Hill Conditioning For Athletics and Fat Loss

It is summer training at Bucknell with my athletes and I try to take them out of the weight room at least two days a week for some outside training.  Getting outside in that fresh air really is uplifting.  Every Thursday is our big conditioning day.  We will either run stadiums, pull sleds, or do some hill work.  In this post, I will share with you a workout that will not only be good for overall athletic conditioning but also good for raising a person’s metabolic rate to burn off calories.  Remember, if you are burning off those calories you are burning off that stubborn fat!

So let’s talk about hill sprints.  First look for a hill that is a gradual incline.  It does not have to be steep but it should be about 50 yards or more.  The steeper the incline the less yardage typically needed.  I also think it is best to find a hill that is grass and not rocky.  Obviously, if you live in a city this might challenge you some.

Now that you have found your hill and established your yardage; it is time for the workout.  Start at the base of the hill and sprint as hard as you can, driving yourself forward with each powerful step, while swinging your arms loosely from your shoulders.  When you reach the top, turn and jog back to the starting position.  As you are jogging back down you should focus on your breathing and try to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.  It has been proven you recover much faster with this breathing pattern than breathing forcefully in and out of your mouth.  When you reach your starting position repeat your sprint aggressively back to the top.  Do this for 5 trips to the top and then rest for 2 minutes or until you have gotten your breathing and heart rate back to near normal resting rates.  We desire this to ensure you are able to go ALL OUT when you sprint up.  We typically do 4-5 total sets.


I forgot to mention that you  should always do a good warm-up prior to and a good cool down after.  I will have my athletes perform a series of dynamic movements, followed by some low grade plyometrics, then complete a series of short progressive sprints for our warm-up.  For the cool down we typically will go for a short jog and focus on breathing, then we will walk and shake out our arms and legs.  We will finish with total body static stretching.  Sometimes we will also stretch with jump stretch bands.

Make sure you are getting outside and making the best of your surroundings.  You may be surprised how many training possibilities there might be if you just start looking to add a little variety into your program.

To your health,


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About Jerry Shreck

Division 1 Head Strength Coach at Bucknell University, Specialize In The Art of Injury Prevention Training Techniques God Loving Family Man (Wife-Trina & 2 daughters-Alexis & Aleyda)

2 Responses to “Hill Conditioning For Athletics and Fat Loss”

  1. Sounds similar to what I do with my guys. We’ve got a 50 yard ramp leading to the front door of our athletic center that we use. Unfortunately it’s a walking path so we don’t get to run on grass, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do when your campus is in the heart of the city. Another favorite is the stairway to Hell which is directly behind the incline. 5 flights of 20 steps with a 20 foot landing in between each. All sorts of fun there!

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