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Speed, Strength, Power and Superiority – Hill Sprints

By Tom 0
12 May 2015

One thing is for sure, when ever I have mentioned these two words to my clients their faces drop and they all of a sudden become almost stroppy-teenager like. They know they’re going to have to work hard, they know it is going to be tough but most of all, they know that they are beneficial.

Today, we’ll be introducing and explaining why ‘Hill Sprints’ are the superior exercise tool to help improve your strength, speed, power, agility, posture and more.

Firstly, hills are everywhere, if you’ve ever been to Yorkshire, which is where I am from then you’ll fully understand that to go to the gym you need to go up a hill, to come home go up another, to the shop, another and so on. Hills are everywhere, we don’t need any equipment for them¬†which is a great benefit and a reason why hill sprints are a superior tool for training.

Below are 9 reasons why you should include hill sprints into your routine:

 

  1. They’re mentally tough – like it or not, hills are a sadistic pleasure. They’re hard and will mentally test you. You’ll hit your lactic acid threshold and feel the burn, you have to push yourself to continue to reach the top. Not only are you physically working out but pushing yourself mentally and therefore increasing the release of endorphines.
  2. They make you fist bump the air (or your partner) – that moment when you get to the top after you’ve thrown yourself up the hill as fast and as hard as you can you will fist bump the air. Guaranteed. Getting to the top (especially in a good time) is a great mental boost and will make you grin from ear to ear knowing you’ve completed a tough challenge.
  3. They take strain away from your knees – because you’ll never get a full range of motion with full hip extension you’ll naturally take pressure away from your knees with the impact. .
  4. They engage your entire posterior kinetic chain. Wait, what? Your posterior kinetic chain includes any exercises that work your hamstrings, glutes and lower back simultaneously.
  5. They’re great for weight loss and calorie burning. Hill sprints are a great way to increase dramatic calorie expenditure due to how much energy has been used and not only do they burn calories but engage lots of fast-twitch muscle fibres – the fibres that grow and increase size.
  6. They make you work hard – no matter what, you get half way up the hill and you won’t want to slow down. If anything you’ll want to speed up and drive yourself to the top. You’ll have to work hard, you won’t let it drop and you’ll want to beat yourself. Where else can you find this?
  7. They make you run faster – running with resistance has been proven to help increase your speed from using parachutes to pushing sleds. Hills combine all of these in one and due to the incline they also offer a shorter stride length resulting in longer ground contact therefore increasing drive, speed and power.
  8. They’re safe – because you’ll never reach 100% of your speed due to the incline and stride length your hamstrings are safe from overuse.
  9. They strengthen your ankles – due to the fact that you’re pushing off the floor up onto an incline, you’re ankle joint is used in a variety of ways. Hill sprints help to re-educate proprioception and ankle strength. This is particularly useful when you’re on the upwards drive, the more power you push with, the more power you’ll have. This will help your regular runs and speed.

Hopefully you’ll now find a hill nearby and think twice about taking the long route round. Hill sprints are great as you can see, so ensure you include them in your routine. More so, ensure that you stretch properly to decrease the onset of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), Foam Rolling is a great tool for this too.

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author: Tom

Tom has been in the fitness industry for over 8 years. He is qualified in functional movement, Kettlebells, Boxercise, Nutrition and many other qualifications. Tom is also the founder and director of ActivityX. For more information on Tom, see his trainer profile.

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