hill, training, running, marathon, endurance, cardio

Are Hills the New Speed?

Incline training is gaining in popularity, but there's a right way to do it. This Tier 3+ trainer will make sure you're on the up-and-up.

You may have a seen a resurgence in popularity of previously-snubbed machines like steppers and stairmills—maybe you've noticed exercisers donning old-school ankle weights as they climb their way through a workout. While the calling card of cardio had been your max interval speed, there's good reason more exercisers are heading for the hills:  “You receive numerous benefits from hill training,” says Ian Sample, a Tier 3+ trainer at New York City's Greenwich Avenue location. “First, you’re increasing hip and knee flexion, which causes you to use more muscle fibers, and the more fibers you use, the harder your heart has to work, so essentially you’re strengthening more muscles and increasing your cardio capacity at the same time.” To boot, a recent study found that doing 30-second intervals on a 10 percent incline twice a week boosted long distance runners’ performance more than completing 2+-minute intervals on a flat surface. But not all climbs are created equal, and mimicking a true outdoor hill workout at the gym isn’t easy. Follow these tips to make sure you see benefits from your next uphill battle.