Hiking Hill Sprints?

  • Creator
  • #54260

    Was debating this on my 2 hours drive to work.

    In line with the idea of doing things “event specific” I am starting to do all my Z4 intervals hiking with a pack. That lead to the following question. Would it be more worthwhile to do hill hiking sprints with high amount of weight (instead of running)? I mean walk as fast as possible up a very steep hill with heavy pack.


    I already do a Max Strength Circuit that involves a Max box step up exercise. Should I just do that?

    My goal is jut to get better at peak bagging and approaching remote climbs in MT and Canada back country.

  • Participant
    Dada on #54270

    It’s about max power output and you don’t do this with walking.


    jakedev on #54283

    Box step ups are given as an example in New Alpinism to add to a Max Strength Circuit. In the interest of specificity it would make sense these are better going up a steep hill. Long strides and doing enough weight to where you can barely last 10 seconds. Maybe I’m off base here. Oh well.

    Dada on #54288

    You can either go very fast (hill sprints) or use a lot of weight so you can only complete a max. of 6 reps (box step ups w/ weight). The weights need to very heavy. I can’t think of a setup where you walk up a step hill with a lot of weight and being under full control. But maybe you prove me wrong 🙂

    LindsayTroy on #54300

    I just typed out a whole response thinking you were saying should you RUN hill sprints with a heavy pack.

    I think they need to be done running, can you not run?

    Next Hill sprints are a muscular endurance workout and max strength is, well, a strength workout. They’re different training “blocks”. If your goal is to get better at peak bagging, I would do an 8-16 week strength block followed by an 8-16 week muscular endurance block. If you’ve already been doing the max strength workout for 8 weeks OR if peak bagging season is <8 weeks away, then just skip ahead to Muscular endurance. Just be warned your legs will be fatigued for the whole ME block so don’t expect to be at your peak, and try to give yourself a taper of 2-3 weeks before your “big event”.

    Here is the gym ME workout: https://uphillathlete.com/at-home-muscular-endurance-workout-with-progression/

    Anonymous on #54312

    @jakedev: Are you using one of our plans? Or do you have one of the books?

    In short, speed first, weight second. Across hundreds of athletes, we’ve seen the best results by working on speed first and then adding weight later. Using weight too soon will make you slower in the long run, because you’re teaching your body to go at that pace.

    Also, we don’t normally prescribe flat sprints because the chance of injury is high. OUr sprint progressions are all recommended to be on the steepest hill you can find, preferably at least 20+% (11+ degrees).

    jakedev on #54358

    Scott: So I have been putting together my own programs from reading both the books, phone consult guidance, and got the marathon plan awhile ago.

    Lindsay: I have gone through several General, MAX, and ME periods. My Max Strength training involved doing a Max Strength Circuit (Hangs, Stepups, Locks offs, Calf Raises) 1x a week and a Max (running) Hill Sprint 1x a week. I am putting together my program for the fall that begins in early August. Was just thinking to optimize it more for heavy pack hiking in winter to ice climbs.

    Dada: I guess I got the idea from the recent speed podcast. They talk alot about “event specific”, for me that is hiking fast, rucking, etc and was curious how far that should go. Sounds like Hill Sprints should stay with the running for the fast turnover.

    Switching gears here – –
    I will say doing Z4 intervals running vs doing Z4 intervals hiking (fast uphill 15-20% grade) with a moderately heavy pack works my legs in different ways. I’m sure they compliment each other but I noticed a deficit in one over the other

    I do maintenance ME Leg Circuit until I start the ME period again. Does anyone do maintenance Z4 intervals (say through the Max period). Or is ME specific maintenance work enough?

    Thanks for the responses and the enlightening discussion.


    dcgm on #54518

    Without offering an opinion on the larger place of high-intensity work in your overall training, I suspect you could get pretty close to max power output at a fairly task-specific range of motion and point on the force-velocity curve by pushing or dragging a heavy sled on a flat surface, with much less impact and potential for injury than you would see with hiking uphill real fast with weight on your back.

    Anonymous on #54612

    Good suggestion. (Check out page 231 in TftNA.)

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