6 Exercises to Make You Stronger on Hills

These six exercises with strengthen your postural muscles, making you a better climber. – By Lauren Bedosky

Strong ankles, glutes, and upper-back muscles prevent slumping as you climb. Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Strong ankles, glutes, and upper-back muscles prevent slumping as you climb. Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Many runners dread hills, but training on them confers benefits that help you run better on any terrain: glute and leg strength, a more efficient stride, and greater aerobic capacity.

Hill training also may lead to hip, knee, and ankle pain. The steeper the incline, the greater the stress on your body, and the harder it becomes to avoid slumping forward, says personal trainer Mark Schneider: “If you can’t maintain your posture, you will eventually break.”

To stay healthy, perform these moves at least twice per week. Do the sequence once as a pre-run warmup or four times as a workout on a non-running day.

Foot Slap

 Mitch Mandel

Mitch Mandel

With feet hip-width apart, rock onto your heels to lift the balls of both feet high, and slam the floor when you lower them. Begin with sets of 20 repetitions and work up to sets of 50.

Quadruped Hip Circles

 Mitch Mandel

Mitch Mandel

From all fours, extend your left leg, bend it to circle it to the side and forward, then straighten it back. Do three or four reps, then switch directions. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Reverse Sliding Lunge

 Mitch Mandel

Mitch Mandel

With a towel beneath your left foot and your weight on your right leg, slide your left foot back into a lunge. Push through your right heel to stand. Do 10 to 12 reps per side.

High Step
4

Plant your right foot on a tall bench so your right knee is higher than your hip. Press through your right heel until your right leg is straight. Lower back down and repeat. Do five to 10 reps per side.

Resistance Band Face Pull

 Mitch Mandel

Mitch Mandel

Grip a band anchored overhead so your palms face down and your arms are straight. Pull your hands toward your face, keeping your elbows high. Do 12 to 15 reps.

Hand-Release Pushup

 Mitch Mandel

Mitch Mandel

From a pushup, lower slowly to the floor. Lift your hands and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Plant your hands and push up to the starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps.

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