Track and Field - Hurdles Fitness Program

This is a program that we developed to help athletes improve their hurdles in track and field. Our program will help you advance into a greater stage in hurdles.

Warm up

A proper warm up can increase the blood flow to the working muscle which results in decreased muscle stiffness, less risk of injury and improved performance. Proper warm up exercises can increase muscle temperature which allows the warmed muscles to both contract more forcefully and relax more quickly. In this way both speed and strength can be enhanced as well as lowering the chances of overstretching a muscle and causing injury. Also these exercises help increase body temperature which will help improve muscle elasticity and reduce the risk of strains and pulls. Warm up exercises gradually increase the intensity of your specific sport as this uses the specific skills of a sport.

High Knee Lifts

The purpose of the knee lifts is to develop knee drive which can help jump over hurdles easily without trouble. Also this exercise helps to develop coordination so that while runners jump over the hurdles they can maintain similar jumping motions throughout the competition.

  1. Stand tall, stay on balls of feet, maintain a slight forward body lean while preventing your hips from moving around too much
  2. While alternating legs, drive knees up as high as possible while walking.
  3. Gradually increase pace from walking to jogging.
  4. Jog/skip back to start.

Trail Leg Windmill

This exercise helps athletes develop correct trail leg action as well as helping to increase flexibility in the legs. The trail leg windmill exercise helps athletes get used to the hurdle positions so that when they perform hurdles their legs are comfortable and used to the hurdle movements.

  1. Stand tall, stay on balls of feet, and lean against a wall or fence for support
  2. Drive trail-leg knee up and through arm pit.
  3. Foot is flexed and in sprint position after knee comes through.

Standing Warm Up Drills

The purpose for this exercise is to improve your hip flexibility. This will allow more movement in the hips so that when an athlete jumps over hurdles they can lift up their legs higher with the help of the hip.

  1. Face a wall and lean against it supporting your body weight with your hands.
  2. Swing leg up and around as if there was a hurdle to your side.
  3. Perform this exercise 10 times for each leg.


Flexibility is crucial to training for hurdles. During all stretches, stretch just to the point of mild tension (not pain), and then hold the stretch for a slow count of twenty-five. Proper stretching of the hamstrings is especially important, since the degree of flexibility in the hamstrings is very important in determining the speed at which a hurdler runs his or her hurdles. Flexibility of the hip flexors and groin muscles is also an important factor in speed – the more flexible these muscles are, the less energy and momentum the hurdler will have to waste getting over each hurdle. The following stretches are designed to help athletes increase their flexibility in some of the areas that are most important for hurdling.

Hurdler's Stretch

  1. Sit with lead leg flat on the ground in front of you and trail leg off to the side, so that the knee of the trail leg is at approximately a 90 degree angle.
  2. Slowly reach toward your toes.
  3. Stretch and hold for 25 seconds.
  4. Repeat on opposite side.
  5. Repeat stretch 3 times on each side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

  1. Face a hurdle (or other bar about the same height as a hurdle), standing about two feet away from it.
  2. Reach right leg in front of you and place foot on top of hurdle (adjust distance as needed).
  3. Bend at the torso and slowly reach toward the right foot.
  4. Hold the stretch for 25 seconds.
  5. Repeat using left foot on hurdle.
  6. Repeat stretch 3 times on each side.

Walking Drills Over Hurdles

  1. Line up about ten hurdles on the track regulation distance apart.
  2. If your trail leg is your right leg, align yourself with the left edge of the line of hurdles. If your trail leg is your left leg, align yourself with the right edge of the line of hurdles.
  3. Walk at a comfortable pace down the line of hurdles, so that your trail leg is lifted quickly up and over each hurdle.

Hurdle Groin Stretch

  1. Stand next to a hurdle (or sturdy bar of about the same height as a hurdle).
  2. Fully extend right leg and rest it on hurdle, making a right angle with your leg and the hurdle.
  3. Slowly and carefully begin to bend at the torso and reach toward the foot placed on the ground.
  4. Hold for 25 seconds.
  5. Repeat using left leg resting on hurdle.
  6. Repeat stretch 3 times on each side.

Strength Training


Squats are an excellent exercise for speed and power. Nearly every sport requires power in the lower region for high levels of competition. The squat, when performed properly, will lay the foundation for strong hips and thighs. Squats will also assist in developing strength in the abdominal and back muscles. This is important when relating power transfer from lower to upper extremity in sports that require upper body power.
Proper squat form begins, as do all training sessions, with proper flexibility development. Common areas of tightness that will result in poor squat mechanics are: hamstrings, gluteals, calves, chest, hip flexors, and spinal erectors. Poor flexibility in hamstrings, gluteals, and calves will make reaching the parallel difficult. Poor chest flexibility will result in a “humped” upper back. Poor spinal erector strength will result in an improper curvature of the spine. Poor flexibility in the hip flexors will make the athlete begin with too large of a lordotic curve in the lower back, increasing stress on the bones and joints of this area.


    1. Begin by placing the straight bar on the rack just below shoulder level
    2. Once the proper weights have been added, be sure to put a collar on each side of the bar to hold weights in place
    3. Step under the bar, making sure it rests on the area just below the base of your neck and between the shoulders (find the most comfortable spot)
    4. Place your hands around the bar on either side of your shoulders in a position that feels comfortable to you
    5. Place one foot in front of your upper body and one behind before lifting the bar of of the rack
    6. Once the bar has been removed, position your feet so they are shoulder-width apart
    7. Toes should point in the same direction as your knees
    8. The upper body should be straight and erect with head facing forward
    9. Abdominals should be slightly contracted to assist in keeping the back straight


  1. Make sure to look forward and inhale during the entire movement
  2. Keeping both feet firmly on the floor begin lowering your body while bending at the hips (3-4 count) and forcing your buttocks out behind you
  3. Immediately after initiating the bend at the hips begin bending at the knees to lower your body toward the ground
  4. Make sure your knees do not pass over the front of your toes, if this occurs add more bending at the hip (It should look similar to a sitting movement)
  5. Concentrate on keeping your back perfectly straight and not leaning forward
  6. Lower your body until your upper leg becomes parallel to the floor


Static lunges are great for working all the major muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs. In this version of lunges, you're simply dropping your knee down rather than stepping forward or back.
For beginners, you can try this move while holding onto a chair or wall for balance.


  1. Feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing forward
  2. Upper body erect, head facing forward with arms down at the side


  1. With the right foot take a large step forward while keeping the left foot in place
  2. The right foot should be placed far enough forward that the knee does not pass over the front of the foot during this exercise
  3. Once the right foot is firmly on the floor lower the upper body by bending at the right knee (3-4 count) until the upper leg is parallel to the floor
  4. While bending at the right knee the left foot remains in place by shifting your weight to the left toes
  5. The left knee should bend slightly to assist in lowering the body but should not touch the floor

Cool Down

A proper cool down decreases body temperature and removes waste products from the working muscles. Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibers and re-establish their normal range of motion. The cool-down is as important as the warm-up. Stopping an activity abruptly may slow the removal of waste products in the athlete's body. This may lead to cramps, soreness and other problems for athletes. Also cool-down is also a good time to do stretching, as muscles are warm and receptive to stretching movements. Cool-down gradually reduces the body temperature and heart rate and speeds the recovery process of the athlete after finishing their hurdles.

Slow Aerobic Jog

  1. Jog 600m (200m, 10 lunges, 200m, 10 lunges,200m, 10 lunges)
  2. Stretch
  3. Drink water