Effect of hurdling step strategy on the kinematics of the block start

Lee James Rowley*, Sarah M. Churchill, Marcus Dunn, Jon Wheat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Athletes use either a seven-step or eight-step strategy to reach the first hurdle in the 110 m hurdle event. This study investigated the effect of step strategy on the start position, the block exit and the first four approach steps. Two-dimensional video data were collected in the sagittal plane from 12 male sprinters, grouped as seven-step (n = 6) or eight-step (n = 6) strategists. Mean block spacing was 0.08 m further apart, block contact time 0.06s longer, first step 0.25 m longer and first ground contact 0.03s longer for seven-step athletes compared with eight-step athletes. There was also a greater vertical displacement of the centre of mass (CoM) (0.04 m) for the seven-step athletes compared with the eight-step athletes. Additionally, the front hip mean angular acceleration was 197°/s2 slower for the seven-step athletes than the eight-step athletes. There was limited difference between groups for mean horizontal velocity at the moment of block exit (0.14 m/s). These technical alterations provide an important first insight into start kinematics. The findings of this study identify the position in the starting blocks, and the key parameters which pertain to the initial phases for a successful seven-step approach strategy to be employed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalSports Biomechanics
Early online date6 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2021


  • acceleration
  • athletics
  • Biomechanics
  • sprint
  • track and field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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