Hill workouts



  • These workouts are cardio, but increase your weight/strength too.

    I regularly go into the hills for work outs. Have chosen it over the gym, because I like the outdoors more. Have done years of this. Am 85kg, ideal weight with a bit more muscle would be 87-88kg. Fat could be a little lower but is fine. Dropped to 79kg in the summer, but that was too skinny as I was too lazy and not pushing myself much-and since have increased the exercise intensity the weight has jumped. Here's what I'm doing at the moment:

    Last Saturday went for a trail run. Lots of steps, which we take as quickly as possible striding two by two, and lots of running on the flats and down sections over the tops of hills. First 13m is straight up gut busting. Took 3 1/2 hours, which is 45 minutes faster than I was doing it last winter this time, by myself. So, I'm faster. It was a nice clear winter day, lots of fun racing over the trails, very tired by the end of it-and sore legs on Sunday.

    Yesterday (and I do this at least twice a week)
    walked/ran to hill = 15 m warm up
    20 times up 160 steps, striding two each time fast, jogging down (each one takes just over 3 minutes)
    5 minutes of benchpress with medium weight, trying to keep going with only small rest breaks
    5 minutes of pull ups mixed with knee lifts
    walked/ran home 15m

    I do these exercises specifically to keep my weight and help my back stay strong. If I just run, my weight goes off. I am fit, but want to go up a level from here-so that's why this journal....to push myself harder. Back when I was a runner I could run at speed without effort. I want more of that, but my body creaks and groans when I push too hard.

    Tomorrow will do the following for strength and speed;
    5 times running up the steps, 5 times carrying 2 20 pound dumb bells doing lifting motions, 5 times running up the steps.
    lunges with a medium weight squat bar bell
    bech and pullups as above

    Any suggestions are welcome.



  • Hill workouts are the shit. I wish I had more hills around where I live. However, I was fortunate to be able to get a gut's full of them while I was in NZ. In Dunedin I discovered a seriously unpleasant, seemingly endless hill known as Stone Street. And when I was in Clyde, there were mountain trails everywhere with excellent inclines.

    Hill sprints build leg power like nothing else.

    That workout you've listed seems very challenging. Here's a suggestion: when you sprint up those steps, jog down and as soon as you reach the bottom, do a set of burpees. Then do the next set. It adds to the overall intensity and makes it more challenging.

    I like your style though. Those workouts are wonderfully psychotic. Keep it up.



  • I've got a nice hill near home not five minutes walk. I'll try a few of these for shizzle. Still who doesn't have a hill nearby in Welly !!

    To quote Stirlo Morty sounds like you'll be "sucking the big ones" in no time doing this sort of training.



  • [quote name='MN5']I've got a nice hill near home not five minutes walk. I'll try a few of these for shizzle. Still who doesn't have a hill nearby in Welly !!

    To quote Stirlo Morty sounds like you'll be "sucking the big ones" in no time doing this sort of training.[/QUOTE]

    I went for a distance run in Welly a few years ago and it kicked my ass. I just wasn't used to running up and down so many hills one after the other. That's quite a challenge.



  • Thanks for your comments guys. Yep, doing steps two-by-two and keeping it going is a great workout. Back in September I climbed Yamingshan in North Taipei in 35m -straight up. Have done it many times in the past, usually at 40-45 min, so these hill repeats are great for conditioning.

    Davidav-I found this nice link: [url]

    so I'll add some of those on at the bottom after each sprint in the first set of 5-5 times in all. Will edit this later to say how it went
    EDIT: did 10X stair running with each followed by 8 burpees. Then several minutes of medium bench press then squats, with a few rest breaks, and finally 5 minutes of doing pullups+knee lifts till I couldn't, resting, then doing more. A good workout and tired feeling.

    MN5-Yep, start with 5, then increase to 10, then once you're used to that, do more. 150-200 steps, take two steps each stride. Good luck, really helps prevent getting colds too, due to the good lung work out.

    Yes, I loved the hills around Dunedin. Here's the first running race I ever did, sure was a killer: [url]http://www.leithharriers.com/ThreePeaks.html[/url] after that I trained a lot and became quite fast.



  • Will do Kea, my fitness goals ( see my thread ) aren't for anything in particular but I just want to be able to run around and keep up with my boys when I'm older. Several of my mates are starting to spread a bit around the middle and while it's easy to laugh it off as age and piss drinking I don't think its particularly fun when you're older.



  • MN5, I'm 39-my running/hiking partner is 10 years younger than me, 10+kg lighter than me, and just did a half marathon in 91 minutes. I'm still faster than him, just. Probably not for much longer, though. As Bartman showed, the sky's the limit, and you can get very fit yet.

    Building and retaining muscle is vital as we get older.



  • Have decided to change the workout schedule slightly, thanks for your comments

    A. 20 stair climbing repeats in the hills, each 160 steps done 2 by 2, jog down, fast and steady up. No break, 70 minutes length. Hold hand weights if feeling energetic. Follow by 5 minutes bench press, 5 minutes med. weight squats, 5 minutes combo pull ups+5 knee lifts -these 5 minute things are basically, just keep going, with small breaks if necessary.

    B. 10 stair running repeats. Start with 50 m flat sprint, then run up 140 steps (same steps, but differen bottom section). After each two, do 10 or more burpees. These involve press -up followed by jump and pull up. No breaks. At completion, follow by 5 minutes bench press, 5 minutes med. weight squats, 5 minutes combo pull ups+5 knee lifts

    C. A long-3-5 hour hike/run at near full speed or, repeat A

    That'll keep me fit during January. I wonder how I could extend it? It's Winter now, if I can do that most weeks, it's enough, but later I miight want to increase the workload. Any ideas? Cheers.



  • [quote name='Kea']Have decided to change the workout schedule slightly, thanks for your comments

    A. 20 stair climbing repeats in the hills, each 160 steps done 2 by 2, jog down, fast and steady up. No break, 70 minutes length. Hold hand weights if feeling energetic. Follow by 5 minutes bench press, 5 minutes med. weight squats, 5 minutes combo pull ups+5 knee lifts -these 5 minute things are basically, just keep going, with small breaks if necessary.

    B. 10 stair running repeats. Start with 50 m flat sprint, then run up 140 steps (same steps, but differen bottom section). After each two, do 10 or more burpees. These involve press -up followed by jump and pull up. No breaks. At completion, follow by 5 minutes bench press, 5 minutes med. weight squats, 5 minutes combo pull ups+5 knee lifts

    C. A long-3-5 hour hike/run at near full speed or, repeat A

    That'll keep me fit during January. I wonder how I could extend it? It's Winter now, if I can do that most weeks, it's enough, but later I miight want to increase the workload. Any ideas? Cheers.[/QUOTE]

    That's a pretty comprehensive full body workout Kea, and just the kind of work I really love. My only suggestion would be to make sure you take rest days in between. Interval training, at high intensity, is very taxing on the entire body, and you should make sure you are taking at least one rest day in between workouts. Don't risk injury. It isn't worth it.



  • Thanks Davidav, you are right. I was a bit sore yesterday due to the newness of the burpees. Once I get used to it it'll be better. Due to the coming cold winter weather over the next 6 weeks, I will probably have a chance to take some rest days off. Schedule is flexible, but basically two mid-week mornings, and long run/hike on Saturdays.

    My main worry is my knees-although I have never had knee problems, I imagine running on steps and trails isn't good for them. I can't see myself doing this in the long term. I like high intensity training, but will have to move to something less impacting in the future. Would love Xcountry skiing, but there's not much snow in TW. For now, just enjoying being fit again and using the proximity to hills as much as possible.

    What are you doing now, considering you like hill workouts, like heavy weights, and have had back problems in the past?



  • [quote name='Kea']Thanks Davidav, you are right. I was a bit sore yesterday due to the newness of the burpees. Once I get used to it it'll be better. Due to the coming cold winter weather over the next 6 weeks, I will probably have a chance to take some rest days off. Schedule is flexible, but basically two mid-week mornings, and long run/hike on Saturdays.

    My main worry is my knees-although I have never had knee problems, I imagine running on steps and trails isn't good for them. I can't see myself doing this in the long term. I like high intensity training, but will have to move to something less impacting in the future. Would love Xcountry skiing, but there's not much snow in TW. For now, just enjoying being fit again and using the proximity to hills as much as possible.

    What are you doing now, considering you like hill workouts, like heavy weights, and have had back problems in the past?[/QUOTE]

    I've completely stopped lifting weights--which is a major change for me, since I was into bodybuilding and powerlifting for 25 years. Now I do all bodyweight exercise, sprinting and jogging workouts. Most of what I'll do will be to alternate days of 4-5 sets of 100 meter sprints immediately followed by burpees, after those I'll do sets of pull-ups, sit ups and dips to finish off. Other days I'll do a 6-mile or 3-mile run, depending on how I feel. That's my main routine. Once or twice a month I'll alternate the sprint workouts with a boxing workout: 4-5 1 minute rounds on the heavy bag, immediately followed by burpees or push-ups. Then I'll finish off with 5 1 minute rounds of high speed rope skipping.

    I've also done Tabata intervals from time to time. These are brutal, and involve 20 seconds full speed of an exercise followed by 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8 times. Tabata invervals (Google it to learn more) are amazing because it is really only 4 minutes total of exercise, yet it is some of the most unpleasant shit I've ever subjected myself to. I haven't done these for a few months--I'm due another round of punishment.

    I hope these suggestions give you a few ideas.

    Bottom line for me is, I've completely stopped lifting weights, or working out in a gym at all for that matter, and I don't miss it at all. I also feel fitter that ever. I like the fact that I can use my imagination, do my own research, learn from other athletes, and come up with great workouts. Whereas a lot of what you do in the gym is just repetitive and becomes boring. Especially if you've been doing it since the age of 15.



  • just a quick update, weather was cold so I had some light workouts for a week, but Thur I did my 20 hill repeats, then today, beautiful day-mid 20's (middle of Winter) did 4 hrs 20, up and over a mountain. The up section featured 3 distinct climbs, and took about 2 hours 15 minutes to get to the top (pushing myself hard all the way), then the down was more across country for 10km. Tired now, and as soon as I recover will do a strength and speed workout. I reckon I can still lift a level so will continue trying to get fitter and faster.



  • Those are some very impressive numbers Kea. 4 hrs 20 over a mountain is really sucking diesel. Combining that with hill sprints is mental. I like your style.



  • hey mate, sorry if I wrote vaguely. I meant, I was cramping up and tired, so would take a day or two to rest. If someone can advise me how to stop getting cramps-is it just fitness, or is it that the body doesn't convert fat to energy quickly enough as I'm old? Happens after 3 hours, generally. Will google it.

    Yeah, I was breathing hard for ages on that hike, and it was beautiful too. I can go under 4 hours because there were a couple of sections we just walked when we could have run. So, I'll do that once a month or so. I also want to get to the level I can go hard for 5-6 hours. Main worry preventing me running any trail, TBH, is snakes. Can't just run like in NZ, I've seen more than 15 of them when hiking, and now that I am moving more quickly, it is more of a risk.

    I did hill sprints (10) yesterday morning, and today. A hill sprint is 50m flat, followed by 140-150 steps run mostly 2by2. Didn't have much time so didn't add much on. Tomorrow will make it harder-10 hill sprints, 10 stair climbs (190 steps, 2by2), some squats, bench, and pull ups.

    Then after a rest, on Saturday we're running 22km or more through forest valleys, up and down small hills. Should be fun, aiming sub 4 hours as a guess. As a hike, it's 6-7 hours.

    Since pushing myself much harder in November, I've gone up from 78-79kg, to 85-86kg now.

    Today, when I was running to the hill, felt very bouncy and fast, with good acceleration-a great feeling. Still, not used to running continually as I don't train for it since I don't want ankle/leg injuries due to weight.

    Cheers Bart, I'll add that to my protein drink-which I generally start having after 2 hours.



  • quick fire cure for cramp - baking soda (salt), but baking soda dissolved in water, drink, and your body takes it on board instantly, and cramp goes real quick. When I was rowing heaps i would often cramp in my back and lats in bed at night! So would mix in a cuple of teaspoons of baking soda, some Jungle juice powder (to make it palatable) in a drink bottle, mix, and drink! Tastes very salty, but with the JJ, I actually got to like it!!

    But just chug it down and your cramps should be gone - make it a daily ritual!

    And ain't it grand when running becomes ENJOYABLE!! Has happened a few times in my life, too few!



  • Kea,

    I came across a great blog post on hill sprints. Ross Enamait, one of my favorite sources for fitness inspiration. Ross trains professional boxers and MMA fighters, and his training style it totally old-school, basic, ass busting goodness.

    Check this out:

    [url]http://rosstraining.com/blog/2009/04/28/another-vote-for-simplicity/[/url]



  • well, to add to the list of injuries on this thread, I tweaked a rib or intercostal. I went on a 3 1/2 hour trail run last weekend (through a lush valley with no people, some leeches, no snakes as cold, and only one major hill climb), and we had a lot of stream crossings. My sandals had a bit of green moss on them from the path, and I (despite my rock hopping good balance) slipped through tiredness. I twisted to avoid a fall, and the lower left rib at the back-I felt something give. We continued running for an hour, although I held it to reduce impact. It's still very sore, although I started being able to run today (6 days later). I don't know whether it's a fracture because breathing is no problem, or I pulled/tore a ligament or muscle.

    Will resume hiking on the weekend. I have an awesome 4-5 hour run/hike planned for March-will try to do it every weekend. I also decided to tone up, cut fat and increase muscle.

    Thanks Bartman for the suggestion, I'll use it soon, will be good when exercising in the heat. Thanks davidav for the website, very interesting. Yep, hills take as much as you can give. I really notice significant increases in my patience, resilience and general fitness through these workouts. I want to keep it going and intensify it this year.



  • There is a whole heap of things you can try for cramps but cramp mostly comes from over exertion. I was getting a bit of cramp last year while cycling. I hardly ever got cramp on training rides but would always get it on the more competitive funs rides when I'd ride a bit harder. Did a whole bunch of googling on it and most sites say it's from over exerting while training or racing. A lot of the "research" that comes out about electrolytes and salts is funded and done on the behalf of big drink companies like gatorade. I'll try and find the links for you.





  • true toddy - but from experience the baking soda works a treat - and you DO lose salt when you sweat - that's a fact, and you need to replace it. but don't waste your money on all that sports drink - old fashioned salt is fine!