Speed Hurdle Performance Training
Speed hurdles are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment for anyone who is looking to improve their overall performance. They allow you to address many different facets of athletic performance including: speed, agility, endurance, power, and even proprioception. Not only are the speed hurdles versatile, but also they are very convenient and portable. It’s easy to take your training session to the field, basketball courts, or even the beach, and the only limit is your imagination.
One huge facet of overall performance is power, i.e. the ability for your body to produce the largest amount of force in the shortest time possible. Increasing your power output will not only improve your vertical jump but also increase your speed specifically your start speed. In the article titled, “Power Associations With Running speed” found in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, it explains, “Power training is important because it more specifically addresses the triple extension of the running technique and the velocity components of power and impulse.” Triple extension is seen when the back leg that you are pushing off of is fully extended including the hip, knee, and ankle. This is easily identified when watching any sort of running or jumping completed at maximal effort.
If you are trying to focus more on your lateral movement speed or endurance, hurdles can be a game changer. Being able adjust to your weight change during dynamic movements can be the difference between making a tackle and being left in the dust. Lateral movement drills with the hurdles can help your body become more efficient in the transfer of weight when planting and changing direction. This also depends on the amount of hurdles you use. If you are trying to focus on the power of changing direction laterally keep it low at about three or four hurdles, but if you are trying to focus on endurance use at least five or six. Another aspect of the hurdles that you should focus on is your hip flexion, in other words driving your knees high. Training this will allow you to have a faster turnover rate between steps, which can increase your overall power, speed, and agility.
Another important thing to remember during hurdle training is to limit looking at your feet. The ability for you to sense your body in space is known as proprioception, and this helps with balance forward, backward, and anything in between. That’s why it is important to keep your head up during any of these drills. In any sport it is important to keep your eye on the target and that’s hard to do when you’re too focused on not tripping over your own feet.
Utilizing this great tool can help you dominate several of EZIA’s Benchmark tests including vertical jump, hexagon drill, and pro agility. You can purchase speed hurdles directly from us at our online store.
Training with speed hurdles can increase any athlete’s performance, from the amateur to the professional. There is so much to gain so what’s stopping you?
Forward Power Jumps (4-6 Hurdles) – power, triple extension.
Space 4-6 hurdles 2 feet apart; they are placed closer together so instead of focusing on jumping outward you are able to maximize vertical jumping power. Start facing the row of hurdles, swing your arms from in front of you down and back while loading your body into your jumping position, quickly and forcefully swing your arms up and jump as high as possible over the hurdle, utilizing the triple extension. Land with most of your weight on your heels with your knees bent and butt back in a good squat position, then go back into your starting position for the next rep. Focus on landing as quietly as possible, this will help your body absorb the shock and keep your joints safe.
Lateral Shuffle (3 Hurdles) – hip flexion, lateral change of direction.
Space 6 hurdles 2 feet apart, and stand perpendicular to the row of hurdles. Start in an athletic position with your knees bent, chest up, eyes up, and butt back. Focus on maintaining this position throughout the movement. Plant with your outside foot while stepping over the first hurdle with your other foot, then bring your plant foot in between the first 2 hurdles, then once you reach the end of the hurdles, plant with one step outside the last hurdle, and go back in the opposite direction you started in.
Lateral Weave (6 hurdles) – proprioception, forward change of direction.
Space 6 hurdles 2 feet apart, stand perpendicular to the row of hurdles. Start in an athletic position. Facing the same direction the whole time, run as fast as you can forward until you have space to change direction and backpedal as fast as you can around the hurdle, then forward again. Repeat this movement through all the hurdles and back. Focus on not looking behind you when backpedalling and smooth transitions.
Performance Coach Derrick Broussard
Triplett, Travis N., PhD, Travis M. Erickson, and Jeffery M. McBride, PhD. “Power Associations With Running Speed.” Power Associations With Running Speed34.6 (2012): 29-33. Http://journals.lww.com/. NSCA, Dec. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.