Speed Development For High Hurdlers!

Like all sprinters I also need to continue developing speed and endurance. Today I am going to be showing you a great workout which is commonly referred to as the ' 8 1/2 drill.' Learn more about this successful workout right here!

Like all sprinters, I need to continue to develop my speed and sprint endurance. One of my goals for the upcoming track season is to improve my overall open 200-meter dash time.

Speed Development For High Hurdlers

While I will do a lot of open track work, I will also do a lot of speed work over hurdles in order to improve my open time.

Click To Enlarge.
Dexter Prepares For Relay.


    The effect of hurdling, in conjunction with sprinting, will improve your posture (body mechanics), speed-endurance and sprint dynamics (like preventing deceleration).

8 1/2 Drill

    One of the most effective hurdle workouts for this involves running 5-6 hurdles in what is commonly referred to as an "8 1/2 drill." It's called an "8 1/2 drill" because the hurdles are set 8.5 meters apart (instead of the usual 10 meters).

    This workout should be done during the competitive season, since it is a pure speed workout. The objective of this workout is to develop speed and quickness over the hurdles.

8 1/2 Drill Video:
Windows Media (721 KB)
MPEG (2.6 MB)

The Focus Of The Workout

    The focus is on two important areas:

    1. A quick "cut step" with the lead-leg will allow you to run off the hurdle efficiently.

    2. Quick steps between the hurdles so you will reach optimum efficiency when approaching the next hurdle.

Performing The Workout

  • First, set the hurdles one notch below your race height. This will allow you to focus on proper hurdle technique while running over the hurdle.

    Click Image To Enlarge.

  • Second, move each hurdle in approximately 1 1/2 meters. Because the hurdles are closer together, you will be forced to move your feet quicker when running between the hurdles. But, that's the whole idea behind the workout!

Click Image To Enlarge.


As you continue to practice this drill, your body will adapt itself to a "quick-step" rhythm between the hurdles. This will ultimately lead to faster times because you will be truly "running hurdles".

Bonus Exercises

High Knee Lifts:

  1. Start in a "hips tall" position.
  2. Alternating legs, drive knees as high as possible.
  3. Gradually increase pace from walking to jogging.

Click Image To Enlarge.
High Knee Lifts.

High Knee Lifts Video:
Windows Media (549 KB)
MPEG (1.8 MB)

Bleacher Run:

  1. Run up and down bleachers.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Bleacher Run.

Bleacher Run Video:
Windows Media (336 KB)
MPEG (798 KB)