough physical movement?
If you spend many hours each day sitting at a desk, you will not get the fitness that your body and mind are craving. Maybe you don't have enough time for a long run, swimming, or an hour long fitness class.
Fortunately, the beauty about adding sprinting to your workout is that it's just as viable as any other cardiovascular activities AND it doesn't take too much time.
So how can you become a sprinter? Sprinting is vital for fitness, but it needs a progression so that your body can adapt to it. Franz's advice is to do several steps to gear yourself up before adding sprinting to your workout. If you try going to the track without proper preparation and understanding of sprinting mechanics, then you might face a future injury.
To learn how to sprint, you need to go back to the basics of crawling. Crawling is the first mode of locomotion you do before you can even stand and walk. Sprinting is a standing crawl and the final progression of locomotion.
Once you get the hang of crawling, here are Franz's next 3 steps to prepare yourself for a sprint workout:
1. March while standing in place
To connect the brain with the body and get into a rhythm of movement, begin marching while standing in place. By learning the sprinting cadence, you begin to learn important sprinting techniques such as moving on the balls of your feet, foot striking, and landing underneath your body. Try doing this technique for 5 minutes each day.
2. Build the intrinsic and small muscles of the feet.
Prepare your feet and lower legs for sprinting by building the intrinsic and small muscles of the feet by walking on your heels, toes, and the sides of the feet. First, do heel walks (walking on your heels) with the toes pointed upwards towards your shin. This helps to teach your ankles to be stiff and have dorsal flexed feet so that you run on the balls of your feet and not on your toes.
However, for the next exercise, to teach your body how to do a proper push off when you sprint, you need to lean forward on your toes as you walk. You shouldn't be walking on your tip toes, but leaning enough that your knees are straight as you walk.
For the third foot exercise, you need to do an around the world combination of cycling through these next motions. Begin by walking on your tiptoes followed by walking on the outside edges of your feet, the heels, and finally the inside edges of your feet. Cycle through these motions for 30-60 seconds once a day.
3. Create a great posture with shoulder mechanics
To create a great sprinting form, you should have good posture on the upper half of your body. Begin by sitting up straight. Next, simply start moving your arms in the same motion as you would when sprinting. This will help remind you to keep your arms up and in front of you to create momentum.
All of these steps can easily be done from the comfort of your home. After you have practiced each one, put them together for your next sprint workout.
"Regardless of your goals. If you're an endurance athlete, middle distance athlete, maybe just a strength athlete, sprinting will make you more athletic because it will enhance the functioning of your nervous systems and the way that your brain communicates with your body. And that's a good thing." -Franz Snideman
Just like crawling, you find yourself in a cross body pattern and motion as you sprint. This movement actually connects your body to both the left and the right brain hemispheres. Because of this link, your brain works better, you burn more calories, and you build more muscle and nerve tissue.
The brain develops from movement so that when we learn new skills, we end up building new nerve cells and tissues in the brain. People who do a lot of different movements and move really well tend to learn better than people who do not move on a daily basis. Because of this, short term sprinting is good for the brain because it takes you to a whole new level for a couple seconds before you come back to resting mode.
You don't have to worry about over exhilarating yourself because you have central governors in your brain that protect you from overdoing something that can cause harm to the body. For example, right before you reach your fastest speed, your brain will tell your body to stop going too fast should you pull a muscle.
However, this doesn't mean that you should let the central governors from moving and keep growing as a sprinter and athlete. Sprinting actually helps you to break free from the central governors and take your brain up a step.
Sprinting is not only good for the mind, but obviously the body as well to help you deal with glucose and insulin to shred excess fat and calories. If you take a look at professional sprinters, pole vaulters or hurdlers, their training involves high power and short duration sprints to be able to have their athletic physique.
When you add sprinting and other high intensity exercises to your workout, you should include it with a combination of strength training, walking, and an overall healthy lifestyle. With sprinting, you will see a progression overtime and eventually a healthier, more athletic you.
On Franz's Facebook page, he wrote this inspiring post:
"Success requires so much more than people can see. Enjoy the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs. It's all part of the process and Journey. Easily earned success is not character building and does not make you stronger. If you can understand that problems are opportunities to grow than you will not want to quickly give away or avoid your problems. Embrace the problems and the challenges as they make you better and more resourceful."
We are all on our own life journeys and we dream of different goals, but to get where we want to be, the pathway is not always easy and sometimes unplanned events can stop us from getting where we want to be in life.
You don't stop growing because there's a problem you're facing. Instead, you really grow by taking on the problem by yourself. Figure out which goals you want to achieve and obstacles to overcome. That way, you can grow emotionally and become a stronger person than your were before. It's fine to reach out for help, but understand your role to take on what needs to be done on your part. Nobody else can walk in your shoes. It's your life and your journey.
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