Let’s talk about using Hill Sprints as our fat burning interval training workout.
The warm up
I would recommend a specific warm up set or two where you’re doing 50% or 75% rather than going full on into your first interval. So let’s imagine that I have done my bodyweight warm-up at a 50% interval and then a 75% interval, and now I am going to tackle this hill.
The great thing about the Hill Sprints is that it reduces the length of your stride. So when you are running flat, and you extend out that’s where people have problems with their hamstring causing injuries. But this way of training shortens your stride, and less impact with every step compared to flat running, and it’s hard. Hopefully, you can find a hill that can challenge you for 20, 30 even 45 seconds.
One thing I would like to mention is; don’t get too worried about having to sprint for 30 and recover for 60 and it takes you longer to walk down the hill. Don’t worry about it too much.
It’s great in theory, and I will talk about in theory what the best interval training is, but don’t get too worried about losing some of the amazing fat-burning benefits you get from interval training just because your hill takes a little bit to recover from.
How to start running your intervals
Start fairly close to the incline so you don’t have that overstraining problem causing hamstring injury. Once I am ready I am going to take on that hill by running up it and then walking down the hill.
Running for fat loss
It will take two or three time longer to walk down the hill. If you’re going for FAT LOSS alone, then turn around and go right back up to continue this for 6,8 or 10 intervals depending on how long it takes you to run up the hill, your fitness level, and goals.
If you haven’t run hill sprints in a long time, or you’re doing them for the first time, start off with doing only 4-5 sprints and see how the body responds the next couple of days. You can then progress from there.
After the first hill sprint session, you can add 1 or 2 rounds the next time you run them if you are recovering fine and that is how you can progress. For example, in your first week, you would do hill sprints twice a week and you would do 4-5 sprints. The following week, you could start doing 6-8 hill sprints twice a week. If you’re still recovering fine, then you could progress to doing them 3 times a week.
Even if you find yourself in top shape, you shouldn’t perform hill sprints more than 4 times a week. You certainly want to challenge yourself, but doing too much too fast can also lead to injuries as well.
Measure your progress
A cool way to watch your progress is to bring a stopwatch or a gymboss to your hill sprints sessions. You can time yourself and see how long it takes you to do a certain amount of hill sprints. For example, let’s say you do 10 hill sprints on Monday, and it took you 13:25. Then next week, on Monday, you would perform 10 hill sprints and aim to knock them out in less time. It’s really cool to see yourself improving each week. You just need to make sure you know how far up the hill you went so you can get accurate results on your progress.
Another way to challenge yourself and burn fat with hill sprints is to mark how far up the hill you go. Then the following week, try to go a little further (another 10 yards is just an example).
You can time yourself of how long it takes you to do a certain number of hill sprints up to a certain point, and then record it. Then next week, try to go a little further on each hill sprint, but in the same amount of time. For example, you could go 30 yards 8 times. Then next week, try to go 35 yards 8 times in the same amount of time. You can make up the difference in the hill sprints, recovery time, or even both.
When you first start doing hill sprints, you will probably find yourself doing the last few sprints much slower than your first couple of hill sprints. That’s perfectly fine and that is actually normal. As you get more conditioned, you will find those times getting closer to each other.
Bonus tips to get better at hill sprints:
- Try not to let the arms cross your body and focus on keeping your arms just going forward and back (not across), with a 90 degree bend.
- Keep the shoulders back, while keeping the chest up. One of the tendencies is to tense up your shoulders. Try to avoid doing that.
- Keep what’s called an “open hand” stance when doing hill sprints. In other words, don’t clench your fists but keep your hands open.
Burn fat with hill sprints and never, EVER give up.