Field sports and uphill sprinting

Was just wondering, I know uphill runs for sprinters are limited to relatively low angles (~10% max?) to keep form as close to perfect as possible. However in field sports sprint form is probably secondary to raw power and acceleration as conditions rarely allow for picture perfect sprinting. If you were specifically training for field sports would greater angles be ok to develop more starting power?

no, would still mess up form.

Lyyb - How?

Sure running for 100m @45 deg. isn’t going to help, but for starting power??!!!??!?!?

Suggy is talking about starting power - It is an excellent option in my opinion.

I often do explosive starts on a hill for very short distances and I regard them as critical to starting explosive speed.

I would agree with Lyyb, I play Rugby League and steep hill sprints not only destroyed my sprinting form, but my on field performce really suffered as I worked to correct the damage that was done. Though it may have been down to poor coaching at the time rather than the hill its self, looking back however it seems unlikely.
The one good thing the steep hill work did for me was improve my ability to maintain top speed going into a collision, as the position required to ride through a big tackle and the body position you adopt to run up a big hill (45 degrees plus) appear to be similar. The whole team were effected in the same way to varying degrees.
Therefore any carry over may depend on the field sport your play but I would advise to use them with extreme caution as in my experience the pro are far out weighed by the cons.


interesting dboyle8 - how do you feel your form suffered? Did you have any coaching on proper sprint form to start with? I really am only talking about <20m sprints, probably around 10, just to aid sheer explosion. I achieved excellent results by combining steep uphill sprints with corresponding downhill sprints. I’ve never had any coaching on sprint form so it probably couldnt get any worse anyway . . .

to prove the affect, during the offseason when you can experiment, try atleast one training session with only using a very steep incline and no training on flat (no incline) or almost flat surfaces and very little walking on not inclined ground, then the next training session go somewhere where there are pickup games in your sport, run on a steep hill, stand in place or sit for full recovery or almost full recovery (with as little as possible walking on flat ground) this assumes no form training for your sport, or very minimal form training with no movement of picking up feet (for example for basketball only freethrows and form shooting standing in place next to basket are allowed, can also dribble while sitting) during the whole experiment time

you should feel a difference when you move on the noninclined playing field/court (kind of like the ground is not where you expect it to be)

the affect is still there for shorter distances but you might not notice it. There are other ways to improve power and acceleration. This way is too close to the actual movement and will mess up form

There are a number of points here …

Poor use can be made of any exercise.

Hill Sprinting is a tool to be used carefully in a manner that can assist athletic performance.

If used correctly it is a very good and effective tool

If it didn’t work correctly for you - were you using the modality correctly?

To qoute Charlie -
“Why should hill running be too slow, compared to other training modalities? … In fact, in special circumstances, it can AID technique”

[Run a search - there were long discussions on this previously …]

I used to be a sprinter in high school so I had some form coaching, but, no offence to my coaches, they coached with little thought as to what they were doing, and just coached everyone in the same way due to the large numbers regardless of individual strengths and weakness etc. So my form isn’t fantastic in the track and field sense.
Instead I have acquired what you could call a more sports specific sprint form. A sort of survival technique for sprinting which helps me during games, as it allows me to look around easily, hold the ball in either arm or both and lets me off load it as needs be. Which means it works well for me though might be considered ugly. This then changes again to a more traditional 100m style if i have a clear break, when the chances of being hit are less and the need for sheer speed takes over
When i started the Hill work it caused me to start running with my head down, (Could never see my team mates and got blindsided more times than is healthy) as well as an overly high knee lift that not only slowed me down but caused me to loose balance when I cut.
The work we did was a mix of long sprints, low reps and some high rep short distance work.
I would again agree with Lyyb that you should play around in the off season and work it out for yourself, i am sure there is no real harm in trying it once or twice but I wouldn’t make a habit of it unless you see some dramatic improvement.
What sport do you play by the way?


‘Poor use can be made of any exercise’

I would agree completely. When my coach put us out on the hills I think it was motivated by training fashion at the time rather than a calculated effort to improve speed. I was just advising on the side of caution and not doing it because it looks cool or because someone else is doing it.


as long as very limitted ok
good points however

here’s a quote from Dr. Yessis, “running the steps in the basketball arena… is not specific to running…drives the body upward rather than forward” more beneficial to help with takeoff for a layup

Dr Zatorsky (spelling) in Science and Practice of Strength Training wrote that anything above a 2 degree incline can adversly affect form.

I still feel inclines should only be used once in a while not as a regular part of your training program. I actually prefer the use of a heavy weight vest (sprints) (followed by a little bounding if part of the purpose was to help with takeoffs for lay ups or if in general) for power and acceleration in team sports rather than the use of inclines
(hips are lower but does not matter so much in sports that don’t reach top speed very often)(should not be used inseason)

or the use of a component of a movement used as a plyometric exercise on noninclined surface
or general jumping type exercises then of course there is the use of weights

I’m a union man im afraid :slight_smile:

I play on the wing so like you I have developed a ‘sport sprint’ form and only pin my ears back in the clear. You could argue that holding a ball in one arm will destroy good form anyway. I am just looking at ways to increase power and acceleration, and as inclines are more readily available than other equipment thought I’d pose this question.

I think that especially for team sports - intelligent use of variety is important with a clear focus on the objectives of the session and exercise - whether that’s hills, plyo’s, agility, etc. - even simple straight runs!!!

[Not cross-training but variety]

One of my old coaches used always say about training
“Remember - In a game sport you’ll never be tackled the same way twice”

It’s like war in that sense - you must be prepared for the unexpected and train for the unexpected

Excellent point about running with the ball.

What I see here is trend for hill sprint to be potential benifical to collision sports such as Rugby Union. I personaly think angle of incline is as critical as the distance performed on a given angle.

I think any sport that plays off the groung at some stage, even basketbal to a lesser extent, can benifit from correct application of hill work. I Rugby short attacking runs of 5m or less before tackle can benifit from a perscribed 5m@20-30degrees for example. I have found the angle of attack of the body on the such a hill drill closly replicates the body postion found in these short runs in Rugby Union. For League runs of 5-10m@10-20degrees are more applicable as body positons tend to be higher during tackling than union.

Just my thoughts, intrested to see what people think.

naki, I don’t think league players run higher into the tackle than union players, rather more a case of what happens post-hit, as union players naturally drop and turn to make tha ball available, while league players strive forward for extra ground.

Just made my return to Union this evening after nearly five years. As i play league during the summer and felt like somthing to do in the evenings and weekends. Forgot how different the two games are, felt like i was running up hill, dragging a heavy weight the whole time.
But I did notice that in League we hit at the same height as union and then stand up into the tackle, giving the impression of a upright contact, as we drive forward in an attempt to stay off your back, Biggest sin in rugby league. The need for quick second phase in union, means that your drive in and down set the ball quickly, giving the impression of a low hit.
I do think however that League tacklers hit a lot higher as they tend to wrap the ball up in the tackle again giving the impression of high hits.
Though i may be wrong as the conversion back was a little tough. Would appear leading into a tackle with your fore arm in Union is a bad thing. Must remember that.
Good to be back though.


Its a bit off topic but did you see the GB v AUS Rugby League test last Saturday/Sunday (depending on where you live). I have been watching the Rugby World cup down here and hadn’t watched any league for a while. The speed, intensity and physical nature of the Rugby League was jaw dropping in comparison to the Union games.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still really enjoying the World Cup but I just love the speed and the quick passing and the plays in league as well as the sheer physical power of those guys. Compare Kimmorley’s bullet passes to Gregan’s “look everybody, I have the ball, I am going to pass it soon, promise I will” passes.

This weekend is feast of football!

England v France and Australia v New Zealand in Union.

Great Britain v Australia in League.

Can’t wait!! :slight_smile:


Although I play soccer, I do like watching Rugby League - awesome.

Not so much of a union fan, but, do like the big international games: Allblacks, Aussies, etc

Agree - great weekend of Rugby.

Yeah I love watching league too. How about the NZ Warriors for excitement. Does anyone remember that game where they were 24-10 down and scored 4 tries in the final 5 mins of the game to claw back to a 24-all draw? Thats unheard of in either code, to score 4 times in just 5 mins in an otherwise tight match.

I’m actually considering a switch from union to rugby league next year because I keep getting done for no-arm hits (legal in league and gridiron, not so in union).

I knocked a guy down with a shoulder charge hit during a game of rugby union sevens and he bitched for days afterwards that it was an illegal hit and that it knocked him out (it didn’t). And he was a frontrow foward too, what a wuss.

why not just use your arms? the reason its illegal is cos ur making no effort to tackle the man.

my predictions

NZ 25 - 12 Oz
England 22 - France 17

GB 32 - 24 Oz

you heard it here first

How is a shoulder hit different from any other hit? There is still an effort to tackle the man, just no effort to fall on top of him with your arms wrapped around him. The only difference is that the tackler tends to stay on his feet after making the hit.

A collision is still a collision and it doesn’t become any safer just because the tackled player is wrapped up. It’s legal in league and if it were legal in union, the game would be more of a spectacle in defense.

By the way, Australia won both games…