I often say that hill running sessions can literally make or break runners. Particularly in terms of injuries and muscle imbalances… and it all relies on running form and execution.
On one hand, hill running workouts executed with good form are brilliant for improving Glute activation and developing stride length. While on the other hand, when hill running workouts are executed with poor running form, the athlete often fails to take the full benefit from the session, and instead reinforces flawed movement patterns and muscle imbalances.
Following on from a previous article on hill running form, I’ve been asked many times to explain on the concept of ‘lifting the foot’ to increase the role of the Hamstrings in facilitating efficient motion of the swing leg.
Increasing use of the Hamstrings to actively (but only slightly) increase knee flexion as the hip flexes, shortens the lever arm of the swinging limb acting on the Hip Joint, resulting in less effort being required by the Hip Flexors to ‘drag’ the leg forwards onto the next stride.
As I explain in the video above, I tend to see a correlation between runners who are Quad / Hip Flexor dominant in their swing leg mechanics, and those who suffer with ITB Syndrome or Low Back Pain, and other common running complaints. These overuse injuries are usually as a result of muscle imbalances, which can often be exacerbated by hill running with poor form.