Core Exercises for Sprints and Hurdles

Although they ultimately differ in overall technique, both sprinting and hurdles require an enormous about of explosive power. That burst of force will be what propels you forward off the blocks and over the hurdles. All of these movements originate in your core, the region of your body that includes your stomach, your back and your hips. By training these muscles you can greatly improve your performance on the track. Here are just a few exercises that can help to not only strengthen your core, but also to train the movements needed during competition.

For each exercise, complete 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 12 reps per side.



This exercise goes by a lot of names so, it’s likely that you know it as the donkey kick or even something else. Whatever you call it, the bird-dog will effectively work your entire core for both strength and stability. While you may not always consider it when you’re running, having balance and stability in your core is essential to injury prevent and good technique.

To perform the exercise:

  • Start on your hands and knees with your hands below your shoulders. Your knees should be below your hips. Keep your stomach tight and your back straight throughout the movement.
  • Raise your right arm straight in front of you. At the same time, lift your left leg off the floor and straighten it out behind you.
  • Slowly return to your starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Mountain Climber

While the bird-dog worked on pulling your legs away from you, the mountain climber focuses on the opposite movement. This will target the muscles in your hips responsible for lifting your legs with each step or hurdle.

  • Start in a push-up position. Keep your abs tight and your back straight. Your hands should be just under your shoulders.
  • Without moving your upper-body, draw your right knee towards your chest.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Alternate legs to perform the desired amount of reps per leg.

Glute Bridge

This exercise will target your glutes and hamstrings, while, again, engaging your back and abs. The focus on the large muscles in the back of your legs will give you power and stability throughout a full range of movement.

  • Lie on the floor with your arms at your knees and your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Lift your hips and back off the floor until there’s a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

These are just a few of the core exercise that can help your improve your performance this season. What are some exercises you’ve worked in to your routine?




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About jonathan.thompson

Jonathan Thompson is a Certified Personal Trainer and Running Coach with the American Council on Exercise, specializing in nutrition. In addition to his real-world experience working with clients, his articles and blogs on fitness advice have been published on many websites and magazines.