T Nation

Good Warm-up Routine for Hill Sprints?


Hello everyone, long time without posting but always reading the forum (especially the pull ups topic, as of late).
After my knee surgery in November '14, I slowly got back in shape and last month - despite having some little edema left - I tried hill sprints again, that I consider one of the best training tools I've ever used (thanks to T-Nation!). They went well, knee was fine.

I usually do them at the end of a climbing session, because I find it very difficult to properly warm up for them. By climbing on a steep board I engage glutes and hamstrings and this helps a lot.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, despite climbing before, I did sprints and got injured.
I thought I had strained my left gluteus but then I understood that it was one of the deep transversal muscles under the gluteus. I quit doing sprints for some weeks and now I am almost completely recovered, so I'd like to give sprints a go again (maybe not going full throttle from the very first set...).

Leaving climbing aside, what would you consider a good warm up routine to prevent injuries and perform well?
I'm thinking about lunges, glute-ham-raises, skip, and maybe some warm up sprints?
Your help is much appreciated.



Is that a 1 arm, 1 finger chinup? Thats pretty good.


Pretty, pretty good.


Thank you guys.
@Rampant, thanks for the video, it’s been very helpful. I tried that routine yesterday teamed with glute-ham-raises and skip, and the sprints went quite good. I did two warm up sprints taking it quite easy, focusing on posture, high knees a quickness off the ground; then I did two more sets building up some speed and finally two more going almost flat out. They felt progressively better, so I’m definitely keeping this routine. I feel sore in a very good way today. I’m very glad I’m back into some sprints!

@Farmer, thank you for the compliment. It’s something I really wanted to do as a personal challenge, it hasn’t much transference into real climbing unless you go to the Frankenjura to pull on pockets. It took me many years and a lot of patience to get there but finally… It feels quite extreme to be honest and I rarely test it. Anyway, thank you, it’s appreciated.

Another question: I take very incomplete rests between each sprint, probably around 30". I sprint for a very short distance, probably 15/20 meters with increasing angle. What do you think are the differences between sprinting with complete rests or incomplete ones? I imagine that with complete rests the power output and strength production will be higher, but taking in mind that I use them for conditioning, increasing metabolism, etc. what would you recommend?
Thanks again.


Find a tough, but do-able number of sprints, like 6-8. Enough to get a workout, without crushing yourself. Keep your rest periods consistant. Start with 30sec or whatever. Gradually shorten your rest periods. Do the same work in less time.

In my opinion hill sprints are tough enough that you shouldn’t just keep adding more and more sprints in the beginning. Shortening your rest periods will keep the workload the same, but really challenge your lungs.

If you need more power-output mixed in, you can broad jump, do 2 “hops” or even skip to the approach of the hill. Jump/bounce or bound over, get your feet under you, and sprint. Not exactly plyometrics, but still a lot of force to deal with.

And then chinup is awesome! You did it once and got the picture, you don’t need to do it again! Is that feat “common” in the climbing world?


Sprints are tough enough, you don’t need a hill


Hi guys, thanks again.

@Airtruth, I chose hill sprints because they’d been advocated on here, and also because it’s said that they are less dangerous, due to the minor speed, and the shorter range of motion of the glutes and hamstrings caused by the inclination. Also, I have a steep street close to my house, so they’re perfect. But yes, I understand what you mean!

@Farmer, thanks for the good plan! I don’t plan to add some more sprints, 6 progressive ones are more than enough, so shortening rests is a good idea! And I particularly like the idea of putting some plyo right before, the jumps or skip are truly a great suggestion. I’m afraid I’ll look even stranger to passers by and onlookers from surrounding buildings, but hey-ho… (There’s one guy who must take his cigarette break always at the same hour, and that’s when I sprint, just below his window. He stays there, elbows planted, cigarette in mouth, and watches me! Would be cool to find him training one day! Motivation is everything!)

With respect to the pull up, thank you again for your enthusiasm. I don’t know how common it is in the climbing community: probably more than we think, especially in areas in which the rock is very pocketed. My problem is that when I’ve done something good, I want it to become the base for future improvements. That’s why I keep training many many useless feats. I’m stronger now at 43 than when I was 25 or 30 or 35, and I want to keep improving ideally forever. One of my fingerboarding routines is partially dedicated to one arm, one finger pull ups and I’m still progressing. The aim is to do one with index finger and possibly ring finger, my weakest one.
Sadly I realize that now I’m more of a “trainer” than a climber. I have little time to go on rock and not many projects to try. Hopefully one of them will be climbed tomorrow, though!!!

Thanks for all the suggestions, and please feel free to add more.


Grip stuff is cool, but not many are really into it. I did a regular chin with both middle fingers like 12 years ago, and haven’t messed with them since then. I also strained my bicep tendon 2 years ago trying to work up to a 1 arm chin, so I’m really impressed by that photo. Good luck with the ring finger chin!

I’m working on my pinch grip now, and I’d like to hit a few rafter/pinch grip chins at some point in the future. And lift a 45 plate by the hub to clean and press it. Maybe close the Ironmind #4. Who knows?

Also, its cool you train in the city. I’m in the country, usually only the cows watch me.


If you want to work on pure speed, rest longer to recover. If you do it for conditioning, keep the rest periods very short. Simple.

The main purpose of hill sprints compared to normal sprints is that they slow you down and simulate a forward lean, thus teaching proper maximum speed mechanics without the strain of really going fast.


@nighthawkz, thanks, good knowledge. I’ll keep rests shorts, once I’ll sprint again, given that yesterday I strained again my gluteus and lower back, when climbing. I think that my body could be telling me something… I’m seriously considering to take a few weeks off from normal training and rest or do something completely different like swimming.

@Farmer, yes, grip stuff is really cool, also for non climbers. It’s one of the many possibilities of our body and it’s very interesting to explore it. And yes, it’s cool to train in the city, once you get used to people’s stares it’s ok… But also being free to do whatever you like without having to think about who could possibly see you has its advantages: I’m thinking about Summer, when even a tank top is too hot but I can’t go around the neighborhood barechested!

Thanks again for the info.


Update. I’m almost completely recovered from my latest injury, turned out it was a big strain/contrapture of the higher part of my left gluteus, luckily nothing related to the spine, I was a bit concerned because my lower back had seized but it was only antalgic.

Anyway, I did hill sprints today after climbing on my board, the new warm up routine seems to be preparing me much better, and the two warm up sprints are a very good choice. I tried Farmer’s advice and for the last two sprints I did three jumps pulling the knees as high as possible, then sprinted. So cool! Will always do them!

Thank you all.


It’s good to see you’re rolling again.

Check out some footage of triple-jumpers, and watch how they “bounce” and generate power.


Cheers! I will do, but I fear that that kind of bounce could be a little too much for my poor knees and ankles… I have to be very very careful!
I will keep the last sprint routine though, the last two sprints with the jumps right before are brutal!!!
Thanks again.


Hello again, I resurrect this topic only to say that all the advices that I got here - not just on this discussion - proved to be absolutely fantastic. Despite a few injuries, a full time job and everything, in the last two days I managed to complete two of my bouldering projects, one of which I’d been trying for about three years now.

Thank you all.


Training in a progressive manner to get better at non-lifting sports! I love it.

Great job not falling off the rock! After 3 years that’s gotta feel pretty good.

The guns are looking good too.


Thanks really Flats, I appreciate it.
In fact, the picture is not of my three years long project, but of another easier one, that still gave me great satisfaction especially because I climbed it really fast.
I’m trying to edit a video, maybe I’ll post it on my profile.
Thanks a gain for all the infos and advices.
I wish I had known T-Nation 15 years ago…