If you're ever bored of running on flat ground, then find yourself a hill and get to work. Incline training is a vigorous workout that can have total body effects. Whether you’re running outside, on an exercise machine or simply using incline training for your muscles, these types of exercises boost the benefits of your workout.
The intensity of incline training can strengthen your heart and your lungs. More stress is put on your muscles when you’re running on an incline or strength training with an incline, which can increase the strength, elasticity and power of your muscles over time. It also engages the muscles used for sprinting, so running at an incline can make you more equipped for both long-distance endurance running and short-distance speed running, according to RunningPlanet.com. Incline running is a powerful form of aerobic exercise that can also help you manage your weight, decrease health risks and improve your mood, MayoClinic.com reports.
Strength Training with Incline
One way to use an incline to boost your workout is through incline strength-training exercises. These are exercises done on an incline bench to increase the intensity of your strength-training routine. To strengthen your core muscles, which include your abdominals, lower back and pelvis, you can perform situps, crunches or side crunches on an incline bench. You can also give barbell bench presses and barbell shoulder presses a try, which both work your chest, shoulders and triceps. To engage your biceps, as well as your chest and deltoids, you can do dumbbell flyes. Using an incline during all of these exercises can make good use of your core, and the inclined position will help target your upper-body muscles so you get the most out of your workout.
Cardio Training with Incline
If you’ve ever ascended a hill, whether by walking or running, you know how much energy you expend. Running up a hill requires more energy and drive than running on flat ground, because of this increase in intensity. Not only does it increase the intensity in a lesser workout time, but you can also increase your speed. According to a study published in “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” 44 athletes ran 40-yard and 10-yard sprints on five different slopes that ranged from 2.1 degrees to 6.9 degrees. The study concluded that 40-yard and 10-yard sprints performed on incline slopes of approximately 5.8 degrees proved most favorable compared to a flatter running incline and the other assessed slopes. To maximize the training of athletes, including hill sprints with slopes of approximately 5.8 degrees will be beneficial in terms of velocity and acceleration.
Running or walking on a flat treadmill or track can get boring, but incline training can add variety to your workout. Try the 20-minute glute-sculpting hill workout provided by "Fitness" magazine. To do this workout, you’ll work with different inclines to not only burn calories, but to work your glute muscles. Alternate two- to three-minute intervals with inclines between 8 to 10 percent with a one-minute interval at a 4- to 6-percent incline. As you build your endurance, increase the incline during the intervals for a better workout. Give yourself a five-minute warm-up and cool-down with the incline between 2 and 4 percent.
- Fitness Magazine: The 20-Minute, Glute-Sculpting Treadmill Routine
- RunnersWorld.com: So Inclined
- MayoClinic.com: Aerobic exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Effect of the Degree of Hill Slope on Acute Downhill Running Velocity and Acceleration; W.P. Ebben, J.A. Davies and R.W. Clewien
- ExRx: Incline Sit-Up
- ExRx: Barbell Bench Press
- ExRx: Barbell Shoulder Press
- ExRx: Dumbbell Fly
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.