In the sport of track and field, proper hurdling technique is a complicated combination of various running and jumping kinematics. With most research having been done on sprint hurdling, there is a growing need for research on hurdling events of different lengths. The intermediate hurdles (IH) and the steeplechase (SC) are two events where there are a number of differences in hurdling technique. This study compared the differences in hurdling technique between events (IH and SC) as well as the differences in technique between genders. Subjects for this study consisted of 20 elite intermediate hurdlers (10 male, 10 female) and 20 elite steeplechasers (10 male, 10 female). Subjects were filmed performing their respective events at the 2006 USA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. A 2-D analysis was performed on each subject to determine differences between events and genders for the following variables: loss of horizontal velocity, peak center of mass relative to hurdle height, horizontal position at peak center of mass, deviation angle at takeoff, hurdle step length, penultimate, and recovery step lengths, takeoff and landing distance, minimum lead leg hip angle, trail leg knee height relative to the hip at peak height, trunk angle at peak height, landing angle, and finally, the ratio of the recovery step to the penultimate step. Significant differences (p < .05) were observed in 11 of the 13 variables analyzed. Steeplechasers showed significantly higher values than hurdlers in deviation angle, landing angle, minimum lead leg hip angle, peak height over the barrier, takeoff and landing distances, as well as penultimate, hurdle and recovery step lengths. Trail leg knee height was shown to be higher for hurdlers. Also, female steeplechasers were shown to have a greater trunk angle and loss of horizontal velocity than female hurdlers. Females showed higher values than males in deviation angle, landing angle, minimum lead leg hip angle, and peak height over the barrier. Landing distance, hurdle step length and trail leg knee height were higher for males. Also, female steeplechasers had a longer penultimate step length than males. Several differences in hurdling technique exist between events and gender. Hurdlers appear to place more emphasis on the kinematics which helps to promote a low center of mass hurdle clearance. Steeplechasers, on the other hand, are less pronounced with their hurdling kinematics. This is likely due to the greater economy required of the longer event. Gender differences appear to be, in large part, a function of differences in barrier height. As athletes and coaches go about evaluating and training hurdling technique, it is important to recognize the differences that exist between these different events.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


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hurdle technique, steeplechase technique, hurdle training, steeplechase training, coaching, kinematics, track and field, 2-dimensional, event differences, gender differences