Hill Training and Walter Payton

In a previous entry, I mentioned how Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice conditioned himself by running hills throughout his career. Rice certainly was not the first or last football great that took to the hills to prepare himself.

Walter Payton is yet another NFL legend who thrived on this simplistic form of conditioning. Like Rice, Payton is one of the greatest players to ever play the game and also one of the best conditioned.

Despite his premature passing in 1999, Payton’s off-season workouts are still spoken of regularly. Those who played with him were amazed at his work ethic off the field. He literally ran everyone (including himself) into the ground.

Below is a brief video where Payton can be heard speaking about his legendary hill workouts.


  1. Awesome – had no idea that Payton also did hill sprints or even that he had such a reputation for outworking other players (but given how he ran it’s not really a surprise either – dude obviously had some serious determination to get where he was going).

  2. I remeber watching this in the NFL films Crunch Course video. They used to say his workouts took an hour to complete and a day to recover from (yes I know NFL films tends to overdramatize) Still regardless, this is probably one (of many) of the reasons that he was able to last so long in a high impact position. Hats off to the Roos endorsement as well lol

  3. I run an 8 mile mountain bike trail in the woods where I live at least once a week that has a series of hills that I sprint while jogging the rest – simply brutal! At almost 52 years old, I attribute my fitness level to this one aspect of my routine. I really miss it when the weather doesn’t permit my Sunday run!

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