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T r a i n i n g

Workouts for Hurdlers

Here's a couple of workouts for 110 metre hurdlers. These are borrowed from a great site called Hurdles First.

The Zone Drill This is the ultimate pre-race workout, described and explained in detail by hurdle guru Wilbur Ross in The Hurdler’s Bible.

Set up hurdles 1-4, leave an open zone where hurdles 5-7 would be, then set up hurdles 8-10. Athlete clears the first four hurdles, at full speed, runs through the zone, gathering even more speed, then clears the last three hurdles and crosses the finish line.

This workout should be done two days prior to major competitions. The amount of reps should be no more than two or three, out of the blocks, with spikes on, preferably with a teammate to run beside, a coach to give the starting commands, and another coach or reliable individual to time the run.

A 5-7 minute active rest between reps should be enough recovery time. The goal is to run each rep within .5 of projected race time. This workout requires a high level of fearlessness; it is essential, when coming out of the zone, to attack the 8th hurdle with aggression.
Back & Forths This workout is the ultimate hurdle endurance workout. It is the one that Renaldo Nehemiah did as a senior in high school, when he became the only high school hurdler ever to break 13.0 in the 110s. For this workout, set up the first five hurdles twelve yards apart, then set up five more hurdles beside the first five, facing in the opposite direction.

Bouncing on the balls of your feet, approach the first hurdle in nine or ten steps, then five-steps between all the rest of them. Without stopping, turn around, and clear the five hurdles going in the other direction. The five steps between should not be evenly paced. The first two steps are short and quick, then with the last three, you want a higher knee action and full arm swing.

Up and back one time equals ten hurdles, so the amount of times you go up and back without stopping to rest depends upon your level of conditioning. You want to get to a point where you can go up and back at least 2½ times (25 hurdles) without stopping. Rest time between sets will also depend upon conditioning level. Anywhere between three and seven minutes is okay. You could try increasing the amount of rest gradually, starting with three minutes after the first set, then working up to six minutes as you get more fatigued.

To clear a total of 200 hurdles (8 sets of 25, for example) would be considered a full workout. As a point of reference, Renaldo worked his way up to four sets of 100 hurdles in this workout during his senior year at high school. This is definitely an out-of-season workout, as it is way too exhausting and causes too much muscle soreness to do during the competitive season.

The most obvious benefit of this workout is that it gets you into excellent hurdling shape, it forces you to be efficient with your technique, and it is another method by which to correct technical problems. One of the dangers of this workout, however, lies in trying to do too much too soon. The more fatigued you become, the higher the hurdles seem to get, so it’s important to know when enough is enough, as well as when to decrease the reps and increase the rest. This workout is one in which falling is a very real possibility, as fatigue can cause major breakdowns in technique. So work hard, but work smart.

Do all or part of the workout clearing the hurdles with just the lead leg, or just the trail leg if there are specific problems with either leg that you need to address. The benefit of this approach is that you can get a quality workout and correct technical flaws without enduring the overwhelming fatigue that comes with clearing the hurdles with your whole body on every rep.

Clear only 100 or so hurdles, and mix in some 100’s or 150’s between sets. This way, you’re still working just as hard, but you’re not beating up your legs as much by clearing so many hurdles.