Proper Way to Run Uphill

Running uphill is one of the best ways to develop leg strength and good endurance, yet it can be a setback because if you run uphill with the wrong running technique, you will get injured.

The proper way to run uphill is with a forefoot strike, not a heel strike. Research into the biomechanics of running uphill indicates that forefoot strike runners are less injury-prone than heel strike runners because there is less repetitive loading, less bone stress and less compressive strain associated with a forefoot strike landing pattern.

How to run Uphill
Forefoot runners run safely uphill.

Proper Way to Run Uphill

Kowalski and Li (2015) compared the ground reaction force patterns of level running to uphill and downhill running in habitual forefoot runners who trained in barefoot running shoes.

The researchers found that all running conditions had an absent impact transient –an impact variable that influences injury and is common in heel strike running.

More notably, the impact transient was absent and parallel braking forces were lower during uphill running with a forefoot strike, suggesting that elite distance runners injure less not because they are more conditioned, or stronger, let alone faster than joggers, but because they don’t heel strike, especially when running up a hill.

More From Run Forefoot:


Kowalski E and Li JX. Ground reaction forces in forefoot strike runners wearing minimalist shoes during hill running. Footwear Sci, 2015; 7, s40-s42.

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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