In previous weeks we have looked into the track and field events of the Olympics covering the short and long-distance aspects. However now we are going to see how hurdling events compare to these previously discussed sports and how it can benefit you. So, if you want to find out more about this form of track and field event, then keep on reading.

hurdlesTypes of Hurdling Events

To begin with we are going to explore the technique and practices behind hurdling events. When taking part in the event you run along a track and there are obstacles in the way which you need to jump over. These obstacles aren’t small blocks on the floor, these are panels of variating height depending on the event type as well as the age and gender of the participant.

Typically, the ones used in track events are 0.7 to 1.7 meters high, but there are also high-hurdles races where this can change to 50 to 110 meters. In the events we are going to look at in this article these are in the lower range. Here are the types of events which are part of the Olympics athletics category:

  • 100M Women
  • 110M Men
  • 400M Women
  • 400M Men

As discussed above the different races have different hurdle heights. Therefore, we would see the higher 33 inches used for the women’s 100M and 42 inches for the men’s 110M races. And the shorter hurdles of 36 inches for the men’s 400M and 30 inches for the women’s 400M.

In recent years the hurdles themselves have been adapted so that they will fall over if the runner hits it to prevent injury if a collision occurs. Previously this was not the case so the technique of the runners needed to be on point, or they could get hurt. However, if a runner does hit a hurdle and it falls in a race, there is no penalty for it unless the judge sees the collision as deliberate such as disqualification if it appears that the hurdle fell in a competitor’s lane on purpose.

How Hurdling Differs from Regular Running Events

Hurdling events do contain some aspects of track running such as the way they start the race on the block and how they use power and speed at the beginning of the race upon approaching the first hurdle. However, between each hurdle rather than running they opt for larger strides to get the most power and flow when launching themselves over the hurdle.

Some people think that you just jump over the hurdles, but doing that may cause injury as there is a specific way in which you need to adjust your body to make it safely over the top, as the hurdles are known for being a tripping hazard if a foot is in the wrong place. When launching themselves over the hurdle the correct body position would be raised hips with legs approaching in a split like position. Keeping the legs as straight as possible allows them to clear the hurdle on the way up and down more efficiently compared to with bent legs.

hurdles mensHealth Benefits of Hurdling

Now we have covered how the hurdle events work, we are going to explore the numerous health benefits of taking part in this section of the article. As hurdles also contains running elements as well as the trajectory force needed to jump, we often see the health benefits overlap slightly. Below we have listed only a handful of these health and fitness benefits which you could experience while practicing hurdling regularly:

  • Increased bone growth
  • Improved flexibility
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Enhanced balance and coordination
  • Increased cognitive functions
  • Reduces risks of heart diseases
  • Great mood booster
  • Increased motivation and focus

Getting Involved

In this post so far, we have looked into the positive health effects of hurdling and how the events work. But I bet you are now wondering how you can get involved and give it a go. As hurdling can be relatively dangerous to carry out alone with the risk of injury very high, we recommend that you look for a local gym or club which run hurdle classes or training programs.

By doing this you will take part in the activity with a qualified coach under supervision with access to medical attention if needs be. With this being a high risk when jumping over hurdles, we strongly advise that you speak to your doctor before you take part in hurdling to ensure that this is a sport which you will be safe taking part in, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Have You Tried Hurdling Before?

Throughout this article we have covered all aspects of hurdling events in the Olympics and in general. From the positive health benefits to how to get involved, we have discussed it all throughout this blog. But now we want to know your thoughts and experiences with this sport, have you tried hurdling or are you a seasoned athlete? Let us know over on our social media pages now. If this post has inspired you to take up hurdling, why not kit yourself out with a new exercise wardrobe from our vast range of sports clothing over at Sports Fitness?

This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury