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How to Run Uphill With Perfect Form

The Right Way to Run Uphill

I don't despise running uphill, and I have my personal trainer to thank. I wouldn't say I'm head-over-heels in love with them, but now I seek hills out instead of avoiding them like I do corn syrup. I didn't always feel this way. I shied away from hills not because they're super tough to climb, but because they used to aggravate my knees and lower back. That is, until I learned proper form for steep inclines.

  • Put those arms to good use. Your legs are getting plenty of exercise when running uphill, so help them out by increasing the power in the swing of your arms. Imagine that your arms are pulling you up an imaginary rope. Keep your arm swing rhythm steady and your legs will follow.
  • Pay attention to your pelvis. As you run, you want to press your hips forward, keeping your shoulders stacked on top of your pelvis. This helps prevent you from leaning into the hill and bending forward at the waist, which can cause lower back and knee pain.
  • Knees up. As you run, make sure you're lifting your knees high. This will increase the pace of your stride, and contribute to proper posture.
  • Achieve liftoff with your toes. With each step you take, spring off the ground with your toes. This will propel you forward and make those hills a little easier to climb.

Do you avoid hills when running?

Image Source: Getty
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Join The Conversation
amber512 amber512 5 years
It is SO hilly around me that I am never motivated enough to run outside. There are just too many of them!
TidalWave TidalWave 5 years
I don't follow Chi Running but I do lean in when running up hill. The other trick I use is to tell myself to lift my knees. It's a mental trick, but it works for me. I lift my knees making it easier for me to run up the hill, without using the word "hill" in my mental cheerleading :)
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 5 years
I have a very hilly neighborhood and thanks to Chi running, I've totally changed my way of daily running. The Chi Running method is similar to what you described, but with some key differences. It is all about shortening stride length and remaining long and lean through the hips while running uphill. Also, you should actually lean a slight bit from the ankles into the hill, feeling almost like someone is pulling you from the top of the head. This creates the forward momentum you need to get up. Seriously, if you are interested in taking your running to a new level, check out the Chi Running book or go take a class. I can honestly say that I can go up the biggest hills now without feeling winded.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 5 years
Thanks for the tips - just in time for the SFM in < 3 weeks!
akseymour akseymour 5 years
No, I always try to include hills when I run. I may not love running them, but the calorie burn and booty shaping are worth the pain.
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