Annmarie Licatese, DVRT Master (The Fit Foodie Mama)
Hills. Just the mention of the word to runners can make them run screaming …for the well, flatlands. For whatever reason hills are most runners number one enemy. Flat courses are preferred for a PR and training routes are often mapped out to avoid them.
I get it. Running uphill is HARD. Not only does it takes conditioning and endurance but it also takes a lot of strength as well. Even for those of us who live in very hilly areas and practice running them, it can be a chore. I happen to live in a VERY hilly area, in fact, the choice at the end of my driveway is either hill to the right or hill to the left. Obviously, hill running it part of my routine but I know that hill terrain isn’t as common everywhere as it is here.
So if you live in Florida or happen to be stuck on the treadmill due to time constraints, how ever do you train for hills? You guessed it- strength training! My preferred method is DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training exercises. Not only will it help you to build strength but also improve conditioning as well.
Ultimate Sandbag MAX Lunge– Deadlift the sandbag to standing position. Drop step while rotating the bag to the lead leg at the same time. Keep your chest tall and make sure not to rotate past the knee. Drive through the heel back to standing position and squeeze the glutes. This move will help you to build stability and strength and maintain proper running form for both going up and downhill.
Front Loaded Sprinter Squat– Get into regular squatting stance then move one foot back so that the toes line up with the heel of the opposite foot. Apply pressure to the ball of the rear foot while keeping heel off the ground. Descend into squat position allowing hips to sit back. This move helps to strengthen the quads which are key for uphill running!
Sprinter Deadlift– Get into staggered stance position and place Ultimate Sandbag against the shins. Hip hinge down and grab the bag by the neutral grips, pull shoulders down and back making sure crease of your elbows are facing outward. Drive through the heels to standing position then lower the bag back to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner without losing tension. This move strengthens the glutes which will give you control on the downhill.
Front Loaded Step Ups– Clean the Ultimate Sandbag into the Front Loaded position. Step one foot up onto a box and step up, squeezing your glutes at the top. Slowly step back down making sure to maintain control the entire time with both your step and position of the bag. This move helps you develop the power you need to charge uphill!
Front Loaded Lateral Lunge– Begin with the Ultimate Sandbag in the Front Loaded position. Step out to one side, bend your knee and load the hip to the side that you’re moving to. Drive your foot on the loaded side into the ground and power up back into starting position. This is a great move that helps to build flexibility in the hips and build power in a plane of motion that runners don’t typically work.