Trying to think of an easy to organise, high intensity cardio session that requires no equipment, and will quickly have your clients out of breath and working hard?
Look no further than the simple – yet challenging – hill sprints! You can easily get a one hour session out of hill sprints that is challenging enough for your fit clients, and with enough variety to keep your members from getting bored.
Depending on the geography of your training venue, most groups will have a perfect hill nearby. What you are looking for is a hill that is 30 – 50 metres long, at a steep gradient, with room for several people to run up at once side by side (not a main road!). It works well if this is within 1 – 2 kms of your normal training venue, as jogging there and back can be your warmup and cooldown.
The benefits of hills training are substantial:
- It lends itself to effective HIIT training, as quite often you sprint up the hill and walk down
- It gives your body substantial EPOC
- Great to improve your speed and sprinting technique
- Great for improving muscular endurance for any serious runners in your group
- Easy to manage differing fitness levels, as there are regular breaks in the session and the difficulty can easily be changed by giving clients a different distance to run to.
Put three markers on the hill, one at 40% to the top (1), one at 70% to the top (2) and one at the top of the hll (3).
1. Sprint t0 (3) with a walk back down each time x 2
2. Sprint to (2) with a walk back down each time x 3
3. Sprint to (1) with a walk back down each time x 4
4. Sprint backwards to (1) x 3.
This really engages the posterior chain, and is easier on the quads
5. Lunge walk up the hill, then on trainer’s clap, sprint to (2) x 4.
Let them take about 10 steps before you clap.
6. Piggyback sprint* to (1) x 2 each.
Get clients to partner up with someone of a similar size/strength, and get them to old fashioned piggyback their partner up the hill. Harder work, but more recovery as you get carried the next time.
*Piggyback sprint: If you have clients that are heavily overweight or you think they would be embarrassed being piggybacked, then feel free to leave this one out. I have done this session before where I have left this out, to avoid an awkward situation where I thought one client might not want to get carried.
7. Partner pushes to (1) x 2 each.
Use the same partner as above. Partner A stands up straight, and partner B places their hands just under A’s shoulder blades, with arms straight. From here, B gets low with their head down, and pumps their legs, pushing A up the hill. A plants their feet into the ground on the way up, providing adequate resistance to make their partner work hard! Like the piggybacks, they work a lot harder, but get more rest as their partner works next time.
8. Handicapped sprint to (3) x 1.
Start your clients at different points on the hill, and your fitter guys even further down the start point. Aim to have it so that everyone should roughly finish at the top at the same time. Make it a race to the top!
The above session can be broken up over different hills if you want to create a roaming style session. That way you can get a bit more variety, and your clients feel like they have achieved a bit more by dominating a few different hills.
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