Hill-Running

Hill Running Repeats

Currently, I’m obsessed with treadmill inclines. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one thousand times; I train my clients as I train myself. That’s for better or worse, bitches. And right now I’m fahking ALL about treadmill inclines and hill repeat workouts. Spoiler alert, Barry’s Chicago.

NOTE: DO NOT CANCEL YOUR CLASSES BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO RUN HILLS. I’LL KNOW IF YOU DO. I CAN SEE THE ENROLLMENT AND I’LL NEVER STOP JUDGING YOU….JUST KIDDING! (BUT ACTUALLY, NOT REALLY!!).

Hear me out. In addition to being a great workout (duh), nothing gets your heart rate up faster than a series of hard hills. It’s the perfect combination of speed and strength training and sets the stage for improving your pace as your training progresses. The BEST part about hill work is the focus is on effort and power, not speed. Think about it this way; we lift to get stronger. And we’d never go lighter to gain mass or strength. Instead, we add weight and go heavier. The same applies to running. If you want to go faster and be better, you’ve got to add some resistance to your training to generate maximum force. Behold, hills.

Benefit Breakdown

  • Hill running increases lower body muscle power; improves fitness; and uses all your muscles in ways that are different than running on flat surfaces. Hill running is a total body drill, so get into it.
  • Inclines push your body and generate a higher cadence without actually running that fast. When it comes to running, I am INJURY PRONED. The second I try get faster, boom. Injured. It sucks. Hills are PERFECT for those who aren’t naturally fast runners but want to push themselves to their max.
  • Now get ready for this shit. Uphill sprints help with weight loss because they have the ability to burn more calories than traditional flat road sprints. SIGN ME UP.

How to Do It

Running uphill demands a broad range of motion from our stride. Form and economy need to be paramount throughout the entire workout.

Chest:

Your chest needs to be up and open to keep your airway unconstricted in order to breathe deeply. I’ll yell into the mic, “lean into the hill” or “lean into the dashboard” during my classes and sometimes that gets misunderstood. While there needs to be a slight lean into the hill, it needs to come from the hips, not the waist. If the “lean” translates into a hunch, then the rest of your form will go to shit, and that is NO BUENO.

Gaze:

Your body will follow your gaze. If you’re looking down, you’ll most likely slouch at the shoulders and collapse your chest. By looking up and ahead of what it’s front of your head, neck and spine will lengthen and organize the rest of your bod.

Arms:

Start with your arms relaxed by your side. Take a 90-degree bend at the elbow. Pull your elbows back while keeping that 90-degree bend. As your arms swing they have to stay in line with your body as opposed to crossing the midline. Avoid a white-knuckle grip, fingers are relaxed like you’re holding on to a post-it note.

Knees:

Focus on driving your knees up and off the ground as opposed to driving down.  Work on landing on the ball of your foot as opposed to the hell of a flat foot. If you’re a heel striker (like me), then you may find that running uphill actually helps you run with better form. That’s a real win!

Do It

Can’t make it to class this week? That’s okay. Do it on your own on a treadmill or outside. Take a steep hill and charge 20-30 seconds for 8-12 times. Run at MAXIMUM effort and force. Recover for 2 minutes by either walking downhill or on a flat road.

3 Comments

  1. Sarah Forney

    If this will help me look like you, I am 100% into it 😉 Just kidding (but not really). I normally HATE hills at Barry’s but this is super-informative and inspiration to get out there, get over myself, and tackle a few. Thanks love!

    • You’re too funny! There is strength in the struggle – truly! It helps to know WHY you’re doing something as opposed to going through the motion. Always ask questions if you’re wondering the rationale behind a workout! xo

  2. I recently moved to SF and the hills here are NO JOKE. Love this post and will keep these tips in mind next time I tackle those hills.

    http://shapinup.com

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