Hill sprints are one of my favorite forms of conditioning. I try to avoid using the word “cardio,” because, as I have mentioned in previous articles, it conjures up visions of mindless work on a treadmill or elliptical trainer.
The goals of a conditioning session are to improve endurance, stamina, heart function and, of course, to stimulate fat loss through an increase in your metabolic rate both during and after the session. Such goals are accomplished most effectively through interval-style training where you are working hard for a short bout then resting and repeating the cycle.
Hill sprints are one of the best ways to get lean, strong and increase your stamina. I love using them, because you literally can do them anywhere—you just need a hill of some kind. And, they are great for people of all levels.
MINIMIZE INJURY RISK
I like to recommend these to people who may be a bit more de-conditioned, because the incline will actually decrease the risk of injury that comes with a flat surface sprint. It is much more likely that you could injure your hamstrings or quadriceps doing a flat surface sprint.
With the hill sprint, you can use your body’s natural angle and get up the hill at your own pace. As you get stronger and fitter, you will gradually increase your speed and decrease the rest time.
ANY HILL WILL DO
There is no “best” hill for these training sessions. Ideally, you want a hill that will take you 20-30 seconds to get to the top. The steeper the hill, the more challenging it will be. If you have a long hill, you can always break it up by sprinting 20 seconds at a time followed by a rest.
You will sprint up the hill as fast as you can and then walk down. The walk down will be your rest, but take about 10 seconds at the bottom to reset yourself and then blast off again. If you need a few more seconds, take it.
A HILL SPRINT WORKOUT
Here is a hill workout for a shorter hill:
Foam Rolling & Soft Tissue Work (Do this at home before you go.)
10 Walking Lunges
10 Leg Swings
10 Jump Squats at 70% effort
Sprint up the hill (About a 20 – 30 second distance) & walk down: Repeat 10-12 times
Adding sprints into your training routine is a great way to get lean. It’s a taxing, full body exercise guaranteed to push you to your limits!
I typically recommend five days of training. Three days will be heavier strength work, one day of metabolic or Strongman-style training and one day of sprints.
Give these hill sprints a try and leave a comment about how it went for you.