Hill Sprints: King of Fat Loss
Get off the treadmill.
Forget the elliptical.
If you want to shred fat, you NEED to be doing hill sprints.
If your goal is to add muscle - you need to be doing hill sprints.
Actually, unless your goal is to be the best marathon runner, you should probably be doing hill sprints.
There’s a reason football legends Walter Payton and Jerry Rice preferred hill sprints: because they work.
Why should I do hill sprints?
Hill sprints are king for burning fat. Think of hill sprints as one way of doing HIIT (high intensity interval training). Except, unlike doing HIIT on a exercise bike, you’re outside in the sun with the wind blasting through your hair.
Hill sprints are also excellent for building muscle. Have you ever looked at a world-class sprinter? They are jacked as hell.
(picture of sprinter vs. marathon runner)
Which body would you rather have?
So - we have an exercise that both burns fat and builds muscle.
Is there any reason NOT to do hill sprints?
They hurt like hell. Which means they also build mental toughness...on top of burning fat and building muscle.
Yeah, there’s no reason you SHOULDN’T be doing hill sprints.
Ok, how do I start doing hill sprints?
Step 1: Find A Hill
To do hill sprints, you need to find...a hill.
Go out and walk/drive until you find a hill that is at minimum of 40 yards long, but preferably at least 100.
Step 2: Warm Up
This is VERY important, as it is easy to pull your hamstring or tweak your ankle running hill sprints.
Spend at least 10-15 minutes performing calisthenics and dynamic stretching.
Think back to PE in middle school. Do stuff like:
- Jumping jacks
- Arm circles
- Leg Swings (front-back and side-side)
- Walking lunges
- High knees
- Butt kicks
Step 3: SPRINT!
Let’s talk sprinting technique.
We’re not training for optimal 40-yard dash speed, so instead of a static start, take a flying start: run at a lower intensity for 15-20 yards, working up to full speed.
You don’t want to be stiff while running sprints. Don’t close your fists or clench your jaw. Relax your body, from your face to your toes. Keep your chest and head up - NEVER look at the ground - and pull your shoulders down. Your head and torso should stay facing forward with zero side deviations.
Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and point your hands straight. When you run, imagine jabbing your elbow into someone behind you. You want to be pumping your arms vigorously - imagine them “pulling” you through the air. Do NOT cross your arms over your body as you run
Drive your knees high, and be sure your heel NEVER touches the ground - you should LIGHTLY land on the balls of your feet. Immediately think of “pushing” your body away from the ground with intensity the instant your foot touches the ground.
Done correctly, you should feel minimal joint impact or stress - you should feel as if you’re gliding.
Watch some of the best to ever sprint. The technique is the same, even on a hill.
If this is your first time sprinting since senior night in high school - TAKE IT EASY.
I’m talking a MAXIMUM of five 20-40 yard sprints.
Sprinting is a marathon, not a sprint.
Your goal is to gradually build up your stamina over time.
Each week, aim to increase either the number of sets performed, or the distance each sprint is ran.
Choose a distance goal you are comfortable with. Again, we want a minimum of 20-40 yards. I prefer 100 yards - imagine running a kickoff back for a touchdown.
Do hill sprints only one day per week, two AT MOST. Hill sprints are highly effective for fat loss - but they are taxing to the CNS and you need adequate time to recover. This is especially important if you’re lifting legs twice per week, and if you’re doing any other sort of cardio (such as running).
Why am I writing a conclusion? I shouldn’t have to say much else. Either you do hill sprints or you don’t.
Now, go find yourself a hill and get sprinting!