The Benefits of Hill Training
Benefits of Hill Running:
Hill training is beneficial exercise for runners. It improves your fitness level and helps you run faster.
There are many reasons why hill running is good for runners. Here are some of them:
1) Increased range of motion : Your muscles get used to working at higher inclines which results in better strength development and less injury risk.
2) Decreased impact forces : You don’t have to deal with the high force of impacts when you run uphill.
These forces are absorbed by your body instead. This reduces your chance of getting injured.
3) Improved cardiovascular system : It increases blood flow to all parts of your body including heart and lungs, which means it will improve endurance levels and increase oxygen uptake in your muscles.
Also, it improves aerobic capacity in general which is vital for long distance running.
4) Improved flexibility : It improves your ability to bend and twist.
This makes you feel more comfortable while running up hills.
5) Increased muscle tone : This helps you build stronger muscles which will make your legs and feet faster and more efficient.
6) Increased energy levels : Hill training boosts your energy levels which can help you run longer distances faster than if you were not doing any type of hill training.
You can see that hill training has its benefits for runners. It definitely improves running in general and can help you run faster.
Hill Training vs Speed Work:
Before we move on, it is important to know the differences between speed training and hill training. They have some overlap but are ultimately different in many ways.
1) Speed training is useful for building fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers are responsible for quick movements in sports and other activities. They contract quickly which causes a burst of speed when you are running.
Hill training focuses on slow-twitch muscle fiber. Slow-twitch muscle fiber contract slowly, but they can keep going for a long period of time which allows you to run longer distances at a steady pace.
2) Speed training improves your anaerobic energy system.
This produces quick bursts of energy for a short period of time. Hill training improves your aerobic energy system which produces a constant supply of energy over a long period of time.
3) Speed training is great for improving leg muscle strength and quickness.
Hill training helps improve core muscles and strength in general.
4) Speed training can be dangerous if you over do it or you try advanced exercises without any preparation.
This can cause muscle strain or other injuries. Hill training is much safer as long as you know what you are doing and are not going at too great of an incline.
It still can cause injuries but it is less likely to happen unless you are going at an extremely high incline.
5) Speed training is best done outdoors on tracks or fields where you have plenty of space to move around and train at higher speeds.
Hill training is best done on actual hills where you get natural cardiovascular benefits and muscle tone improvements with every step.
Now let’s move on to the actual techniques of hill training.
Before you start any physical activity it is a good idea to warm up your muscles first. Take a slow jog for 5-10 minutes.
This will get your blood flowing and your muscles ready for more intense activity.
For this exercise you are going to need to find a good hill. The steeper the incline the better.
But don’t worry, inclines this steep are pretty common and you are likely to find them just about anywhere. Begin walking up the hill at a slow to moderate pace. You should only be going at about a fast a pace as you are able to hold a conversation. If you cannot talk then you are going too fast. Walking at this incline at this speed will help you improve your aerobic capabilities. You can also hold a book in your hand and raise it over your head every time you take a step. This will help make the exercise a bit more interesting and give you something to pay, helping to prevent boredom from setting in.
This is basically the same exercise as Incline Walking except that you are going to be running up the hill instead of walking. Running at a steep incline is much more difficult than running on a flat surface or even on a slight incline.
You will not be able to talk while you are running and it will be hard to breathe. This exercise helps strengthen the anaerobic muscles in your legs, improving your speed and endurance. Hold a book in your hand and every time you take a step raise the book over your head. This will help keep your mind occupied and prevent you from getting bored. You can also try counting your steps as a way to keep track of your pace.
This exercise is just like Incline Running except you are going to be sprinting up the hill. This will really improve your anaerobic muscular endurance while strengthening your leg muscles.
Try to avoid this exercise if at all possible. It is very tiring and can cause major leg cramps if you do it too often. If you do insist on doing this don’t hold a book while sprinting. You won’t be able to see it anyway and you will likely throw it down after a few minutes out of frustration. Hold on to it for too long and you are just wasting time by not putting it to practical use.
This exercise is going to be pretty easy. All you have to do is run down the hill at full speed.
It helps to pick a hill that isn’t too steep or else you may lose control and take a nasty fall. Also make sure there are no people below you in case you do lose control. This exercise helps improve your speed and also strengthens your legs a bit. It can also help give you a bit of distance in some cases if you are trying to get away from an Attacker and you need to get to the bottom of the hill as quickly as possible.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The evidence of benefits of exercise training in interstitial lung disease: a randomised controlled trial (LM Dowman, CF McDonald, CJ Hill, AL Lee, K Barker… – Thorax, 2017 – thorax.bmj.com)
- Even highly experienced drivers benefit from a brief hazard perception training intervention (…, K Taylor, S Newnam, M Wetton, A Hill – Accident Analysis & …, 2013 – Elsevier)
- Cost benefit analysis of placing moderately and severely handicapped individuals into competitive employment (M Hill, P Wehman – Journal of the Association for the …, 1983 – journals.sagepub.com)
- The benefits of exercise training in interstitial lung disease: protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial (…, CF McDonald, C Hill… – BMC …, 2013 – bmcpulmmed.biomedcentral.com)