Sprint for strength
RUNNING has become a standard for fitness, both at a casual and competitive level, crossing over into non-track-and-field sporting activities whose participants now include sprinting as anaerobic exercise for maximum performance.
Two of Jamaica's most successful teams, the Sunshine Girls and combined martial artists, have used sprint training and participation in events such as road races to complement exercises specific to their respective sports.
An anaerobic exercise is a
workout intense enough to trigger lactate formation. It is used by sportsmen and women in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power.
Though the average person may casually jog to remain fit, sportsmen and women crank it up a notch to use sprint training, similar to track and field athletes, to help cope with the effects of lactic build-up.
Sports such as netball and martial arts require sudden bursts of speed, over extended periods, which quickly deplete oxygen, changing the muscles' energy need from aerobic (oxygen) to anaerobic, a build-up of lactic acid, which operate as a temporary energy source, thus helping to better
Founder and former captain of Jamaica's combined martial arts team, Jason McKay, said he had long realised the benefits of utilising a sprint regime in the unit's preparations for its many overseas assignments against the world's best fighters.
"To much criticism and ridicule, even from other practitioners of martial arts who questioned whether I was training sprinters or fighters, for years I have used a sprint programme in the strength workout for the male and female combined martial arts teams," McKay told the Flair.
"It is the hardest training of any sport I have been exposed to but the anaerobic benefits are second to none," added McKay, pointing out that the male combined team has been undefeated in 56 team fights.
Members of the combined team won a historic International Taekwondo Federation team-sparring gold medal for Jamaica at the World Cup held in Montego Bay last August.
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls, the world's fourth-ranked netball team, which won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, last year, competed at this year's Gibson Relays and were seen sprinting the early stages of the Sigma Run.
Shanice Beckford, Malysha Kelly, Vangelee Williams and Adean Thomas were among the quartet representing the Sunshine Girls.
"I was an athlete in high school, running the 100 and 200 metres," said Beckford, pointing out that the experience was good as "netball requires quick moves".
Lanky goal defence Kelly said sprint training helps add power to her game.
"It definitely gives us more strength," she said.
McKay, who also coaches the female combined martial arts
team, said sprint training is a good supplementation for weights.
"It costs significantly less and also cuts down on injuries sustained by lifting too heavy. In
addition, not every woman who wants to be strong wants to have a bulky appearance," he pointed out.