Benefits of Hill Sprints – 9 Reasons You Need to Start Running Hills

Running hills is hard, that's why most people don't do it. But doing short hill sprints can have some serious benefits for athletic performance and overall endurance.

Whether you’re a long-distance runner or weightlifter, hill sprints can take your performance to the next level.

If you’ve ever run up a hill, though, you know enough that you’re probably dreading the idea of sprinting up another one.

Once you read these 9 benefits you might come to believe that the pain is worth the gain.  

If you want to tackle the beast and become a better athlete by incorporating hill repeats into your workout routine is essential.

Here’s why…

Top 9 Benefits of Hill Sprints

They might hurt, but here’s why they’re so, so worth it:

1. Strengthen Practical Running Muscles

Hill sprints are like weight training.

Take the squat for example – the bodyweight squat works all of your leg muscles. But you build much more muscle doing heavy barbell squats.

Running is the same way. Yes, you build running muscles while running, but you’ll build much more muscle doing resistance training (hill repeats).

Hill sprints will strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

That’s the key difference: running builds endurance – hill sprints build strength.

2. Reduce Injuries

By strengthening your running muscles, you’ll help prevent future injuries.

Sprints are known to offer huge athletic benefits, but flat-level sprints carry a high risk of injury.

That risk is nearly eliminated with hill sprints.

Hill sprints push your body to the extreme without allowing you to reach top speed, which is where injury typically occurs. In this way, hill sprints keep your muscles safer and can help cut down on many of the injuries runners tend to experience.

3. Improve Your Running Form

Hill repeats force your body to run as efficiently as possible. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Your knees pump high, just as they should.
  • You run on the forefoot to midfoot, avoiding the dangerous heel strike.
  • Your stride rate increases.
  • You learn to control your breathing.

By practicing proper form, you also reduce the risk of injury.

4. Build Mental Toughness

Hill sprints require a great deal of self-discipline.

Without a coach, you’ll need extreme mental fortitude to run up and down steep hills.

But you get out what you put in!

Because of this, hill repeats build confidence. When your 50K race winds up and down steep mountains, you don’t flinch. You’ve sprinted these hills – running a casual pace up them is no problem!

5. Increase Your Stride Power

When you practice hill repeats, each step becomes more purposeful.

As your stride power increases, each step propels you farther. Each step also requires less energy.

Because your stride rate and power increase, you become a more efficient runner.

You can run faster and further with less input!

6. Boost Your Stamina

By doing hill repeats, you train your body to endure difficult requirements.

If you can sprint up hills, then you can easily run on flat ground.

Hill sprints help you reach your maximum heart rate quickly, something that would take miles to do running at a comfortable pace.

Basically, hill repeats teach you to train at maximum output with less than maximum energy. This training is difficult to replicate.

You learn to recover faster and catch your breath quicker.

As you continue training, your rest intervals become shorter and shorter.

Soon, your hill sprint intervals will last longer than your rest intervals!

7. Improve Your Race Times

If you’re training for big races, such as a 50K or longer, you’re going to see courses that routinely include more than 7,000 ft. of elevation gain.

Because of this, doing hill sprints now is absolutely essential. Remember: practice makes perfect. If you want to race on the hills, you need to train on the hills.

8. Kickstart Your Metabolism

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all the rage these days.

Luckily, hill repeats are a HIIT workout that’s great for burning fat!

In fact, hills sprints can burn up to twice as many calories as running on flat ground.

The intensity of the exercise boosts your metabolism for the rest of the day, helping you become a stronger, leaner athlete.

9. Improve Heart Efficiency

Intense training builds a stronger heart.

By doing hill repeats, you’ll train your heart to pump more blood with each stroke.

This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles and organs and has a major, positive impact on your stamina.

As you train, your heart rate decreases, enabling you to push yourself harder and longer!

Conclusion

Hill repeats will turn you into an athletic animal! In addition to reducing your risk of injury, improving your form, and boosting your stamina, hill repeats make you stronger and better-rounded, in all capacities.

Although they have amazing benefits, you’ll need strict discipline to incorporate hill sprints into your training routine.

But that’s what separates the athletes from the rest.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start your hill springs now!

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.

Running hills is hard, that's why most people don't do it. But doing short hill sprints can have some serious benefits for athletic performance and overall endurance.