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The Benefits of Hill Training

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Don't run before you can walk

Getting back on the hills this winter has been a great contrast to a year ago. Like my advice to you, I'd start very slow with small steps and walk when necessary.

Your get fit quick challenge

The good news is, fitness benefits are relatively quick to take effect when going up and there are some great views from high places!

Here in Bristol, it’s hard not to come by a steep incline practically on your doorstep so try a few ups and downs nearby whether it be a substitute for a workday lunchtime stroll, or incorporate into a weekend run. Wherever you are start small and find the best viewpoints around. Challenge on.

A strong runner:

Training on hills improves leg muscle strength, develops your cardiovascular system, improves stride/running economy and core strength as arms strive harder. Uphill will engage glutes and hamstrings with downhill requiring more stability from the knee joints as you engage the quadriceps.

Down with sore legs:

If you've experienced sore quadriceps on a long walk or run, likely it was due to the descent. Training eccentrically (eccentric or negative training) is where the muscle lengthens, but you are still applying tension, such as lowering your body weight slowly to a squat position (similar to which you'd be doing when cautiously going down a steep hill). The lowering phase of a squat when done in a controlled manner can help combat the soreness of your expeditions. Try the following tempo with your next set of squats...

Lower to a squat in 4 seconds (eccentric phase)

0 seconds hold at bottom of the exercise

Stand up in 2 seconds

0 seconds at standing (go straight into the next squat)


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