Why Every Serious Strongman Should Run Uphill – Part 1 of 2

You probably already know that serious strongmen need all of the following to be successful:

Brute force

Supreme lower body strength

Super stamina and endurance

You may also know that strongman workouts should be:

Fast and efficient


One way to get an edge on your competition

And that’s why I recommend that every strongman who wants to be the best add the following exercise to their workout.

My name is Tim Kauppinen and I have been training strength and conditioning for the last 15 years. One of the skills I have developed is being able to observe the needs of athletes in competition and design training to meet those needs.

When I look at Strongman competitions, I see the need for a unique combination of strength, speed, power, endurance, and (perhaps most importantly) mental toughness.

Your training should reflect these needs. You should not be told to waste your time on things that do not work. They shouldn’t tell you about the latest shiny chrome-covered machine, or using long, boring (and useless) cardio, or anything else that comes out of those carpeted, mirrored social clubs that dare to call themselves gyms.

No, what you need is something “old school”. A simple but effective exercise. One that can address all of the needs listed above and take you to the next level in your training.

Because of all of this, I strongly suggest that you add hill sprints to your workout. This is why:

First of all, hill sprints are a great way to build power. They are a perfect combination of strength training and sprinting. And, as you know, training strength and speed together is the best way to develop the power needed for competition.

Hill sprinting can train your muscles to shoot fast and hard, to increase both the speed and the force of the contraction. This training will help you develop the power needed for many of the traditional strongman events. Their performance in loading, Atlas stones, truck pulling, stone lifting, log throwing and shot put can take off like a rocket from the speed / force of hill sprints.

Second, hill sprints build strength in muscle groups essential for strongman training. The most important are the hips, glutes, quads and calves. Muscles required for pushing, pulling, and lifting involved in events such as log or stone pressing, stone lifting, car rolling, and tire flipping.

Although you already train these muscles for these events, hill sprints add different stresses and demands on those muscles. Hills are a great way to “confuse” your muscles and force them to adjust. These sprints will ask your muscles not only to be strong, but to be strong and explosive at the same time. A great way to break a plateau in your workouts.

The third reason to sprint on hills is that it is a great way to build the stamina and endurance needed for long training sessions and competitions (even more demanding).

It is a training method that pushes the capacity of your heart and lungs to new limits, increasing their volume and allowing you to move more oxygen in and out of your body (and pump more blood to your muscles when they need it most). Training your heart and lungs in this way can also help you recover faster between attempts or events.

And all this without doing what you might consider “cardio”. It was thought that endurance could only be improved by training like a marathoner with a long, slow distance. Who wants to look like a marathoner? All that training does is shrink your muscles and make you look like a skeleton. The good news is that science is now showing that higher intensity training, such as hill sprinting, can give you even better results than trudging doing “road work.”

Think about the best your farmer’s walk, car walk, crucifix, or Hercules grip can be when you can stay stronger … longer.

These are just 3 of the benefits you can get from running on hills. In Part II, we’ll see how hill sprints can help you fit all of your training into your busy schedule, give you an edge over your competitors, and develop your mental toughness to a point where any goal is possible. Until then.

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