Command the Hurdles With Coach Brooks Johnson's Dos and Don'ts

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Hurdling may be the most technical of all track and field events. To take command of it, you must be comfortable executing your plan of attack yet capable of adjusting on the fly.

To ensure his hurdlers are comfortable and aware during events, U.S. Olympic Track & Field coach Brooks Johnson adjusts multiple variables of their training. Read Johnson's dos and don'ts and apply his insights to your routine.


  • Run barefoot on a soft surface to strengthen feet
  • Run timed reps of 300m and 400m to improve conditioning, enhance speed and build recovery strength
  • Develop a personal running style and avoid altering form when hurdling
  • Lower hurdles early in training to help you learn how to maintain horizontal velocity while clearing each hurdle
  • When comfortable doing so, raise the hurdles past the 42-inch standard to practice clearing a higher barrier


  • Come off the blocks prematurely; you need to push back to get a forward reaction and make use of the track's energy
  • Be afraid of the hurdles; foster an attack mentality
  • Lose rhythm and balance going into and coming off the hurdles
  • Rush through practice. Your muscle tissue can tear during an intense workout, so rest seven to 10 minutes between each hurdling set
  • Think too much; clogging your mind with technical concerns will diminish your ability to execute the skills


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