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The Athletarian
The Athletarian

Sprinting is an athletic activity that involves running over a short distance in the shortest amount of time possible. It can also be defined as a fast way of reaching a target or a goal. Sprinting is an excellent way of burning fat at a fast rate. It also helps burn calories even after you have completed your workout.

What is the best body for sprinting?

There isn’t one ideal body type for sprinting. For a long time, people thought that a sprinter should have a muscular build and a height of between 5’11 and 6’3. However, sprinters like Usain Bolt have proved this notion wrong. According to scientists, Usain Bolt does not have the typical body of a sprinter, yet he is the fastest sprinter of his time.

At the moment, most people will tell you that the three main body characteristics of a good sprinter are lean, strong, and long legs. However, sprinting is more about training. With adequate training, people with different somatotypes can become excellent sprinters. In fact, if you watch the Olympics and other sports events, you will realize that sprinters can have different somatotypes.

It is also worth noting that the ability to sprint also partly depends on genetics. If you are looking to achieve enhanced athletic performance, the best thing to do would be to balance both speed and endurance.

Why are sprinters so muscular?

Sprinting is among the most explosive exercises in existence. Sprinters are so muscular because they the work targets parts of the body like the butt, hamstrings, quads, calves and abs. Sprinting helps to build lean and long muscles by promoting fat loss and increasing the body’s metabolic rate, even several days after the sprinting workout. It is also known to be the best way to tone the legs and butt without necessarily embarking on any resistance training. Sprinting is, therefore, an incredible alternative to workouts like squats, hack squats, as well as lunges.

Additionally, sprinting optimizes type II muscles which tend to be larger, explosive and more anaerobic. These muscles can burn a lot of energy at a faster rate. The large muscles on sprinters can be attributed to the fact that sprints require more force and fast acceleration.

Note that sprinters are born with a high level of fast-twitch muscle fibres. The role of the muscle fibres is to power maximum speed, strength as well as power movements over short amounts of time. The stress of speed challenges the muscle fibres, hence causing them to increase in size. This also explains why they have more muscles. However, the size increase tends to reach a stop when they reach a plateau. If the body is subjected to additional load, then there is a possibility that the gain may continue.

Can a distance runner become a sprinter?

There are two types of muscle fibres in the body (fast twitch and slow twitch). Fast twitch muscle fibres feature a predisposed level that sets the natural ability of a person to run and jump, among other athletic capabilities. However, there is also a neutral muscle with can either be trained to become a fast or slow-twitch muscle. With this muscle fibre, the change becomes permanent. This means that if it is trained to become a slow-twitch muscle fibre, it cannot re-convert itself into a fast-twitch muscle.

Therefore, a distance runner can become a sprinter if the issue of the neutral muscle fibre transforming to a state where it cannot re-convert is not an issue. This shouldn’t be much of a problem because most runners do not run nearly as long to make the muscle fibre convert permanently.

That being said, the answer to the question is YES, a distance runner can become a sprinter. However, it is quite challenging for a distance runner to become an Olympic discipline sprinter.

Differences between sprinters and endurance athletes

Sprinters are clearly differentiated from endurance athletes. Below are some of the main differences between these two types of athletes;

  • The main difference between a sprinter and an endurance athlete is the distance covered and the amount of time it takes. Sprinting involves completing a task or achieving a goal in the shortest amount of time. On the other hand, endurance athletes cover a long distance.
  • When it comes to strength, sprinters are stronger in the weight rooms while endurance athletes tend to be stronger over the long-haul. Although sprinters tend to look more muscular than endurance athletes who are typically lean. Either way, the bulky upper bodies that sprinters tend to have would not be an advantage to endurance athletes when it comes to performance.
  • Another primary difference between sprinters and endurance runners lies in the type of muscle fibre. As mentioned earlier, endurance or long-distance runners have fast-twitch muscle fibres while sprinters have short twitch muscle fibres.
  • Physically, apart from the bulky upper bodies, sprinters also have more glutes than runners. Glutes are the largest muscle in the body and they stabilize the lower back while exerting an ample amount of power and force. This is not the case with endurance athletes.
  • Additionally, sprinters have greater lower back curvature than endurance runners because of their increased gluteal bulk.
  • Another difference is that endurance runners have higher capacities of aerobics than sprinters.

Who holds the world record of the fastest sprinter?

Usain St Leo Bolt, known in short as Usain Bolt holds the world record for being the fastest sprinter of all time. He holds the world records for the 100m sprint, 200m sprint, and the 4 X 100m sprint relay. Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, is the only sprinter in history to win the Olympic 100m sprint and 200m sprint titles at three consecutive Olympics championships. Usain Bolt also holds the title of the fastest athlete on earth, hence his nickname “Lightning Bolt”.

However, the 400m sprint record holder is Wayde Van Niekerk from South Africa. Van Niekerk has held the 400m sprint record for four years now since he won the 400m sprint during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. He also participated in the 200m sprint but couldn’t beat Lightning Bolt.