Hill Sprints to Lower Resting Heart Rate

Sprint your way uphill for cardiovascular health.

Sprint your way uphill for cardiovascular health.

A rapid heartbeat is considered a good sign when you meet somebody special. Otherwise, it’s much better to have a slow resting heart rate -- an indicator of cardiovascular health. To achieve this, however, you must challenge the heart through exercise. Sprinting up hills will certainly get your heart racing and contribute to the development of a slow resting heart rate.

Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Multiply your MHR by 0.7 and 0.8 to determine your target range for cardiovascular improvement. For example, if you’re 20 years old, your MHR is 200 and your target range is 140 to 160 beats per minute while you’re exercising.

Warm up for your hill sprinting workout by jogging or walking briskly for five to 10 minutes.

Perform dynamic stretches of the muscles you’ll exercise in your workout. Include foot circles, lunges, squats, running with high knees, butt kicks, hip rotations and shoulder circles.

Run a 20-yard sprint at about half speed on level ground. Walk back to the starting line and do two to four more sprints of gradually increasing intensity. Finish with a sprint at about 90-percent effort.

Run five 10-yard sprints. Rest for 15 seconds between sprints. Do a second set of four 20-yard sprints up the hill, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions. Do three 30-yards sprints with 60 seconds of rest for your third set, followed by two 40-yard sprints with 90 seconds of rest in between, then conclude your workout with a 50-yard sprint. Depending on your fitness level, you may be able to reduce your rest periods, which will help keep your heart rate elevated.

Measure your heart rate before you begin your hill sprints, then measure it every few minutes until your workout is complete. Keep your heart rate in the target zone for as long as possible throughout your workout. Adjust your routine as necessary to increase or decrease the intensity. If you don’t reach your target rate quickly enough, for example, increase the distance you run in each set. You can also increase the number of reps in each set, reduce your rest periods, or try to find a steeper hill.

Tip

  • Wear soccer cleats to sprint up the hill if the surface is slippery.

Warnings

  • Find the smoothest possible section of the hill on which to run. Running on a very uneven surface, or stepping on a large rock, can result in a twisted ankle or other leg injury.
  • If you’re new to hill sprinting, limit yourself to two workouts per week during the first two weeks to let your body adapt to the exercise.
 

About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

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