Josh Bryant hill sprinting.

“Hill sprints bring out something that you can’t really get in the weight room, something that you really can’t get on the track. All the guys that I know that worked out on a hill, they were a cut above the other competition around the league and they had long careers.” – Hall of Fame Linebacker, Mike Singletary

Whether the goal is #GASSTATIONREADY, upping your Tinder right-swipe ratio or just general health—hill sprints will benefit YOU.

Walter Payton may damn well be the best running back in NFL history.   “Sweetness” is remembered for his supernatural speed, power and ability to run the pig skin over and over again.  All of these traits were developed out of his training with hill sprints.

Similarly, Jerry Rice dominated as a receiver in the NFL into his forties and hill sprints were his fountain of youth. On the big screen, Rocky used this efficient, but extreme, method of conditioning to defeat Soviet superstar Ivan Drago.  

Hill sprints are very intense, but relatively safe, and catalyze power production, speed, fat burning and mental toughness in record time.  Recently, I have had great success integrating hill sprints into the training regimens of my tactical athletes, folks whose life or death depends on performance and cannot not effectively do their jobs if on the injured reserve list.

Hill Sprint Tutorial with Josh Bryant

A whole thesis could be written on the benefits of hill sprints, feel free to research them on PubMed or corner a doctor at a cocktail party; for now, here is a cursory overview, not an exhaustive list, of the benefit of hill sprints.

Safety: Because you are running up a hill, you never reach maximum limb speed. This serves as a built-in safety mechanism for your hamstrings! Remember, strength-to-bodyweight ratio is a key component in predicting sprint speed (many of you have a great one so be careful and use a hill).  

Strength:Hill sprints, like weight training, make you stronger! Hill sprints bridge the gap between strength training and speed training; they are in the middle of the force-velocity continuum. 

Body Angle:The angle of your body sprinting up a hill is very similar to the acceleration phase of sprinting, offering direct strength transference. Furthermore, hill sprints require your knees to pump high, increase your stride rate and teach aggressive shoulder action (essential for maximum acceleration).

Build Mental Toughness: All-out sprints repeatedly up a hill require testicular fortitude. You get in what you put in.  Half speed gets LESS than half results. Whether you’re chasing down a bully that stole your kid’s bike or just want to kick ass in the corporate picnic flag football game, you will be confident because you have sprinted hills.

Conditioning/Body Composition If you can sprint up hills, you will have no problem doing the same on flat ground.  Hill sprints greatly increase metabolic demand compared to traditional sprints; this greater requirement in output exponentially increases conditioning levels . Hill sprints have an amazing effect on body composition because they are essentially a hybrid between sprints and weightlifting.   Sprinters have some of the best physiques in the world.

Endorphin Rush/Psychological boost After performing hill sprints, I feel invincible and empowered.

Functionality Pop those bosu balls!  At the end of the day, regardless of the bastardization of this term by pseudo-intellectual personal trainers, this simply means how well does a movement transfer to a desired activity.  Hill sprints transfer positively to almost any activity.

Here are some guidelines to performing hill sprints:

  • Like always—WARM UP
  • The steeper the better; the hill should be difficult to walk up, let alone sprint up
  • Trouble finding a hill, get out your smart phone and do a Google search of landfills, steep hills, sledding hills
  • Push your knees up as you run, don’t clunk your heels on the ground
  • Do hill sprints after you lift weights or on an off day
  • Sprint means all out
  • Great results are achieved twice weekly 

Download the program HEREand start hill sprinting today!!!