Hill Sprints: The benefits
Individual Football Drill by Solo Soccer Training
Hill Sprints, when done right, can be one of the most extreme and demanding training exercises you will do. Hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hips, abdominals and calves – all of the muscles in your legs are targeted when sprinting on an incline. Add to these your lower back, shoulders and arms, Hill Sprints are one of the most true total body exercises out there.
For somebody training alone, hill sprints require minimal equipment. You don’t need anything other than open space and an incline. 5% is an incline. You don’t have to be running up walls, so as a rule of thumb – the steeper the increase, the lower the total distance, as this will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Bulletproofing your lower body –
Hill Sprints work all of the muscles in your lower body. This excellent strengthening exercise particularly focuses on the posterior chain, which is the largest muscle group in your body, incorporating your hamstrings, glutes, lower, mid and upper back. Strengthening the posterior chain significantly reduces the likelihood of muscular injuries commonly reported in soccer (strains and tears). While targeting the posterior chain, hill sprints are also excellent for improving joint mobility, which can help to reduce the risk of spraining ligaments in your joints.
Increase stride length and power –
Steep Hill Sprints force your body to drive forward at a greater velocity and reach further with every step. This improved stride length and power means a more efficient running motion on flat level surfaces, which will increase both your top speed and your ability to reach top speed in fewer strides.
Anaerobic Without Weights –
Short-Intense Hill Sprints at maximum effort are an anaerobic exercise. This means that it signals your body to promote Strength, Speed and Power improvement through increasing muscle size and density. If you’re unable to access a Gymnasium, or want to get out in the open air, then Hill Sprints are a perfect replacement for your Lower-body weight lifting routine.
Due to the incline, hill sprints force your body into a forward leaning motion. This is the optimal position for maximum acceleration on level ground. Therefore practicing hill sprints ingrains this posture deep within your muscle memory, which is directly transferable to flat surface sprinting (the soccer pitch!). When hill sprinting you’re also forced to drive your arms more aggressively, meaning an increase in arm and shoulder power.
VO2 Max –
Hill Sprints can easily be adapted to several training goals. Reducing the recovery time and increasing the distance with vastly improve your cardiovascular endurance. The middle ground, short distance with fair rest time with drastically improve your hearts stroke volume, which is essentially the power output of your heart. Short distance with long recovery times are perfect for increasing muscular strength and acceleration.
What Solo Soccer Training Recommend
As an individual soccer training drill, you can not go wrong with hill sprints. For the greatest gains, Solo Soccer Training recommend hitting a variety of different inclines, distances and recovery times.
If your goal is to increase acceleration then keep your hills steep and your distances short. You should be sprinting for no more than 7 seconds at a time and recovering for at least 2 minutes between sprints. This extra recovery time is important, because your muscles need to be able to full recover in order to work at maximum output during each sprint. Recovery can be active recovery, meaning your able to do something light while your body recovers, such as juggling or short passes.
If you want to increase your overall top speed, then you need to be reaching top speed. Therefore you will need to sprint for between 8 and 15 seconds. This is too harsh on the body at a real steep incline, so for maximum results, look to find a hill with a 10% incline. For recovery, simply take a slow walk back to your starting point, inhaling lots of large deep breath and aiming to return your breathing back to a normal rate.
-If you can find an incline with a long enough distance to run 8-15 seconds on, begin your sprint on a level surface and aim to reach maximum speed as you hit the hill.
To increase cardiovascular endurance and your ability to sprint faster for longer, then you need to be reducing your recovery times. Start by getting 30-45 seconds rest between each sprint. As your fitness improves, you can then turn hill sprints into a style of Interval Training, by Sprinting up the hill and jogging back down. Make this a continuous effort and always aim to increase the number of completed sprints each session.
Solo Soccer Training recommends using a variety of the above methods. Football is a multi-functional sport, meaning it requires various types of fitness to complete full the 90 minutes. Therefore it is highly beneficial to focus on becoming a well rounded athlete, balancing all of your attributes.
Hill Sprints.. The perfect Individual Soccer Training Drill.
Solo Soccer takes a look at one of the ultimate individual soccer training exercises.