Found on MensHealth.com and written by Kelsey Cannon
Just because you’re not in a gym doesn’t mean you can’t get the same benefits when you’re outside—all you need is a hill and some willpower. In fact, a few fast-paced sets on a hill is one of the best ways to improve how long you can last in a vigorous workout, according to research from South Dakota State University. “Working out on a hill is a great way to get outside while maintaining the difficulty of your workout,” says Jeff Gaudette, former professional runner and head coach at RunnersConnect.net.
Now you see that stepping outside the gym for some sprint work doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your goals. You can still burn fat and build muscle with these three heavy-hitting hill workouts created by Gaudette.
Rev your metabolism
To give the biggest boost to your fat-burners, train for intensity. Gaudette suggests performing a quick warmup by running between 1 and 3 miles before starting this workout. “You’ll be exerting maximal effort each time, so you need to have your legs warm and ready to hit it hard,” he says.
Do this: Find a hill with a 6- to 7-percent incline—steep, but not a cliff. Perform a 30-second sprint up the hill at 95 percent your max effort and then walk down to where you started. When you reach the bottom, immediately turn around and perform a 75-second sprint uphill at 85 percent your max effort, then walk back down. That’s one round. Do 8 total rounds for a grueling, sweat-inducing workout.
Enhance your endurance
Going longer is crucial for any workout or sport you play. “You want your muscles, lungs, and your mind to be able to keep going, even when you’re tired,” says Gaudette. As a result, the most integral part of this workout is actually what you do afteryou hit the hill.
Do this: Find a hill with a 6- to 7-percent incline. Start by performing six consecutive 90-second uphill sprints, walking down in between each one and sprinting back up as soon as you reach the bottom. After your last one, rest for 3 minutes before performing a 3-mile run at a pace that’s about 30 to 45 seconds faster than you usually run. If you have energy left after that, we applaud you.
Build serious lower-body strength
If it’s muscle gains you’re after, you don’t have to confine yourself exclusively to the squat rack as long as you have a wicked hill at your disposal. “The steep hill hits your leg muscles with each step. Running uphill is similar to performing a series of super-fast, weighted lunges,” says Gaudette.
Do this: Find a hill with a 7- to 10-percent incline. (Slightly steeper than the first workout.) Sprint up the hill as fast as you can at your absolute maximum effort for 15 seconds. Focus on landing on the balls of your feet and springing as far forward as you can with each step. Pump your arms vigorously to help you exaggerate your explosive drive off the ground each time. Repeat 10 to 12 times for a set that will make your legs feel wobbly like it’s your worst leg day ever.