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Hill sprints: A favorite 20 minute workout

Posted by Lara Salahi  August 28, 2013 08:23 AM

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Ryan Healy.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

It’s no secret to those who know me or workout at my gym, that one of my favorite workouts is hill sprints. I love the intensity, the brevity, and the feeling of heavy legs when I reach the top. Because I signed up for several Spartan races in a few months time, I’ve been doing a lot of hill sprints as of late. If you’re looking for a challenging conditioning workout that torches fat and is easier on the joints then flat sprinting, give these a try.

To do hill sprints, find a hill or part of one, which you can reach the top in about 15-25 seconds. After you reach the top, you should be breathing heavily, and you’ll walk back down to the bottom of the hill, catch your breath, and repeat. I typically do anywhere from 6-10 of these depending on how much time I have. If you were to sprint for 20 seconds and then rest for 1 minute in between, you could get in about 6 sprints within 20 minutes, including a 4-5 minute warm-up and cool-down. For ideas on warm-ups and running mechanics, see this article.

If you haven’t run for a long time, don’t go all out just yet. Do 4-5 of these at a challenging pace (but not as fast as you can sprint) and monitor your body as you go. See how you feel the next day too. Try them again in a week and add an additional sprint.

I like to hill sprint on the days between strength training, but you can certainly use them after a strength training sessions as well. If you try them or have done them before, let me know what you think!

On an aside, this will be my last weekly blog post for a while as I go back to school to further my education in the field of occupational therapy. I want to thank all of the wonderful staff I’ve worked with here at, and YOU the readers for your feedback, engagement, questions, interactions, and for allowing me to share my passion with you each week. It has truly been a pleasure. Get moving and stay fit, Boston!

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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