How to Build Muscle From Sprinting

Sprinting gives you a total body workout with emphasis on your abdominal muscles, gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips and calves. Sprinting uphill or while pulling a load builds muscle more quickly than sprinting on flat ground due to the increased intensity of the workout. As a form of resistance exercise, sprinting builds muscles through creating trauma to your muscles, activating the body's muscle-repair system. Muscles grow larger through the repair process. The amount of muscle you can build depends upon many factors, including gender and age.

Uphill Sprinting

  1. Set up two markers 50 yards apart on a hill with a gentle gradient. According to Matt Fitzgerald in "The Hill Sprint Workout," a 4 percent to 8 percent gradient -- similar to a highway overpass ramp, is a good start for beginners.

  2. Warm up with five to 15 minutes of calisthenics, running on flat terrain or other exercise that uses your legs. Getting your blood flowing to your muscles, increasing muscle flexibility, is important for injury prevention during the stress of sprints.

  3. Sprint from one marker to the next, working close to your top speed. Maintain proper form while sprinting. -- Keep your head up and look straight ahead, with your shoulders pulled back and your arms pumping lightly. Push off each step from the balls of your feet without letting your heels touch the ground during the sprint.

  4. Walk back to the first marker. Rest one minute for every 10 seconds of sprinting.

  5. Repeat the sprint-rest cycle for four to five repetitions. Increase repetitions by one or two each week until you reach 20 sprints per workout. You can perform your sprint routine daily, like tennis pro Andre Agassi, or only once a week. But the more frequent your workouts, the more quickly you build muscle.

Sled Sprints

  1. Load a sled with enough weight to give you resistance, but not enough to break your form. If you are a flat-lander and have no hill or incline available for your sprints, you can get similar benefits to hill sprinting by pulling a sled. (Information for these steps comes from Reference 4.)

  2. Mark off a 20-yard course for your sled sprinting.

  3. Perform your warm-up routine, and then attach the sled cord around your waist.

  4. Sprint at near maximum speed to your marker.

  5. Rest for two minutes, and then sprint back to the first marker. Repeat the sprint-rest pattern for five sets.


    Hill sprints and sled sprints reduce your chances of injury from running because of the slower speed.


    Consult your medical doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.

About the Author

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.