Hill Sprints: How To, Why and How Often Should You Be Doing Them?

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How can you improve your running power and speed while reducing your risk of injury?

Hill Sprints!

As a bonus, Hill Sprints are an incredibly effective tool for increasing your body’s ability to burn fat.

If you run, chances are that you want to improve your running speed. You have to run faster to get faster. However, heading out at a full out sprint can increase your chances of injury. The best way to improve running speed while reducing your chance of injury is to incorporate hill sprints.

Why are hill sprints safer than sprinting on a flat surface? The increased angle of the hill decreases your risk of injuring your body, and forces you to slow down a bit while working at the same effort as you would going full out on a flat surface.

You have to build up the strength and musculature to support running at faster paces. Hill Sprints build muscle, and they will help your body handle hills much more efficiently during races.

Sprinting and intervals are two of the best methods for burning fat. When you combine these two ingredients and add hills to the mix you increase the metabolic benefit, resulting in a workout that can have a big impact on your body composition.

Getting Started:

You should always be warmed up before doing hill sprints. You can do this via running drills, or by completing an easy paced run prior to sprinting.

Be sure to rest and recover in between each hill sprint. As you become more advanced you can decrease recovery time.

When first starting out be sure to rest fully. This can be done by walking or slowly jogging back downhill to your starting point. If you need additional rest between reps take it.

*During Hill Sprints your goal is to try and reach the same point/distance during each sprint. Hill sprints can be done outdoors or an a treadmill with an incline setting.

Always finish a Hill Sprint workout with a Cool Down.

Hill Sprints can be completed safely 1-2X per week, with at least 2-3 days in between sessions. Make them a regular part of your training routine. 

If you are completing these exercises 1X per week extend the training cycle to 8 weeks and complete the workouts below (Week 1: Day 1, Week 2: Day 2, etc). 

Week 1

Select a hill with a moderately challenging incline (about 6%). 

Day 1: Complete 2 10-second hill sprints.

Day 2: Complete 4 10-second hill sprints.

Week 2

Select a hill with a moderately challenging incline. 

Day 1: Complete 6 10-second hill sprints.

Day 2: Complete 8 10-second hill sprints.

Week 3

Complete your hill sprints on a slightly steeper hill/incline (about 8%).

Day 1: Complete 8 12-second hill sprints.

Day 2: Complete 10 12-second hill sprints.

Week 4

Complete your hill sprints on a slightly steeper hill/incline (about 8-10%).

Day 1: Complete 8 15-second hill sprints.

Day 2: Complete 10 15-second hill sprints.

Repeat Week 4. When you feel that you have made maximum gains in speed and strength continue the Week 4 training, but reduce frequency to 1 Day of Hill Sprints per week. 

To measure gains in speed/strength pay attention to the distance covered and the amount of time spent in recovery. If recovery time is shorter, and/or the distance you cover in each interval is longer you are still making gains.

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