Beginner: Hills & Core

Hills feel daunting, we know. But doing hill repeats as a regular part of your miles and workouts can create real and lasting improvements in both your overall leg strength and endurance capability. Doing hills also prepares you for PATHFINDER's Mountain Ruck challenge. Hills can be done in lots of places, even if you live in a flat location. Treadmills, parking garages (make sure you are legally allowed to be there - in many circumstances it can be considered trespassing, so check all signage), man-made hills like levees, safe embankments or even stairs, if you are completely out of options.

Hiking up, shuffling up or just rucking up are all acceptable for hills depending on your fitness level and what you'd like to get out of this workout today.

Your core is your center of rucking strength. Even when work is not specifically scheduled, you should make working your core a part of your daily activity. It doesn't take much to impact your strength - even 1:00 of planking a day can make a big improvement on a previously ignored core.

As a beginner, incorporating this workout once weekly into your weekly plan can have a big impact on your gains. Creating real strength from your body's center and asking more from your muscles and nerves by going up a hill repeatedly creates stronger associations between your mind and body, and creates even more power.

If you are using a treadmill, use a 10% incline for hill repeats at an effort of 5-7 out of 10 for at least 3 minutes per hill repeat. For everyone else, using what hill you have available will be sufficient. The warm-up is quick but necessary for all rosters to injury-proof your body prior to beginning your workout.

The hill repeats are NOT for time or distance in a Beginner workout. We want your selection to be manageable for your fitness level and/or hill accessibility. We want you to start seeing the makeup and landscape of your area and begin seeing training options based on what's possible in your location. We also want to make this simple - find a hill, ruck up it, ruck down it, and repeat.


  • 15 x Body-weight Squats
  • 15 x Calf Raises
  • 20 x High Knees
  • 20 x Jumping Jacks
  • 20 x Kick Touches (standing straight, kick your leg out in front and touch opposite hand with opposite toe. If your hamstrings tingle, back off and reach what you can.)


 4 hill repeats - Your choice speed up, ruck down

  • 15 x Ruck Russian Twists
  • 2 x :30 Planks

4 hill repeats - Your choice speed up, ruck down

  • 20 x Standard Crunches
  • 20 x Mountain Climbers

4 hill repeats - Your choice speed up, ruck down

  • 2 x :30 Planks
  • 20 x Leg Lifts (laying on your back, hands under your hips for support if needed, raise your legs up in the air until they align with feet over hips, and then slowly lower until your feet are hovering above the ground)

4 hill repeats - Your choice speed up, ruck down

  • 10 x Plank Ruck Pull-Throughs (In plank position, hands or elbows, align your ruck to your left side. Reach under your body with your right arm and pull your ruck to the right side of your body without tipping your hips.)
  • 20 x Flutter Kicks


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