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Steeplechase Drills

The purpose of these drills is to help develop the athlete's barrier clearance technique. Some of the drills may also be included in the more experienced athlete's warm-up program for training and competition.

Training drills


Sit with one leg pointed out straight in front of the body with the toe and knee pointed upward. Then, make the "L" with the thigh of the other leg. Then, place the toes of that back leg behind the knee of the same leg. Using the arms to hold oneself up in this position is very common for beginners, and it may take some time to gain the flexibility and strength necessary to maintain this position without assistance.

Trail leg motion

With a hurdle approximately 3 feet away from a wall, stand next to the hurdle. The outside leg (lead leg) should be placed just slightly ahead of the hurdle, and the athlete should stand on his toes. Then, leaning forward to simulate the lean during barrier clearance, stand on the toe of the lead leg. Then, bring the trail leg over the barrier to simulate hip motion. Do a few reps over the barrier, both forward and backward to loosen up the hips before proceeding to the next drill.

Walking trail leg whip

Take three steps back from the same hurdle used in the previous drill. Then, walk forward toward the hurdle, using correct arm motion. With the lead leg (outside leg), step up to simulate a little lead leg action, then whip the trail leg through as quickly as possible, stopping it at what would be the height of the running motion.

Walking lead leg whip

Placing a hurdle up against a wall, begin with the lead leg up against the wall just above the hurdle. The trail leg should be pretty well extended and the body slightly in front of the trail leg push-off point. From there, walk a few strides back. Then, walk forward forcefully and whip the lead leg up (using the correct arm form to assist with the whipping) to just clear the hurdle. This drill is particularly useful in training a non-dominant lead leg to assume lead leg duties.

Continuous hurdles

Set two hurdles up, one facing each direction, 2 to 3 lanes apart. Run 30 to 40metres into the hurdle to get to proper speed (race pace) and to be able to judge the distance to the hurdles. Then, you can run to the side of the hurdles to train just the trail leg. (If the wrong leg comes up, then you can just clear the hurdle with the lead leg.) Alternatively, you can go over the hurdles completely. Run one way over one hurdle, then circle and come back over the other.

Water jump preparation

Without using the water jump specifically, the long jump pit becomes a good training tool to prepare for that aspect of steeplechasing. Place a regular barrier in front of a sandpit, then with a 30 to 40metres run-up approach this barrier as if it were a water barrier. The sand will provide a soft surface so that more repetitions can be practiced. The soft surface will tend to lead the athlete toward just landing and stopping, so running off the barrier is especially important in this drill.

Rules of Competition

The competition rules for this event are available from:

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2008) Steeplechase Drills [WWW] Available from: [Accessed