Mini-Hurdle Drills to Improve Athletic Speed

STACK Expert John Cissik prescribes four mini-hurdle drills to help you build speed, quickness, agility and balance.

Mini-hurdles are a great training tool for developing athletic speed. In a previous article, I introduced some basic mini-hurdle drills that can help you improve your speed. This article takes two of those drills and directly applies them to athletic speed—plus it gives you two additional tools you can use to enhance your performance.

Hurdle Acceleration Drill

For this drill, you need four to six hurdles and at least two cones or other markers (one for the start line, one for the finish line).

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Place the first mini-hurdle at a distance from the start line equal to the length of your foot. Place the second mini-hurdle at a distance from the first hurdle equal to two of your feet. Place the third hurdle three of your foot-lengths away from the second hurdle, etc. After the final hurdle, measure out 20 yards and mark the finish line.

  • Stand behind the start line and face the course. Assume a starting position that is common to your sport and position. For example, a wide receive should assume a two-point stance, and a baseball player could prepare to execute a crossover step before performing a sprint.
  • Sprint through the hurdles. As you do so, land one foot between each pair of hurdles.
  • After you clear the final hurdle, sprint to the finish line.
  • If you knock over a hurdle, perform 20 flutter kicks to remind yourself to perform the drill correctly.

This drill works on sprinting mechanics over the first few steps. It also teaches you to increase the length of your stride as you begin a sprint, and it forces you to pick up your feet and lift your knees while sprinting. Normally, this drill is performed three to five times as the primary exercise during an acceleration training session.

Stride Length Drill

For this drill you need six to 10 hurdles and three cones or markers.

Place the first cone at the start line, and place the second cone 20 yards ahead of the first. Place the first hurdle 20 yards from the start line. Place the second hurdle at a distance from the first hurdle equal to four of your feet. Place the third hurdle at a distance from the second hurdle equal to five of your feet. Place any hurdles after the third at a distance equal to six of your feet; don't go beyond this length. Place the final cone 10 yards after the last hurdle; this is the finish line.

RELATED: Increase Speed With 3 Mini-Hurdle Drills

  • Stand behind the start line and face the course. Assume a starting position most common to your sport and position.
  • Sprint as fast as you can to the first hurdle; remember, you need to be moving fast when you hit the first hurdle.
  • Sprint through the hurdles. As you do so, land one foot between each pair of hurdles.
  • After you clear the final hurdle, sprint to the finish line.
  • If you knock over a hurdle, perform 20 flutter kicks to remind yourself to perform the drill correctly.

This drill teaches you to increase the length of your stride to reach top speed. It also teaches you to run relaxed at top speed and reinforces the need to pick up your feet and lift your knees while sprinting. Normally, this drill is performed three to five times as the main exercise during a maximum velocity workout.

Hurdle Hops

For this drill, you need six to ten mini-hurdles and one cone or marker. If it's your first time performing his drill, position the hurdles at a distance from each other equal to two of your feet. Place the cone 20 yards from the last hurdle.

  • When you perform this drill you are essentially performing several miniature standing long jumps (i.e., throw yourself forward over each hurdle).
  • When you clear the last hurdle, land, immediately sprint through the finish line.
  • As you become more proficient with this drill, move the hurdles farther apart.

This drill requires you to develop and apply the horizontal force you need when sprinting. It then makes you apply that skill to the sprint at the end of the drill. Like the other drills, this one is performed three to five times. It should be done as the main exercise during an acceleration workout.

Weave Drill

For the Weave Drill, you need four to six mini-hurdles. Place them at a distance from each other equal to four to six of your feet.

  • Stand next to the first hurdle with the line of hurdles on your right side.
  • Run forward at an angle until you've run between the first two hurdles.
  • Backpedal at an angle until you are between the second and third hurdles.
  • Reverse directions and run forward at an angle until you are between the third and forth hurdles.
  • Continue alternating until you have cleared all of the hurdles.

This drill works on quickness, change-of-direction agility, dynamic balance, and the development of fast feet. It can be performed as one of your last warm-up exercises on any speed or agility training session. It should be done three to five times.

RELATED: Speed Hurdle Drills for Football Players


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Topics: SPEED DRILLS | EXERCISE | SPRINT | STRIDE | DRILL | STANCE | HURDLES