Hill Sprint Glute Pain

Hey guys, I’ve recently started doing hill sprints once a week, and I love them. However, after a few sprints, my glutes get REALLY pumped, even to the point of pain. It really hurts just to walk down the hill, and it takes my about 5-10 minutes to even think of doing another sprint. Are there any stretches/techniques I can use to prevent this? Thanks.

Firstly, glutes are the most important muscle in running, so if they are being worked then you’re doing something right.

I got Cressey’s Magnificent Mobility DVD a few years back and it’s fantastic for getting mobility and activity in the hip/lower limb musles… might be something good for you in there. Seriously, I always had bad hip flexibility and low back pain, and it transformed me

Also, how steep is the hill? I know people who do uphill sprints for actual sprinting performance have an upper limit for incline, b/c above a certain incline the biomechanics start to look like stair climbing and not running. I’m sure you can find this info, but you might need an easier hill.

I wouldn’t lower the incline just yet… in fact I would increase it if at all possible!

Actually, for beginners many times find it more beneficial, physiologically speaking, to run steeper inclines as it demands (teaches) the body to use a proper sprinting form… higher and stronger arm drive, higher and strong knee pick-up, learning to lean forward in the initial acceleration, landing and fast pick-up from the balls of your feet, etc. Plus, it is much less likely for you to seriously pull a hamstring on a steep incline than say a lower incline and/or even level flat sprint.

Just keep at it. That discomfort will soon go away after a couple of weeks. You are targeting weak muscles and tendons that need to get stronger. When your speeds (sprint timings) start to pick-up, your recovery improves, and your have got your technique form down pat that is the time to lower the incline and focus on speed improvements.

Even as an advanced runner I still utilize weighted stair climbs/runs and extremely steep incline sprints (where I am nearly on all fours) in my current fell running short circuit program and hill sprinting sessions.

I am sprinting and running hills or stairs nearly every other day now as I have really cut back on the long distance runs due to age, time, avoiding muscle loss, and for injury prevention. I also prefer the shorter brisk runs. I have a number of short hill circuits ranging from 25 meters to 3,000 meters that I sprint/run regularly.

Some Advice for Hill Sprinting:

Don’t focus on the distance and/or run times yet. Work on your sprinting technique, hills are perfect for that.

I recommend 10 to 40-second all-out sprint intervals with varying walking (crawling) rests of 10-seconds to 3-minutes in between each sprint. Aim for a good 10-20 intervals per session; some days you’ll be able to run twenty times other days barely ten. So you pretty much sprint-rest/walk your way to the top the hill.

If the hill has varying slopes/grades maybe sprint different percentage of grades as well. Or…

If there happens to be a very good spot on the hill that you prefer… has a very steep slope, maybe has grass, a safer section/area to run, etc. then just run your intervals on that section only by sprinting up, catching your breath, turning around, walking back down (preferably zigzagging your way down) to your starting point, turning around, and then sprinting up that same hill section again.

You could also just make it one long sprint/run/walk circuit by using the full length of the hill by first sprinting all out until you are running than jogging than finally only walking/staggering/crawling. If you recover after walking and still have some distance to go try sprinting or running again. Long distance hill sprinting takes time to develop but you can do it if you learn to be efficient and use good running technique.

Some Running Technique Advice:

For shorter hill sprint distances remember to drive your arms and hands high with high knee drive, lean far forward, and stay on the balls of your feet.

For the longer hill sprint/run distances you still need to stay on the balls of your feet and drive the arms but not as excessive or as high (keep a good swing cadence to encourage a faster stride rate), the knee height will drop some with shorter strides/steps as the slope steepness increases.

Try not to lean forward but remain more upright with shoulders back and relaxed… we call it “running tall”. As the steepness increases you may even begin jumping your way up that is normal and it is a good technique to get up a difficult slope.

Many Fell Runners may even use their hands to assist their leg drive by pressing their palms (heel of the hand) against the lower quads at just above the knee with the thumb on the inside and the middle finger on the outside with the index finger somewhere in the middle on the front of the knee… Don’t press on the mid or upper thigh area of the leg as this downward pressure actually stops the quads from straightening your leg and will actually brake you. Press the top of the knee very quickly and release immediately; don’t leave your hand on the knee this is very important.

Good luck.

Thanks for the input guys. And by the way, these hill sprints are for conditioning/fat loss purposes only. I’m not too concerned about speed at the moment.

Rico chet that is some solid advice.

OP do you foam roll- get on it roll your glutes with a softball or baseball

and do the 90/90 stretch- get that piriformas loose