Does anyone else use steep grass hills for power development in the Glutes, hams and calves during the GPP (or any phase for that matter)?

Would infrequent hill work be a good option for developing glute/ham strength and the ‘cross-over’ from squatting and deadlifting?

I also suggest such runs (80%-90% intensity) on soft grass in the GPP could load and prehabilitate the Achilles for increased training volumes later.

Are the angles (on steep hills) also similar to those use used during the acceleration phases?


(If this has been covered in another post let me know - I can’t find references to it anywhere)

I’ve yet to discover what Oly lifts can bring to sprint speed that hills cannot. I “amped” right up with some Oly lifts lately. I’ve felt the benefit in my first 5 strides and then felt nothing whatsoever.

I remember reading Jerry Rice saying he always started his GPP with hill work, he believed that if you had muscular weaknesses anywhere - lower back, legs etc. you would feel it and it would give you a good idea what conditition you were in and what needed working on.

I know it is a common recomendation to only use a slope of about 5-10 degrees to allow for more accurate technique during acceleration. However, steep hills must be more specific than oly lifts, so have they got a place (ie. as well as, or instead of oly lifts), or is there no point in doing oly lifts or steep hills if the athlete is already performing acceleration up shallow hills or other effective resisted sprinting?

I still find the comparison of oly lifting with resisted sprinting confusing.

Hope I’ve not deviated too far from the main subject No23.

I always liked hills in GPP. Fairly steep and about 60-80 meters in length

So could you substitute a weight workout with a hill workout?

Bompa has suggested that ‘hill running is not good, or rather, it’s good for your heart, but not good for developing power because it’s too slow (t-mag).’ Yessis also believes that it leads to bad habits (technique).

Why should hill running be too slow, compared to other training modalities and why should it be bad for technique- unless you go far enough that you loose your form through exhaustion (hill too steep, reps too long, or too many, or recovery too short). In fact, in special circumstances, it can AID technique (slows the action down slightly and allows you to achieve acceleration angles that you couldn’t achieve on the flat by moving the surface up rather than the body down.) Good judgement is the key here.
BTW, I worked with one of the NFL guys who went to Jerry Rice’s hill workouts- they were killers. (Too steep and too long to be optimal, in my opinion). He was the only guy who beat Jerry on the hills (at that time)- he wasn’t invited back!

who beat Jerry Rice? i know you dont lik giving out peoples names but PLEASE?? :smiley:

I have run that course and have passed Jerry’s times while over at the hill while visiting the Stanford area.

Charlie’s comments can be found in the old forum. Sort of like moving the ground up instead of acclelerating forward (posture wise).

I have used stairs as a technique option form time to time but I don’t write for a living.

I saw it, it was unreal!!!

Sand hills. Magnificent.

i love hill work, it definitely aids in technique, knee lift and good arm action is needed to run a good hill. also if the hill isn’t too steep, it won’t be a slow workout at all.

Remember there are so many different hill types… 15, 60, 30, 45 degrees etc.

I could be wrong here Charlie but I think Jerrys hill is a very long one - maybe 10-15mins to run up?

If this is the case I would agree with you - more and ‘endurance’ hill rather than a ‘speed’ hill.

However I am thinking more about, shorter hils max dist 60 ms and more likely 35m.

I can’t agree with Bompa, I would regard it excellent for power development, and maybe even better than light weight lifting in some cases.

I also think regarding technique, unless you’re doing nothing only running up hills- technique is not a problem.
I think it can teach technique correction even - it is an excellent way of teaching high knee drive and also teaching the benefits of eleiminating the side-to-side lateral movements.

Starting the sprint on the hill requires great power and drive to get going, and running from a flat onto and up the hill is great for change of pace running.

There are a few more ideas I have but I was wondering do many use hills or has anyone else any thoughts?

Yessis (2002) states:

‘Raising the thighs when running uphill is not in the same range of action and omits the important initial explosive contraction of the hip flexors. In addition , the ankle extension drives the body upward rather than forward. This ankle action can still be of benefit but because of the need to drive the knees up, it plays a secondary role to leg extension. In running ankle extension is a primary force, knee extension is not.’

He is referring to specialised physical preparation rather than GPP, though.

I found the following quite interesting. Do read the full article.


Returning to our friends the turkeys, whenever they ran on a 12deg. incline their calf muscles were appreciably longer during the early stage of footstrike than when running on a flat surface. The same thing happens to you when you run on a hill; the inclination of the hill thwarts plantar (downward) flexion of your ankles prior to impact and dorsiflexes your ankles for you as your feet hit the ground, keeping your calf muscles stretched. The result is that your over-stretched calf muscles must shorten more during the stance phase of incline running in preparation for toe-off than is necessary when running on the flat.

Hill running is not anti-neural
This increased shortening greatly magnifies the net work per step performed by the calf muscles, and the same magnification of work output would occur in the hamstrings. The increase in muscular work associated with incline running is linked with the activation of a greater number of calf-muscle fibres. In fact, EMG data on the turkeys suggested that running up a 12deg. slope required three times the volume of calf-muscle fibres than level running at the same speed. Interestingly enough, stance time did not increase during incline running, which indicates that the average rate of shortening of the calf muscle actually increased with inclination. This is important, since critics of hill running have argued that it is ‘anti-neural’ - ie that it slows down muscular movement and the rate at which muscles are recruited by the nervous system. The turkey data show that, at a specific speed, crucial running muscles like those of the calves actually contract more quickly on hills than they do on flat ground.
You might think that the young turks’ calf muscles produced more force in order to drive their bodies up the 12deg. ‘hills’ - especially since three times the volume of calf-muscle cells were involved per step. Far from it: their calves actually produced the same amount of force at 12deg. as they had on the level! If this seems surprising to you, you must have forgotten about the time-honoured force-velocity properties of muscles: as the velocity of muscle contraction increases, force production decreases. If this concept is a little wild for you, just think how much more quickly you can lift a barbell with 10lb attached than one with 100lb! Getting back to the turkeys’ calves, they were shortening more rapidly on hills, and this rapid shortening balanced the recruitment of extra muscle fibres, keeping force production constant. The increased work required for hill climbing was accomplished not via greater force production but via faster, longer contractions of the calves.
If this seems confusing as well, remember that muscular work equals force times distance (W = F X d). The Harvard-Northeastern scientists found that calf-muscle work per step increased on 12deg. hills, even though force (F) remained unchanged. What did change, of course, was d - the distance moved by (the change in length accomplished by) the calf muscle in its contractions during footstrike. With F unchanged and d spiked, work (W) increased significantly.
So, the calf muscles did more work by moving a greater distance during footstrike. In other words, on hills the calf muscles were learning to contract more quickly when the foot was on the ground. The calf muscles were not learning to generate more force - but to generate work at a higher rate. In short, they were learning to become more powerful. (Power is just work divided by time; in our turkey case, time - footstrike time - stayed the same, but work increased dramatically, causing power output to rise.)
On flat ground, this ability of the calf muscles to work more powerfully during footstrike should translate into shorter footstrike times and higher running speeds. Why shorter footstrike times? With the calf muscles reacting at a higher rate, the amount of work necessary to sustain a particular velocity could be performed in a shorter period of time, allowing toe-off to occur more rapidly. Alternatively, speed of contraction could be slowed but recruitment of ‘extra’ calf-muscle cells could be retained, enhancing force production and thus stride length. Naturally, the footstrike and stride-length pay-offs might occur simultaneously.
On hills, key muscles like the calves learn to sustain force at high contraction speeds. This defies the classic muscle force-velocity relationship principle, which states that muscles exert less force as their speed of action increases. Muscles accomplish this feat by recruiting extra fibres into action (three times as many in this study), which means that hill running has a very broad strengthening effect in addition to its ability to boost power. That’s an exciting aspect of hill training, and it is why the discipline is so fantastically useful for athletes who depend on high running speeds to do well in their sports. Football players, basketballers, rugby scrummers, cricket batsmen and fielders, and even runners - take note!

SWANSON, S. C., and G. E. CALDWELL. An integrated biomechanical analysis of high speed incline and level treadmill running. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 1146–1155, 2000.

Purpose: Recent sprint training regimens have used high-speed incline treadmill running to provide enhanced loading of muscles responsible for increasing forward running speed. The goal of this study was to document the joint kinematics, EMG, and swing-phase kinetics of incline treadmill running at 4.5 m·s–1 with a 30% grade, and compare these data to that of level running under similar conditions.

Methods: Sagittal plane video (200 Hz) and EMG from eight lower extremity muscles were recorded during each of three locomotion conditions: incline running at 4.5 m·s–1 and 30% grade (INC), level running at 4.5 m·s–1 (LSS), and level running at the same stride frequency as INC (LSSF). A rigid body model was used to estimate net muscle power and work values at the hip, knee, and ankle during swing. Timing and amplitude of EMG signals for each muscle relative to footstrike were compared between conditions.

Results: Stride frequency and percentage of stride spent in stance were significantly higher during INC (1.78 Hz; 32.8%) than in the LSS (1.39 Hz; 28.8%) condition. Stride frequency played an important role, as most measures were more similar between INC and LSSF. Extensor range of motion of all joints during push-off was higher for INC. During INC, average EMG amplitude of the gastrocnemius, soleus, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, and gluteus maximus were higher during stance, whereas the hamstrings activity amplitudes were lower. Average power and energy generated during hip flexion and extension in the swing phase were greatest during INC.

Conclusions: These data suggest that compared with LSSF and LSS, INC provides enhanced muscular loading of key mono- and bi-articular muscles during both swing and stance phases.

What do people think about running hills with speed trainers wrapped around there legs???.. If I remember correctly, CF was against the use of Speed Trainers for some reason or another, but the website there sold on sound to good to be true. I’m thinking of adding them into my hill workouts wearing them.

Any comments???..

Speed Trainers are what exactly ???

Ricky - you serious?

That’s why I asked exactly what these speed trainer thingys are?
If they’re those shoe things … well I don’t know what to say … maybe I should try high heels.