Friday, April 17, 2009

Hurdle drills for improvement in range of motion

I've recently taken over the Tri Club of San Diego's weekly Tuesday night track workout, here in San Diego. I knew when I took over the coaching session that I would be faced the challenge of coaching athletes with multiple ability levels. As a former school teacher, I have the philosophy of trying to meet each athlete's individual needs, and weaknesses, no matter the size of the group.

One of the biggest challenges I've found facing triathletes is tension in core region, specifically the hip flexors, glutes, and piriformis. This area is the key to good performance, not just for running, but also for the bike.

I ran cross country and track at the University of Nebraska, focusing on the steeplechase for outdoor track. If you're unsure what the steeplechase is, this video will help:

When I first arrived to campus, I struggled with injuries to hip flexors. Once I started focusing on doing hurdle drills, and improving the range of motion in my hips and the surrounding area, my injuries disappeared and my speed improved rather dramatically.

One of the big things I see athletes coming to me with is a desire to improve their running, and the ones who have started to do these same drills I did as a collegiate runner have seen significant improvement in not only their runs, but their biking as well.

I went ahead and set-up some hurdles the first night I coached the Tuesday track session, and my suscipions were CLEARLY confirmed. We had the hurdles at the lowest heights, and still many of them were struggling just getting their knees lifted over, much less their whole legs and feet.

It was this clear area of weakness which prompted me to get back to including these in my athletes' training, and write this article for Check it out, and give them a test. I'm sure you'll feel it in the hip flexors and glutes with just a few tries.

Coach Vance

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