If you’re wondering what hill sprinting is, it’s exactly what the name suggests.
Performing a hill sprint comprises running up an inclined path at maximum speed while putting in maximum effort.
Normally, sprinters perform hill sprints on moderate inclinations (about 6-8%), but you can make it more challenging by working on steep inclines (more than 8%).
Even by reading this, you could understand that sprinting uphill is no piece of cake. Sprinting in itself is a full-body workout. If you do that on an inclined path, that would simply make things way harder.
So, why do fitness enthusiasts love to incorporate hill sprints into their workout programs?
That’s because there are multiple benefits of hill sprints. Let’s talk about them.
10 Benefits of Hill Sprints
Hill Sprints can be pretty painful, but they also come with their own set of advantages for all types of athletes.
Running up hills demand maximum effort from your body. The activity is so taxing that it increases our heart rate and puts a toll on our overall cardiovascular system.
Why is that a good thing?
Because this kind of physical effort is good for pushing yourself to the limit, but only for a short while. By doing so, you can enjoy several benefits without risking any injury or health issues.
Here are some primary benefits of hill sprinting:-
Build Physical Strength
You might not see it that way, but hill sprinting is a type of resistance training. After all, you are working against the force of gravity.
How is that any different from a weighted squat?
When you perform a bodyweight squat, you are engaging all your leg muscles. The same happens when you complete one repetition of a barbell squat. But you gain more muscle in the latter case. That’s because there is greater resistance.
The same principle applies to the concept of uphill sprinting. Because of increased resistance (gravity), your muscles will work harder, resulting in positive strength gain in muscles like the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and so on.
Reduce Injury Risks
There are a lot of common injuries that you can fall prey to when running or sprinting. One way to shield your body against such an outcome is by strengthening your running muscles.
And that is exactly what you do by completing a hill sprint. As we mentioned, sprinting uphill will result in maximum gains for your leg muscles. As such, they will be less prone to injuries associated with running or sprinting.
In simple words, hill sprinting makes your body capable of reaching the top speed without sustaining any injuries.
Physical fitness is a commitment that requires a lot of sincerity and determination. Even the most experienced fitness enthusiasts might eventually give up after living the routine for years.
But if you incorporate hill sprints into your training program, you will build a lot of mental toughness.
Uphill running is physically taxing and can prove to be extreme. But once you get into the habit of doing it regularly, you will be less susceptible to giving up.
We have already established that hill sprints are physically challenging. They force the body to push beyond its limitations for a short while.
Once you become a regular hill sprinter, you’ll find it easier to run on flat ground. Regular running will almost seem too easy for you.
That’s because hill sprinting will improve your stamina.
See, completing a single hill sprint causes your heart rate to increase rapidly. Reaching that level by running at a comfortable pace would require a lot of time and energy.
Thus, uphill running builds stamina by helping you train at your maximum capacity for a short period without spending all of your energy.
Good for Metabolism
Hill Sprints are high intense workouts. You can also do HIIT workouts with it.
Thus, you will burn almost twice as many calories if you are running uphill than you would if you run on a flat surface at a regular pace.
Hill sprints are so intense that they are able to boost your metabolism for the entire day, allowing you to become stronger and leaner.
Improve Heart Performance
Hill sprinting is good for your heart.
You might not believe us, but that’s fair, considering your heart rate would appear to be twice as fast after completing a single hill sprint.
But doing so can actually train your heart to be more efficient at pumping blood.
Thus, if you incorporate hill sprints into your regular training regime, it will improve the amount of oxygen that is pumped into your bloodstream and, finally, to different muscles and organs.
This is also one of the reasons why hill sprinters have better stamina than regular runners.
We already know that sprinting uphill has a positive influence on our lower-body, primarily the leg muscles.
But that’s not all. Uphill running can also strengthen your upper-body muscles. Because when you run on an inclined surface, you drive your arms harder, which engages your core and boosts your upper-body strength.
While the result will not be anywhere as good as strength training, this added benefit can mean a lot in the long run if you continue hill sprinting regularly.
Increase Stride Power
Stride power might seem insignificant to fitness enthusiasts. But it’s actually very important in your day-to-day life as well as in any activity that requires walking or running.
When you practice hill sprinting regularly, your steps or strides will become more purposeful and robust.
Thus, each step that you take will push you farther and also take less energy.
This will allow your body to run faster while draining lesser energy.
A hill sprint requires a burst of energy for 8-10 seconds before you go back to your normal position.
Thus, you can reap all the benefits of hill sprints in this short duration. Thus, your training will be more efficient compared to regular runners, who would have to run for miles to achieve similar levels of stimulation.
Increase Running Speed
All of the above-mentioned advantages combine to form another benefit for runners: you can increase your running speed by performing regular hill sprints.
Apart from enhancing cardiovascular capabilities and muscular strength, hill sprinting also improves one’s neuromuscular communication. Thus, your body will send messages to and fro your muscles much quicker, increasing the speed at which you perform any activity.
Ultimately, you will be able to run faster and improve your race timings.
While there are many attractive benefits to hill sprinting, beginners shouldn’t rush into such routines without proper planning. Uphill running is a strenuous activity that requires a lot of work from your body. As such, maintaining caution should be a priority.
But once you get into that rhythm, you will see improvements in all aspects of your physical and mental well-being.