As athletes we know that adding resistance to sprints can bring massive increases in your speed.
We have all seen athletes running with parachutes, dragging tires, and pulling sleds. We even do banded sprints to help athletes increase their explosiveness during the acceleration phase of their sprints.
Overcoming resistance will help you overcome inertia when standing in a stationary position. Essentially, doing hill sprints helps you go from a static position to full speed faster as you have to overcome the increased resistance when acceleration up the hill; overcoming that resistance also increases the amount of force the body can produce additionally increases the rate of force development.
The great thing about hills is that you do not need additional equipment or a training partner to get an incredible resistance sprinting workout.
Teaching The "A" Position
Hill sprints can help in a key phase of sprinting and specifically one of the bigger coaching ques we use... "Knees Up," or what we call the A position or acceleration position. Getting to an A position and reinforcing that technique can not only help make you faster but help teach you to properly force the ground away from you naturally propelling you forward.
Dorsiflexion or Toe Up
In addition to reinforcing the A position and teaching the knees up technique, hill sprints force dorsiflexion or what we call the toe up position. When sprinting we must pull our toes up to create the proper "spring" effect and decrease ground contact time, naturally increasing ground reaction force. Think of dorsiflexion like loading, the more we can pull the toe back, the more potential energy there is to put force into the ground.
Sprinting hills will give you a maximum effort workout without placing a lot of stress on your hamstrings. Since we never reach max velocity speeds, we are at lower risk of tweaking the hamstring during the max velocity phase of running and the deceleration phase.
Obviously we don't want to neglect training the hamstrings, but this is a good way to avoid overtaxing the muscle.
Try These Workouts:
Regular Hill Sprints
Start in a two-point stance.
Drive out of your stance and sprint up the hill as fast as possible.
Sprint a distance of roughly 20-30 yards on each rep.
Slowly walk back down the hill between reps.
Perform for 6-8 reps with 45-60 seconds of rest between.
Speed Ladder Drills
Find a hill with a slight to moderate incline.
Perform your speed ladder drill as you would normally, progressing up the hill.
Once you've stepped through the final rung, immediately sprint 5 yards.
Walk back down to the start of the ladder and repeat as necessary.
Check out our Youtube and Instagram pages to see some of these workouts in action plus more!
KAUPPINEN, T. (2007)How hill sprints make you run faster[WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni39a6.htm [Accessed10/4/2020]
Hall, Brandon. “King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed.” STACK, 12 May 2015, www.stack.com/a/hill-run-exercises.