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Bears RB Matt Forte Trains By Running Hills During Lockout

We're more than two months into the NFL lockout which means that players haven't been able to take part in organized team activities, minicamps, or even show their face at the team facility to work out. There have been informal training sessions around the league, but until owners and players come to a labor resolution it will continue to be just that: informal.

Bears running back Matt Forte is using his unpaid vacation to regain the burst that saw him rush for more than 1,200 yards as a rookie in 2008, and 1,069 last season. So how does he do it? First, he finds a steep hill near his suburban Chicago home, and then he sprints to the top … repeatedly.

Details via ESPN the Mag's Alyssa Roenigk:

Forte's routine consists of 10 80-yard wind sprints up the front side of the hill to improve his endurance and speed, returning to the bottom with a series of lunges to help strengthen and stabilize his knees. Then he moves on to the steeper back side and performs 10 40-yard sprints wearing a 15-pound weight vest, just to make things interesting.

Forte began the three-times-a-week routine following knee surgery two years ago. "I noticed a difference immediately," Forte told Roenigk. "I had a better burst and outran defenders. notes that Walter Payton famously trained that way too, sometimes bringing teammates along to race up steep hills in Arlington Heights.

In related Forte news, the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei, in a recent mailbag column, answers a reader's question about the likelihood the Bears will re-sign Forte.

I know for a fact the Bears value Forte highly. In fact, they already have tried to sign him to an extension. I would think that once the labor situation is settled, they will make another run at signing him. The only issue is can they find common contractual ground with Forte.

Pompei points out that even if the Bears and Forte can't come to an agreement in the coming months the running back is signed through 2011. Ultimately, however, he thinks Forte will be in Chicago for "a number of years."

So that's one less thing Bears fans have to worry about.