Looking for a great workout to mix into your routine? Skating doesn’t have to be all about finding a flat bike path – in fact, you can get your best workouts ‘off the beaten path’. This workout will most definitely get you into top shape while also torching calories and fat, both during the workout and for hours after. If you are a runner, you probably recognize the phrase ‘hill repeats’, as this is one of the best workouts runner’s can do, but it can also be the hardest on the body which is the reason I translated my hill workouts to my skates. So if you are looking to become faster, ‘fitter’ and leaner this, whether you are training for a marathon or just simply love the purity of sport and physical exertion, give this a try.
Where: Anywhere you can find a paved hill, think country roads or a big park (ex. Central Park) or even rolling neighborhood streets.
When first starting out, I recommend finding a medium sized hill. A medium hill is one that takes between 20 to 65 seconds to skate up. This length of hill is a good distance for the 5km –half marathon runners, because it combines the benefits of short intervals with the stresses on local muscular endurance and tolerance of lactic acid. The energy source is both aerobic and anaerobic and you will experience the build up in blood lactate as you go further up the hill.
Regardless of the hill you choose, the key here is to make sure it’s either long enough or steep enough that you are totally spent at the top and need to recover. In my training I typically use a hill that takes me roughly 60 seconds to 90 seconds to skate as hard as I can to the top. To mix it up, some days I use a shorter hill and add more repeats, and some days I use a longer hill (2-3min) and simply do less repeats.
Clearly your pace will slow down on the hill but the key is to try to get up as fast as you possibly can. Yes, your thighs, bum and lungs will be burning, but you will feel amazing at the end AND for those of you who double as runners, you can count on your times improving substantially. Don’t fear those hills – let them be your strength!
And remember, when you are at the top of the hill, be sure you feel comfortable skating down, but engaging your brake at the top. If skating downhill its always a great idea to wear gear!
Sample Hill Workout Plan
5-8 minute: Warm Up Skate
1.5 – 2 min: Skate as hard as you can up the hill
Skate back down the hill. Give yourself enough to get your heart rate down and you feel ready to go again.
Do 4-6 hill climbs
5 Minute Cool Down Skate
I encourage you do try different lengths of hills, some weeks try shorts hills, some long and some medium, the benefits from each are quite different.
For the athletes out there, I’ve highlighted a few of the key benefits:
· helps develop power and muscle elasticity
· improves stride frequency and length
· develops coordination, encouraging the proper use of arm action during the driving phase and feet in the support phase
· develops control and stabilization as well as improved speed
· promotes strength endurance
· develops maximum speed and strength (short hills)
· improves lactate tolerance (mixed hills)
And for those looking for aesthetic results: Skating Hills on a consistent basis leads to drastic weight loss and toning effects (especially for the hips, butt and thighs)!
Have fun with the Hills!