Increase Speed With 3 Mini Hurdle Drills

December 7, 2011 | Featured in the Winter 2012 Issue

Must See Speed Videos

In sports one thing is certain—speed kills. It can help you beat your opponent, win a race to a ball or cross the finish line first. Many different theories expound on improving speed, most centered on improving components of the stride. One method that's proven effective is performing mini hurdle drills.

Using these small hurdles can improve your stride length and lower body power so you'll increase acceleration and top speed. Perform the following three drills to reap the benefits of mini hurdle training.

Stride Length Drill
In many situations on the field, you have to go from zero to full speed in a few steps. When you increase your speed, you move your legs faster, but you also try to take longer strides so you can cover ground more quickly. Below is a drill that forces you to increase your stride length.

For this drill, you need four to six mini hurdles. Place the first hurdle about one and a half feet from the start line. Place the second hurdle two feet from the first hurdle (and three and a half feet from the start line). Place the third hurdle two and a half feet from the second hurdle. Repeat this pattern of adding half a foot for any remaining hurdles.

  • Assume starting stance with feet staggered and hip-width apart
  • Keep back flat, knees slightly flexed and hips pushed back
  • Start explosively, driving the rear knee forward while forcefully driving the corresponding arm backward
  • Sprint through hurdles, stepping with one foot between each hurdle
  • Sprint five to 10 additional yards after last hurdle

To continuously challenge your body, vary the distance between the hurdles on different training days. This drill is normally performed three to five times on your sprinting days, after your warm-up but before your main sprints.

Ankle Hops
Ankle Hops develop strength in your feet and shins, which is important for exerting force against the ground so you can run quickly. For this drill, you need eight to 12 hurdles. Place them in a straight line, separated by a foot or so.

  • Stand tall with hands on hips or behind head
  • Rise up on toes and hold position
  • Using ankles, bounce forward over each hurdle
  • Sprint five to 10 additional yards after last hurdle

This drill should be performed three to five times on your sprinting days after your sprints.

Hurdle Hops
Hurdle Hops are a great exercise to show you how to use lower body strength and build explosive speed. For this drill, you need four to six hurdles. Place them in a straight line, separated by three to four feet.

  • Assume starting stance with feet staggered hip-width apart
  • Keep back flat, knees slightly flexed and hips pushed back
  • Swing arms back and lower hips into squat
  • Forcefully extend hips, knees and ankles and swing arms forward to jump over hurdle
  • Land and repeat jump over next hurdle
  • Continue until all hurdles cleared; then sprint five to 10 yards

As you make improvements with this exercise, increase the distance between the hurdles for a greater challenge. This drill should be performed three to five times during your plyometrics workouts or during your sprinting days. If incorporated during sprinting days, perform it after your sprints. If incorporated during your plyometrics workouts, perform it after your warm-up.

What if you don't have mini hurdles? The mini hurdles serve predominantly as a visual goal, because they actually aren't tall enough to be challenging as an obstacle. So you can use anything to perform these drills—cones, tennis balls, pencils, string, books, etc. Regardless of what you use, you'll develop speed with these drills.

Photo:  isokineticsinc.com

John M. Cissik is president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps professional athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with all levels, produced four videos, written 10 books and more than 70 articles on strength and speed training. For more information, follow him on Twitter (@yourhpservices) or like him on Facebook.

John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
Must See
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 20,489,891
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,206,482
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,226,447

Featured Videos

Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 20,495
Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Views: 317,794
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,081,054
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,928
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,945
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,869
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,411

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

What Is Fast in Soccer?

What Is Fast in Soccer?

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

Run Faster and Longer

Run Faster and Longer

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

YardBarker