Routine is important for a hurdler. In an event where one is required to take the same number of steps (more or less, 35 in each race), hurdlers are creatures of habit. To the novice hurdler, a close look at Liu Xiang’s 刘翔 routine is an eye-opener.
Lawrence Clarke, one of Britain’s best hurdlers, posted an interesting clip of Liu’s hurdling warm-up routine. The video was taken at the Daegu World Championships last year.
1.) Leisurely Five-Steps:
Still wearing his jogging pants, a relaxed Liu easily clears five hurdles. Despite keeping himself relatively high over the barriers (and the movements a tad slower), the suppleness of his hurdling clearance is evident. The 2004 Athens Olympic Champion also takes lightning fast baby steps in between the hurdlers, perhaps to simulate the quick cadence of a race pace.
He even smiles over each hurdle!
2.) Intense Five-Steps:
Liu takes his hurdling several notches higher. The former world record holder’s face puts on a mask of seriousness as he buckles down to business. With each hurdling clearance, the lean, the lead leg extension and the trail snap are executed like one smooth, rhythmic action.
3.) Flat Block Starts:
To prepare himself for full-speed hurdling, Liu then sprints beside the hurdles from a block start.
4.) Single Hurdle Block Starts:
The 2007 World Champion clears one hurdle from a block start, highlighting the importance of this crucial phase of the 110m high hurdles.
5.) The Full Monty!
With every facet of sprint hurdling broken down and rehearsed to perfection, Liu performs the a full-speed rep over three barriers. Liu is mentally and physically prepared for the task at hand – to run in between the barriers as fast as humanly possible, in the most efficient manner imaginable.
Unless someone knocks you off balance.
Click here to view the Daegu 110m High Hurdles Final
Through the years, I’ve developed my own routine vastly similar to Liu’s. Although my hurdling is light-years away from the hurdling great, it’s good to know that I’ve been doing it right!