Real quick, I had a great time in Charlotte at our business getaway/powerlifting meet. I was quite inspired by how the SAPT’ers competed; beautiful, strong lifts were performed by all. I’m gonna ride this wave of inspiration as long as I can. For those who don’t know, my training has taken a little dip in recent months (just not as frequent or as focused as I’d like), but I intend to turn that around.
One of the mechanisms I’ve reintroduced into my regimen is hill sprints. Readership, meet my hill:
I like hill sprints for many reasons, those being:
For those who haven’t done much sprinting since their “glory days,” hill sprints will be a much safer option than flat-ground. The risk of having your hammy blowout the backside of our leg, our achilles run up into your glute (yes, slight exaggeration) will be minimized in this setting. The reason being, due to the grade of the hill, there will be less eccentric stress placed on the joint (and it’s connective tissue) and surrounding musculature.
Your posterior chain will be barking for days (hammy, glutes, etc.) after a hill session. Just ask my wife (whom I’m very proud to say has been accompanying me on these hill ventures). The day after our hill sprint session I received a text saying, “My behind is starting to hurt!”
By adjusting your work to rest ratio you can just as easily acquire speed and acceleration improvement as well as improved conditioning. Longer rest periods will be needed to improve speed (think 3 min between sprints), and for conditioning more of a constant pace (less rest between sprints).
Before you go all willy-nilly on a hill sprint session, heed the following precautions and recommendations:
Perform a dynamic warm-up prior to engaging in the sprints. Then, run up the hill at about 60%, then 70%, and finally about 80% before kicking into hyper drive.
For beginners I’d recommend finding a hill that’s about 20-40yds. Start with about 5 sprints (trust me, this will definitely be enough), and then gradually increase volume over time. Two hill sprint sessions per week will be more than sufficient. I’d also recommend running with about 90-95% intensity as it’ll allow you to recover more quickly between sessions and incur less CNS fatigue.
And careful of the pine cones on the way down…