In every sport I have played I was always told that Hill sprints are the go to activity to increase speed and overall leg strength. I have been told while I was plateauing at squatting and cleaning to do some hill sprint intervals to get past that plateau. It worked for me, I completely forgot about it until recently when I was talking with some old football and wrestling buddies. I found some good information for you guys to look into. Yes I know sprints suck and the make your legs feel terrible in the moment but the fact is it could be one of the most single beneficial and basic ways to getting gains and increasing your conditioning. Here are some basic hill sprinting facts, just food for thought for you guys. So get out there its free, just find a hill and own it. Like Whitney says if you dont like sprints fake it until you make it!
1) Running hill sprints is a self-instructing activity when it comes to proper running mechanics. Because of the incline, sprinting up hill forces a runner to not let his or her feet get too far out beyond their center of gravity. This keeps athletes running on the balls of their feet and less likely to strike on their heels at the end of a stride. Heel strikes beyond one’s center of gravity when running are some of the main causes of hamstring pulls. Running up hill also forces one to keep a forward lean of the torso because leaning back while powering up hill is nearly impossible. All these good habits then transfer over to flat ground running, ensuring proper running mechanics, thus, reducing the risk of injury.
2) Short distance sprinting of all forms, but especially up hill, is a great way to build muscle and strength while simultaneously increasing speed. There are very few movements that actually increase cardiorespiratory health, burn fat, and build maximal strength and speed simultaneously. Performing sprints regularly will increase explosive power and hip drive which will have great carry over to big lifts like the squat and deadlift. All while taking time off one’s 40-yarder.
3) Perhaps the greatest benefit to hill sprinting is the strength of character it builds. Ending a training session by powering up a hill provides a great feeling of accomplishment. Life itself, as we all know, is a continuous up hill battle.Standing on top of a hill one just conquered builds the strength of character needed to face trials and adversity that constantly challenge our levels of perseverance and fortitude. Remember that you need to first challenge and overcome yourself before you can overcome the world. And hill sprinting will help you do this.
Because hill sprinting is a high-intensity, high-impact exercise, it should be limited to three times a week on nonconsecutive days. Beginners should start out with once a week hill sprints or hill jogging and gradually increase the intensity or volume of the training over time. A thorough warmup is essential prior to any sprinting activity to ensure the hamstrings are properly warmed up. Begin with a five to 10 minute jog, followed by some moderate-speed sprint between 60 to 75 percent of max speed. Stretch your upper and lower body, particularly your hamstrings prior to beginning your hill sprints.
Hamstrings & Glutes
Sprinting uphill forces you to lift your knees high up, off the ground, which activates and helps strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. Strong glutes and hamstrings not only help to increase speed during traditional sprints, but also help prevent injuries. Hamstring pulls are one of the common injuries that occur during regular flat-surface sprints. The inclined surface works to prevent hamstring injuries by not allowing a complete stretch of the muscle during the sprint as it does with flat or downhill running. Furthermore, sprinting uphill is an extremely high-intensity exercise, but prevents you from running at full speed, which also reduces your risk for hamstrings pulls.