The top 6 reasons we like hills for training ankle rocker and hip extension

image source:

image source:

1. Hills do not cost money and are almost always readily available : )

2. Being outside is good for your health

3. Hills do not pull the hip into extension and place a stretch (pull) on the anterior hip musculature including the rectus femoris, iliopsoas and iliacus. This causes a slow stretch of the muscle, activating the muscle spindles (Ia afferents) and causing a muscle contraction via the stretch reflex. This will inhibit the posterior compartment of hip extensors (especially the glute max) through reciprocal inhibition, making it difficult to fire them.

4. A hill does not force your knee into extension, eliciting a stretch reflex in the hamstrings like a treadmill does

5. A hill naturally puts the ankle into dorsiflexion, and, along with active pulling up of the toes, helps you to get more into your anterior compartment and eliminates the tendency of the ankle being pulled into dorsiflexion (like with a treadmill) which would initiate a stretch reflex in the gastroc/soleus and long flexors.

6. The increased hip flexor requirement of going uphill gives you more opportunity to engage the abs before the psoas and rectus femoris/TFL and on the stance phase leg, you can get an increased stretch of those muscles

Tips for picking the right hill and using it to your advantage

  • When just starting out, try and pick an incline that does not exceed the ankle dorsiflexion available to the patient/client

  • It’s OK if it’s uncomfortable, but not if its painful

  • Concentrate on pulling up the toes and dorsiflexing the ankle

  • Squeeze your glute at heel strike and toe off

  • leave your stance phase heel on the ground as long as possible

  • Place your hands on your abs and concentrate on activating them PRIOR to flexing your hip

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#walkinghills #traininganklerocker #thegaitguys # increasinghipextension