I have never felt less fit than when I first attempted uphill sprints. You know how even the fittest bodybuilder seems to be out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs? Now imagine sprinting up them. I swear if there’s a zombie apocalypse on even a slight slope I am screwed.
However, as usual in the world of fitness, if it’s horrible and painful, it’s usually really good for you. So here are 6 reasons why you should at least consider uphill sprints for your cardio:
1. Cardiovascular endurance
Even the most confident runner will feel the difference when they start sprinting uphill, putting their heart and lungs to the test in order to get enough oxygen to their muscles. Training at these higher levels of intensity will increase the capacity of your heart and lungs, making regular training seem SO much easier in comparison.
2. Makes you a better runner
If you are a runner or would like to be, uphill sprints will strengthen and condition your muscles (as well as your aforementioned cardiovascular system) which will increase your performance running on flat surfaces. So whether you run for fun or you’re training for an event, uphill sprints are a sure-fire way to break through a plateau and increase your performance while at the same time tweaking your form to improve your running technique.
3. Better running technique
Uphill running forces your knees to pump higher; makes you run on your forefoot to midfoot, avoiding heel strike; increases your stride rate while controlling your stride distance, and forces better breathing control.
4. Build muscle
Uphill sprints are incredibly challenging and will cause your body to work harder, and the slope of the hill (or treadmill) will work to build up muscle groups such as your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and even upper body muscles and core strength.
5. Fat loss
We already know that interval training can have a dramatic impact on fat loss, so why not make it more intense and burn more calories by running uphill? Great fun!
ShapeFit suggests that a 155-pound person running for an hour on an even, level surface burns 563 calories. The same person would burn 1056 calories running uphill. I mean, good luck to whoever thinks that running uphill for an hour is a good idea.
In addition to burning loads more calories, the intensity of uphill sprints, like all HIIT exercises, will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day. All in all, helping you to become both stronger and leaner.
6. Reduce the risk of injury
Nothing will stall your progress more than an injury, and a major benefit of uphill sprints is the reduction of that risk. The incline will force you to shorten your stride and lessen the impact on your body, thereby all-but eliminating the risks of flat-level sprints.
So basically, uphill sprints are great but horrible. If you have the mental strength to add them to your weekly workouts, make sure you give your body enough time to recover between sessions. Two or three sessions a week is plenty to see some real benefits, fast!
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