Hurdles: Not just for Hurdlers

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Hurdles aren’t just for those competing in the 100/110m hurdles; they can serve as a tool for every athlete. Hurdles are a great tool to use when considering a dynamic warm up. Hurdle mobility drills specifically warm up the lumbo-pelvic complex which consists of all the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments within the pelvic region. Proper mobility in the lumbo-pelvic complex is essential to decreasing the chance injury while enhancing performance in the weight room and during competition. Hurdle drills will help increase blood flow to this region and put the body through extreme ranges of motion (ROM) to allow the hip complex to be more efficient when called upon to contract and relax at extremely high rates during training and competition.

Here are some of my favorite drills:

Here are a few suggestions we give to enhance the effectiveness of hurdle mobility drills.

  • The athlete’s posture, arm position, and foot/knee position are all important during hurdle drills.
  • The posture should be upright with the athlete’s chest straight ahead and the spine in neutral alignment.
  • Arms should be held overhead to support neutral spine alignment and maintain said posture.
  • While bringing the lead and trail leg over the hurdle, the knee should be directed toward the armpit to allow the leg to be brought through the full ROM.
  • The foot should be in a dorsiflexed position (toes pointed toward the shin) to mimic the feet in sprinting.
  • Lastly, the athlete’s movement during the drills should be ballistic in nature.

As a general training prescription, you may choose to have the athlete or team complete hurdle mobility drills after their dynamic stretching routine directly before their training session. This could also serve as part of the training session depending on training age and what the coach deems necessary for performance.

John Grace

John Grace

Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab
John is a Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab. He earned his Master's degree from Ohio University in Coaching & Sport Science. John holds his CSCS, USAW-L1, and USATF-L1. He is the former Assistant Fitness Coach of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
John Grace

@john_r_grace

Orlando City SC | S&C | Sport Sci | I tweet about all things sport science, coaching, training, and athlete development.
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