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In this article, we’re going to be learning about 30 second Max Effort Sprints. 

In this article, we will discuss

– The physiological benefits of 30s max effort sprints

– Case study of how Jordan Gill has benefitted from these workouts

– How to perform them on different conditioning formats

What are 30s Max Effort Sprints?

Quite simply these are 100% sprint efforts for 30 s, repeated a minimum of 4 times, with 3 minutes recovery between each 30 s effort.

The key to the success of these intervals is in the initial attack because it the first 5, 10 and 15 s of the interval all play a role in how you’ll adapt to this session. 

The last 15 s is all about focusing on your technique and trying to maintain relaxed in the face of extreme fatigue and pain. 

What do they do to my body?

The key to the success of this session is in the first half each rep. We want you to attack the intervals as hard as you can. 

This strategy has mechanical and physiological benefits. When you’re fresh(er) at the start of each rep you can run faster, and running fast requires you to recruit a lot of muscle and coordinate its movement in time and space to create speed. In other words your training your body to rapidly produce high force. 

By running faster you stimulate calcium release, deplete high-energy sources within the muscle, produce a lot of acidosis and in turn metabolites and you also release a lot of adrenaline. All of these factors interact and combine to send very strong adaptive signals for your muscles to improve their ability to utilise oxygen within the cell. 

These sessions are so effective that it’s possible to observe clear adaptations within 6 to 9 sessions, making this approach to training ideal for the start of camp. 

Why is this good for Boxing?

Boxing is a sport that requires repeated high-intensity actions that are dependent upon the aerobic energy system. 

30 s max effort sprints help you train your ability to rapidly produce and sustain high-forces that are important to the success of combat sports performance. 

And because your performance is dependent on your aerobic energy system, and although these look like anaerobic efforts, they have a strong aerobic demand, especially as the session continues – and its this aerobic demand that helps you to improve the way your cells utilise oxygen – therefore helping aerobic performance capability. 

Do They Actually Work? – Case Study – Jordan Gill

Several scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of 30 s sprint interval training and at boxing science, we have collected over 10,000 data points from our 30 s maximum effort sprint sessions.

One of our favourite ways to share information is through case studies. So to demonstrate the effectiveness of 30s max effort sprints, we’ll analyse the progress of featherweight champion Jordan Gill. 

The importance of monitoring performance is exemplified in the figure below.

The graphs have various key elements to them; 1) the speed of the interval displayed on the vertical axis; 2) the blue dots that represent speed recorded at 7, 17 and 27 s for each set (1 – 4); 3) data collected in 2016, 2017 and 2018 which describes the progression Jordan made during these calendar years and 4) the shape of the line that join the dots together.  

Peak Speed

In 2016 Jordan’s peak speed in the first and second intervals is 23 and 24 km/h. In 2018 These values increased to 28 km/h. He is now able to produce more energy, recruit higher force motor units and co-ordinate his muscles to achieve faster speeds.

Final Rep

As Jordan progresses through the session he’s able to consistently maintain better speeds throughout and in the final rep maintains his speed far better in 2018 compared to 2016.

The decline in speed in 2016 is 6.5 km/h and is comparable in 2018 but his speeds are much higher. If this was a race over 100-m the Jordan Gill in 2018 would beat his 2016 self by 1.6 s or 9%. Those margins are huge at the elite level.

1.6 seconds

As of 2018, Jordan Gill would beat his 2016 self by 9% on a 100m sprint

Curve profile

You’ll also notice that in 2016 the slop of his speed decline is steep whereas in 2018 there’s more of a tick mark in the final 10 s.

This demonstrates he’s able to maintain his speed more consistently across the reps in the face of mounting fatigue.

Jordan has improved his ability to work at high-intensity, recover and repeat.

How to perform 30 second max effort sprints

Want to learn more about conditioning for Boxing performance?

Boxing Science online members can access a video workshop where Dr Alan Ruddock and Danny Wilson discuss the principles, benefits and science behind 30 second max out sprints.