Uphill Running

Sports Science Basics for Runners

By Dr. David Cosman in Hong Kong

Uphill Running

Knee pain from running uphill can be related to inefficient fundamentals of your running technique. This chapter reviews technique as it applies to running uphill.

Maintain a tall running posture, with your head up; neutral actually, but up from the typical “iPosture” that people adopt when yapping on the phone. Your low back and pelvis should be slightly arched or hinged forward, allowing your pelvic bones to lead the way. In this way, your posture provides the momentum that makes you fall up the hill!

Ascending with short step / power-up action is like coming up from repeated alternative one legged shallow squats, where the primary power is coming from the gluteus maximus. This is completely different from bending forward over your thighs which relies on the quadricep muscles, causing them to fatigue. The quads and calves are important but they are secondary to the mightly gluteals. The conscious focus should be on upright/tall posture and gluteal contraction.

If you can turn the gluteals into your primary power muscle, you won’t need to burn out your quads. They will work properly as a secondary muscle, thus reducing needless stress to the front of the thighs and the knees. Gluteals are “strong like bull”, so take advantage of them and get them in gear!

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