By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Cedar Park football coach Carl Abseck believes his team’s in-season hill workouts – done each week on Sunday – are responsible for his team peaking late in the season. Cedar Park won Texas state championships in 2014 and 2015.
We know that doing sprints is great for sculpting powerful, and strong hamstrings. Sprinting up a hill has an even greater effect.
If a player wants to be able to run faster, he should practice running fast. If he wants to be able to easily run fast on a flat surface, he should practice running fast uphill.
H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) has seemed to take over as the smart way to quickly build endurance and rapidly shed fat. Well, that’s exactly what sprinting uphill qualifies as: short bursts of intense activity followed by a rest period as they walk back down.
Sheds Body Fat
Just as hill sprints are the ultimate exercise for building stamina, they are unbeatable for fat loss. After the first few sprints up the hill, players will feel their hearts racing and lungs gasping for air. Their legs will feel like they’re on fire and their bodies will be burning fat like a furnace.
We know that higher metabolism goes hand-in-hand with fat loss. It’s been shown again and again that HIIT is the best method for boosting metabolism throughout the entire day due to the intensity of the activity. This contrasts with jogging which does nothing to boost metabolism.
Boosts Human Growth Hormone
HGH is a tissue building and fat mobilizing hormone that a body produces during sleep and after intense exercise. Being that hill sprints are the most intense exercise one can do, the circulating HGH levels will be through the roof.
A Feeling of Euphoria
A “runner’s high” is not exclusive to jogging. After bouts of intense exercise, players will most likely find themselves in a much better mood than usual, almost like a state of peaceful happiness. This is the result of chemicals in our brain called endorphins being released which bring us into a state of well-being. Want to turn that frown upside down? Go run up a hill.
Builds Mental Toughness
Given that hill sprints are one of the toughest workouts one can do, conquering them instills a sense of mental toughness that few other exercises can.
Become One with Nature
If you’re looking to train your players, why not let them get some sun and fresh air at the same time? Get out of the gym for a change.
The Safety Factor
One of the more unnoticed benefits that hill sprints provide is an alternative to simply sprinting on a flat surface. The issue with running on a flat surface at full speed is that you are very prone to getting injured. The beautiful aspect of hill sprinting is that the inclined surface prevents you from reaching top speed while running. This is important because most muscular injuries occur when you are running at a high speed. Therefore, doing hill sprints will nullify this risk for injury because you will not be able to run at a high speed (this is a good thing).
Do you have a thought about this article that you would like to share? If you do, email managing editor Dan Guttenplan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet us @fnfcoaches.