Have you ever noticed the difference between a runner's physique and a sprinter's? Sprinters typically have more definition to the tone in their legs and abs than distance runners. This is because sprinting targets six specific muscle groups: hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hips, abdominals and calves. Sprinting is a total body workout featuring short, high-intensity repetitions and long, easy recoveries. To sprint means "to race or move at full speed," according to Health and Fitness Solutions.
Hamstrings and Quadriceps
The hamstrings are the muscles located at the back of your thigh, and the quadriceps are the muscles located in the front of your thigh. When you sprint, as the free leg swings forward and the knee starts to extend before the foot strikes the ground, the hamstrings work to control knee extension. This is known as a hip extension. When the foot strikes, the hamstrings and quadriceps co-contract to stabilize the knee during ground contact; then, as the leg pushes off, the hamstrings help with forward propulsion. These muscles also assist in stabilizing the body while sprinting.
Glutes and Hips
Sprinting has been argued to be the best way to firm the glutes and hips, according to Bodybuilding.com. Just as when you walk you extend your hip, you're also doing this when you sprint, but at a much quicker pace. The faster you sprint, the more you're working your glutes and hips.
You're contracting your abs while you sprint. The force and pressure generated by this ab contraction allows the body to stay upright and stabilized. Sprinting also increases fat loss, which is needed for an effective ab workout. When you sprint you're pumping your arms and legs, which gets your body in an anaerobic state, and triggers fat burning.
The calves—the lower back of your legs—are in charge of many actions and movements. For example, anytime you press down with your toes to walk or run you need the calf muscle. When you sprint, you're pushing off on your toes and putting intense pressure on your lower legs, causing your calves to be toned.