THE BIOMECHANICS OF HURDLING: FORCE PLATE ANALYSIS TO ASSESS HURDLING TECHNIQUE

  • Brian MCLEAN

Abstract

Hurdle racing, especially the high hurdles, is one of the most demanding of track and field events. The athlete requires the speed of a sprinter in conjunction with the technical ability to clear ten 1.07m hurdles with minimum loss of velocity. Kinematic analysis has provided insight into hurdling technique, but little data has been reported on the kinetics of hurdling. This paper reports the results of force plate analysis of hurdling and outlines how it can be used in the routine assessment of hurdling technique. Two force plates are mounted at floor level in a portion of a 110m Rekortan track which passes through the laboratory. The protocol involves the athlete starting from starting blocks and clearing three hurdles set at standard distance from the start. Vertical and anterio/posterior ground reaction force data are collected for the take off and landing of the second hurdle clearance. Velocity changes associated with braking, propulsion and vertical impulse in conjunction with contact times and mean and peak force data are determined. These parameters in addition to simple kinematic data determined at the instant of touchdown in both takeoff and landing and the velocity determined by light gates are used in the quantitative assessment of hurdling technique. Sample data and the diagnostic possibilities of the analysis will be discussed.
Section
Coaching and Sports Activities