Here are two truths about running hills, a tactic long- used by athletes and bodybuilders to lose fat and rapidly improve conditioning:
1) Running hills hurts. 2) Unfortunately, they really work. A new study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology adds a new pearl of wisdom to this age-old tool. Researchers performed an animal study that examined the muscles of three groups of subjects that ran uphill, downhill, or on a flat surface, and the effect the varying topography had on hypertrophy factors. The scientists concluded that running downhill inhibited muscle hypertrophy and resulted in greater atrophy. Running uphill—and on a flat road, to a lesser degree—actually promoted hypertrophy in some muscles, while doing little in other types of muscles fibers. In the strictest sense, if you’re using hill repeat to improve your physique, the smartest strategy is to run hard while going up the hill, and then slowly walk the descents as a form of active recovery.