7 Steps for Women?


What coach Shaver told us was that if she gets to the first hurdle in middle of the group, she wins the race 100 percent of the time, Kirby said. If she doesn’t get to the first hurdle with the group, then she’s got a 50-50 shot.


Recent discussion about 7 steps for men has raised the question should women go from 8 to 7? I don’t think it’s a good idea with the average female hurdler being 5-7 and the first hurdle 13.0 meters away. Even with the lower hurdle height the step length would be too long and lead to problems. It could be done, as I never want to say something is impossible, but realistically Sally Pearson isn’t going to get faster from 8 to 7 steps, it’s likely that the last 5 hurdles need to get higher. Tall men going 7 steps to 13.7 meters is different, and innovation needs to be solving problems that were not addressed, not creating new self made challenges. When the world record is being beaten by a field of hurdlers, experimentation may warrant further investigation. ESPN had a great article on Lo Lo Jones and the Redbull Collaboration, and the link can be found here.

One of the important aspects with hurdling is seeing what flat acceleration speed is at 20m and the flight and contact times are in the first 8 steps. Since each step is changing left to right, the acceleration pattern must be combed over as each step is unique.

Through their data collection and movement analysis, they identified that Jones’ trail leg — her left one — also was trailing in the first eight steps coming out of the blocks. It wasn’t generating the same type of acceleration as her right side.Translation: She was theoretically losing time, at least according to what hurdling specialists know today. Kirby estimated there was room to gain 0.01 seconds per left step, provided that improving the left side didn’t adversely affect the right.

That’s enormous in this sport, Kirby said.

A crucial discovery and one that may be remedied through leg-specific exercises in the weight room or simply with more sprinting, with no hurdles in the way.As for tweaking her technique, those changes will be left for another time. The researchers didn’t want to tinker too much this close to the Olympics.

I think it was smart not to make too much changes before the Olympics, but why not do it earlier so it could be used? This is the biggest challenge I see with any data collection, meaning you got to make changes after getting the information. Most of the time I find a small simple change can be made after exhausting investigation. Worth it? Yes. Easy? Nope.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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