by Nicolette Mok
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the basic rhythm and steps needed to clear a series of hurdles, you’ll find yourself more equipped to attempt full-sized hurdles.
Before doing so, though, it is essential that you master the correct way to cross the hurdles. A useful method would be to focus on your lead and trail legs separately, working on drills that target just one at a time.
Begin by focusing on your trail leg, as many beginners perceive more difficulty in getting the technique for this right. Stand towards one end of the hurdle, with your trail leg closer to the hurdle – that is, if your right leg is your trail leg, stand to the left of the hurdle with your right one closer to it.
Team Singapore hurdler Kerstin Ong demonstrating the hurdling drill that combines both lead and trail leg techniques. Photo: SportSG
Take a regular running step with your lead leg on the outside of the hurdle and focus on getting your trail leg over the hurdle from its side. Ensure that you lead the motion using your knee. To do so, raise your trail leg at the side up to hip level. It should be bent at the knee, with the knee pointing towards the hurdle. Your inner thigh and side of your calf should be facing the ground. Swing your trail leg quickly over the hurdle in this position.
Having gained a clearer idea on how your trail leg should move across the hurdle, you’ll find that it’s easier to grasp the technique for your lead leg. Now, move to the other end of the hurdle, with your lead leg positioned next to it. Then stand back, giving yourself enough distance from the first hurdle for a preparatory run.
Running towards the hurdles, cross them only using your lead leg, with your trail leg taking regular running steps on the outside of the hurdles. Your lead leg should be raised to hip-level before you extend it straight over the hurdle.
As you approach the hurdle, it is important to lean forward and "stay tall" so that the hurdles appear shorter. Photo: SportSG
Combine the techniques that you’ve picked up from both these drills once you’re feeling confident enough. Lean forward as you clear the series of hurdles, so that your body will face ahead and propel you further. Remember to keep your hips straight, look ahead, and swing your arms for momentum, keeping them close to your body.
Of course, as Team Singapore hurdler Kerstin Ong advises in the video here, “stay tall” so that the hurdles will appear shorter in comparison!
Are you a youth interested in athletics? Or perhaps a parent with young children with a capacity and talent for running? Join us at the ActiveSG Athletics Club today by registering here.
It is the ideal platform to fulfil athletic potential through courses, clinics and championships. Beyond inculcating sporting values, the training also focuses on developing character and inculcate life values such as integrity, perseverance and teamwork. Training not just to be a better athlete, but a better individual.
So whether at an entry level or embarking on a pathway to excel in it, the ActiveSG Athletics Club is your first choice!