There are two major reasons why anyone starts training – for show or for go. You either want to look better or you want to feel better and maximize your abilities as an athlete. There is a tool that has been often overlooked but can be very beneficial to your lower body as well as great form of cardio.
By Roger Lockridge
You won’t have to jump through hoops to take advantage of this but you will have to hop…over hurdles. You can incorporate hurdle plyometric drills into your plan up to twice a week and the result will be improved coordination, increase in explosiveness when jumping, and burning calories all at the same time. You should also notice an improvement in lower body development overall.
What Type of Hurdles?
You can buy speed hurdles at your local sporting goods store. For this drill you can either buy the standard 6 inch versions or some are adjustable so you can increase the height as you improve. If you’re a beginner with hurdle drills, start with all of the hurdles at 6 inches. You should have at least three set up for all of these drills.
If you don’t have access to hurdles or you train at home, you can use cinder blocks on their sides and a flat board.
Lateral Hurdle Hop
Stand to the side of a line of hurdles. Balance yourself on the inside leg (leg closest to hurdle) with arms bent at 90 degrees. Hop off the ground laterally over the hurdle. As soon as you land on the other side, hop over the next hurdle. Continue until you hop over all of your hurdles. Once you hopped over all of the hurdles, reposition yourself so you’re balancing on the other foot and hop back the other way. This is one round. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 4 rounds.
Front Hurdle Hop
Stand at the back of a line of hurdles. Balance yourself on one foot with the arms bent at 90 degrees. Dip your hips back and down. Drive your elbows back while doing this. Generate force by lifting your elbows up and exploding your hips up. Hop over the first hurdle. Land on the leg you hopped with. Do your best to absorb the impact of landing through your hip. As soon as you land, hop over the next hurdle. Continue until you hop over all the hurdles. Turn around, switch feet, and hop back. This is one round. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 4 rounds.
2 Step Drill
Start at the back of the line of hurdles. When you start you should slightly lean forward and have your weight over your toes. Bend and pump your arms to help with balance and to generate force. Drive a knee up and cross over the hurdle. Land softly and touch the ground with both feet on the other side of the first hurdle. Continue this pattern and make sure you use the same foot to start your steps all the way until you clear all the hurdles. Turn around and go back the opposite way but start with the opposite foot this time. This is one round. Rest 30 seconds and repeat for four rounds.
Make sure the hurdles are wide enough apart that you can land without hitting any of them but make sure they aren’t so wide apart that you can’t perform the drill correctly. 3-4 feet apart is a good distance.
Wear a weighted vest if you feel your bodyweight alone isn’t enough to work with on these drills. As you advance, add more rounds to your routine as your training time permits. You can also alternate each of these drills and perform them in a circuit. Complete all the drills and rest 30 seconds before repeating.