If hill workouts make you think of slogging up a never-ending incline, let us introduce you to a different kind. And yes, it's still a great cardio session. In fact, exercising on a hill provides many cardiovascular benefits, Courtney Winfield, CPT, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
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"Due to the hill's incline, our muscles are engaged differently than they are on flat surfaces, which raises our heart rate and burns more calories," Winfield says. It's also ups the ante on your strength training, since the muscles in your lower body (think: hamstrings, quads and glutes) work a bit harder to power you up an incline, she says.
Plus, you'll also recruit more core strength, since the hill poses a balance challenge. Just take things slowly, Winfield advises, since being off-balance increases your risk of falling.
"Slow your movements down a bit; take this time as an opportunity to work through your movements slowly and focus on form," she says. Not only does this make the workout safer, but it also allows you to engage mindfully in each move and really target specific muscle groups.
So if you're ready to get a calorie-blasting workout, this hill workout is for you. Designed by Winfield to work you from head to toe, this cardio-strength session will sculpt your arms, legs, core and glutes as you climb through each movement.
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.
Try This 20-Minute Full-Body Hill Workout
Do: 5 minutes of full-body movements on flat ground, including body-weight squats, jumping jacks, jump rope, light jogging or running in place.
Warming up is an important past of any exercise regimen, as it aids in injury prevention and allows your muscles to work properly through each set, according to Winfield.
Do: each of the 5 exercises for 2 minutes, rest for 2 minutes, then repeat the 5 exercises again.
Move 1: Bear Crawl
- Start in a tabletop position on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Crawl forward up the hill starting with your right hand and left foot.
- Follow with the left hand and the right foot.
- Take 20 steps forward, turn around, then walk back down the hill.
- Repeat until your 2 minutes are up.
Move 2: Plank Walk With Shoulder Tap
- Start in a high plank with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Engage your core.
- Slowly bring your right hand to your left shoulder and tap it once.
- Return your right hand back down to the ground.
- Then, tap your right shoulder once with your left hand.
- After 1 shoulder tap on each shoulder, move your right arm and leg forward (up the hill), climbing one step.
- After you have taken 10 plank walks up the hill, slowly walk back down in the same way.
Move 3: Frog Hop
- Stand with your hands at your sides.
- Squat down by hinging your hips back and bending your knees. Keep your torso upright and core engaged.
- Jump forward, up the hill, swinging your hands up in the air in front of you, going for distance over height.
- As your feet hit the ground, take the impact through your legs with knees slightly bent and jump again.
- Complete 5 jumps, then walk slowly back down the hill and repeat.
Move 4: Wide Lunge
- Stand with feet hip-width apart facing up the hill.
- With hands on your hips, take a large step forward with your right leg.
- Keep the majority of your weight on your front foot as you bend your knees and lower your hips with the front foot flat and back heel lifted
- Descend until your rear knee almost touches the ground and the front knee is stacked directly above the ankle, creating 90-degree bend in both knees.
- Drive through the heel of your front foot and push yourself back up to your starting position.
- Repeat as many times as you can up the hill before lunging back down the hill.
Move 5: Walking Calf Raise
- Facing uphill, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your hips and engage your core.
- Take a step forward with your right leg and before bringing your left foot forward, lift both of your heels off of the ground so you are in the calf-raised position.
- Hold that position for one second and bring your left foot forward, taking a step up the hill.
- Perform 20 steps with 20 raises.