Why Hill Sprints?
Safety: It’s a lot harder to incur an overuse injury like a pulled muscle with hill sprints. Hill sprints are one of the few explosive exercises that allow for maximum effort without maximum velocity; no matter how hard you work, you’ll never reach top speed. This is one of the reasons sprints are done on a hill; these workouts are something you can do whenever the mood strikes you unless you live in a flat area like me. Then the treadmill is a good go to. Hill sprints also allow for more evenly distributed training stress. In a flat sprint, the average recreational runner uses mostly hamstrings to move; in a hill sprint, however, the incline increases recruitment of the rest of your posterior chain. Maximum speed work on flat surfaces is often associated with hamstring strains. Your hamstrings will definitely get a lot of work, but so will your glutes, low back, and calves. The load on the body is a little more even. Not only does this help prevent injury, it also allows for easier recovery. Plus, the strengthening work your posterior chain performs will result in increased power. Sprinting on a hill allows you to increase speed, despite the fact that you’re training at sub-max speeds.
Exposing Weaknesses: If your aerobic or anaerobic recovery is lacking, you’ll find out after a few hill sprints. If you’ve got a general quad dominance, or poor muscular endurance, hill sprints will let you know.
Better Striding and Acceleration: The nature of uphill sprinting requires you to flex your knees and lean forward while you’re running, which is more in line with proper acceleration mechanics. Hill sprints allow you to push your body and generate high leg turnover (cadence) without actually running that fast. Lifting of the toes and ankle dorsiflexion is also required prior to landing. This is associated with power generation and increase in stride length. Quite simply: hill sprints make your muscles more effective at performing sprints on flat surfaces, while also improving your sprint technique.
Hill sprints WILL make you a better sprinter even after just a few weeks. It doesn't take anything more than a hill that takes 10 seconds to run up, or a treadmill incline of as low as 5-7. Have fun with these workouts through www.completephysique.com
The Power of “YES"
Scientists and Psychologists have done studies (via MRI) and found when a person sees the word “no” flashed on a screen for less than 1-second neurotransmitter substances and stress producing hormones are quickly released in the brain. These chemicals disrupt normal brain functioning; impair logic, reasoning, language processing and communication. Seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse. The more you think about the words, the more you can damage key structures that regulate memory, feelings, and emotions. You’ll disrupt your sleep, appetite and the ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction. Then if you vocalize “no” or even frown a bit while doing so MORE stress chemicals are released not only in your brain but the listeners. The listener then experiences increased anxiety and irritability, which results in undermining cooperation and trust. What a spiral! How we overcome our neurological bias for negativity is to repetitiously and consciously generate as many positive thoughts as we can. Some psychiatrists believe we must generate three to five positive thoughts for every negative or we likely will fail! Positive words and thoughts propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and help us build resilience to handle life’s problems. Even if the positive thoughts are irrational they will still enhance well being and happiness.
Now put this information into the scope of workout self talk. What do you say to yourself about exercise? While exercising? “I can’t”, “I’m weak today”, “No time”, “I’m so tired”. Do you say them with a growl on your mug? My advice: when you hear yourself saying negative words like this say to yourself or out loud exactly the opposite: “I’m excited”, “I can”, “Now”, “Win”, “Strong”, “Energetic”. Even if you don’t believe yourself the words will stop negative thoughts, change facial expression, perhaps make you smile and surely motivate change.
Psychologist’s advice: choose your words wisely and speak them slowly. This will allow you to interrupt the brain’s propensity to be negative, and as research has shown, the mere repetition of positive words like love, peace, and compassion will turn on specific genes that lower physical and emotional stress. You’ll feel better about your life, health and exercise, build more trusting relationships at home and work and live longer. That is the power of “Yes”.
Until next month...
Kimberly Chase, CFT. AFT.