One of the most important components to be a better athlete in your sport is to be fast. Speed is not only important in track and field or other running events, but also in baseball, basketball, football, and virtually any other sport. Speed is not achieved overnight, but through training and hard work. There are several training methods that focus on the improvement of speed and one is training with hurdles. Hurdles improve acceleration time and increases top speed through the improvement of lower body strength and lengthening the stride. The three drills listed below will help increase both speed and agility.
Drill 1: Stride Length
There are many situations in the field or court where an athlete has to accelerate from zero to full speed in a short span of time. In order to increase your speed, you have to move faster as well as lengthen your stride to cover as much distance as quickly as possible. This drill focuses on lengthening stride during the run.
Set out 6 or more mini hurdles for this drill. Mark your starting line and then measure 1 ½ feet and place the first hurdle. From the first hurdle, measure two feet and place the second one. Next, measure 2 ½ feet and place the third hurdle. Complete this with 6 hurdles and add another ½ foot for each.
Stagger your feet and assume a hip-width stance, then start running explosively using your arms swinging backward to propel yourself. Sprint through the hurdles and repeat this process 3-4 times. Then, add additional hurdles or space between the hurdles each time.
Drill 2: Ankle Hops
Ankle hops develop your ankles and shins so you can jump higher and run faster. This also improves your stride so you can cover greater distances. Eight to twelve hurdles are needed for this drill; place them on the ground with 1-1 ½ feet of distance between.
Sprint as fast as you can at bursting speed; use your ankles to propel forward after each hurdle. Do this drill three to five times. Then, after the last hurdle, sprint an additional 10 yards.
Drill 3: Hurdle Hops
Agility HurdlesImproving speed and achieving an explosive intensity as well as maximizing lower body strength are developed through hurdle hops. You will need six or more hurdles for this exercise. Place the hurdles on the ground with the distance of 3-4 feet in between.
Assume a squatting position first, using your power to forcefully jump over the first hurdle extending your knees and ankles with arms swinging forward. Repeat this stance and process over the last hurdle, then sprint 10 more yards after. Repeat this process 3-5 times each session.
Each week have tangible goals that decrease the time it takes you to complete this drill. Make sure you increase the challenge by putting more hurdles and increasing the distance between the hurdles. This training helps in strengthening leg muscles in order for you to cover more distances and run longer with lower effort exerted.