Build Speed and Endurance With These Hill Workouts

Add these hill workouts to your training routine to get faster and improve your conditioning.

A hill is an incredible workout tool. It immediately makes everything you do more difficult, because, well, you're moving up an incline.

Yes, you can simply run up a hill until you're tired. But this fails to maximize the training benefits that are possible when you work out on a hill. By carefully choosing exercises and structuring your hill workout, you can make ridiculously challenging speed or conditioning gains, depending on your goals.

Read More >>

A hill is an incredible workout tool. It immediately makes everything you do more difficult, because, well, you're moving up an incline.

Yes, you can simply run up a hill until you're tired. But this fails to maximize the training benefits that are possible when you work out on a hill. By carefully choosing exercises and structuring your hill workout, you can make ridiculously challenging speed or conditioning gains, depending on your goals.

Hill Speed Workout

Performing an exercise up a hill is similar to moving against resistance on flat ground, such as performing Resisted Sprints. Every movement is more difficult, so it's a great way to challenge your lower body and build power. The more power your muscles can produce, the faster you'll move in your sport.

The key to developing speed on a hill is to manage your workload. Hill workouts are difficult, and it's extremely easy to turn a hill routine into a conditioning workout by running too far and/or too frequently.

A proper hill speed workout should include max-effort sets followed by rest intervals that are three to five times longer than your  sprint or other exercise. This typically can be achieved by slowly walking down the hill after each set.

Here's a sample hill workout that develops multi-directional speed. Choose a hill that's about 30 yards long with a moderate incline. You're adding a challenge to traditional speed exercises, not trying to climb Mount Everest.

RELATED: Why You Should Never Do a Plyo Cardio Circuit

Hill Bounds

Hill Bounds

This plyometric move reduces the amount of time spent on the ground with each stride. The less time you spend on the ground, the more time you spend moving in the direction you want to go.

Sets/Distance: 4x10 yards

Hill Sprint

Hill Sprint

The Hill Sprint is the staple hill training exercise. Rather than attempting to develop top speed, which isn't possible when running uphill, you work only on acceleration. It teaches your legs to powerfully drive backward into the ground and reinforces the forward body lean you need to accelerate quickly.

Sets/Distance: 4x15-20 yards

Hill Shuffle

Hill Shuffle

During this drill, your trailing leg is responsible for driving off the ground, creating most of the power you need to move up the hill laterally. This improves your ability to drive off the ground when cutting to move from side to side or change directions.

Sets/Distance: 2x15 yards each direction

Hill Backpedal

Hill Backpedal

The Hill Backpedal is bit awkward to perform. Because of the incline, your torso stays more upright than when you move on flat ground. But that's OK. This move helps you drive powerfully off the ground when you have to move backward. And it seriously works your quads.

Sets/Distance: 4x15 yards

WATCH: Marcus Mariota's Resisted Backpedal

Hill Conditioning Workout

Hills are more easily used for conditioning. Run up a hill a few times and you'll be gassed. But let's be honest, that can get pretty boring. Instead, incorporate full-body moves into your routine. This will increase your conditioning and build muscular endurance.

The incline of the hill depends on your ability. In your first hill conditioning session, start with a small incline. If you're in great shape, challenge yourself with a steeper hill.

Perform the following exercises in a circuit, taking as little rest as possible between sets. You goal is to move through the circuit as many times as you can in 10 minutes.

Hill Lunges

Hill Lunges

Like the regular Lunge, the hill version builds lower-body strength. In a conditioning workout, Lunges become particularly challenging because they work the major muscles in your legs, which will be gassed by the end of the workout.

Distance: 25 yards

Hill Bear Crawl

Hill Bear Crawl

The Bear Crawl is a great full-body exercise. Try to move as quickly as possible. Keep your core tight and prevent your hips from bouncing up and down.

Distance: 25 yards

Hill Backpedal

Hill Backpedal

The Backpedal makes another appearance in the conditioning workout because it torches your quads. Use a medium pace, moving deliberately with each step to get the full quad-burning effect.

Distance: 25 yards

Hill Reverse Bear Crawl

Hill Reverse Bear Crawl

If you thought Bear Crawls were tough, the reverse version is infinitely harder because your upper body is driving you up the hill instead of your legs. When you do this move, you might find yourself hoping you're close to the finish line only to find that you're just a fraction of the way up the hill.

Distance: 25 yards

Hill Push-Up to Sprint

Hill Push-Up to Sprint

Sticking with the theme of full-body, this combo includes traditional Push-Ups combined with Uphill Sprints to increase the conditioning effect.

Distance: 5 reps + 25 yards

RELATED: Can You Handle the Uphill Roll?


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: LOWER BODY | UPPER BODY | LUNGE