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Cycle Arms Practice

November 14, 2015

Cycle Arm Practice

Last month I posted about the new cycle arms style that I’ve been experimenting with. In that video, I tried to demonstrate the style myself, but it was not a very good rendition. Keare Smith, the athlete that I was working with last summer on the cycle arms style, has started working on it on his own while training in New York City. The clip at the end of this post shows three reps of him going over three 39” hurdles, spaced at regular race distance, moving at the warm-up 5-step pace.

The key thing to look at in regard to identifying the style is the trail arm, or what is traditionally called the trail arm. For Keare, that is his right arm; from the head-on angle of the first two hurdles, that would the arm to the viewer’s left. If you watched my previous video, “Cycle Arms,” where I explained the style in detail, you’ll remember that the trail arm is meant to function in the same way as the lead arm. So, the first thing you’ll want to look for – and it will probably look odd – is that the trail arms cycles down (instead of punching up) as the athlete descends off the hurdle.

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Cycle Arms

October 17, 2015

I just posted a long video on my YouTube page explaining a hurdling style that I’ve been experimenting with off and on over the past few years. Since starting my new job teaching English at a school near Charlotte, NC, much of my energy has been focused on teaching, and I haven’t been spending nearly as much time coaching. The fact that my new school has no track and has a very small track team has further put things on pause. The positive side of that though is that it’s given me more freedom to experiment without the pressure of getting athletes ready for races. So, the style I’ve been working on, which I call “cycle arms,” focuses on having the arms cycle (instead of thrusting up and down) in the same manner that the legs cycle. The cycling action doesn’t just take place over the hurdles, but in every stride. Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, let me know your thoughts by posting on my facebook page. The link for that is on the right-hand side of the home page of this website.

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Cycling the Legs

June 9, 2015

An article in this month’s Hurdle Magazine (which comes out June 14th) will feature a training session with an athlete who needed help breaking the habit of kicking out her lead leg. Here’s a snippet of that article, which is entitled “Learning to Cycle:”

Nadia 4On top of the hurdle, Nadia’s lead leg remains bent so that she can properly cycle it, and then cycle the trail leg as well. A lot of hurdlers will flatten out their lead leg at this point in clearance and try their best to “skim” the crossbar along the length of the entire leg. That’s not what we want to do. We want to create a downhill angle like we have here, so that we are coming DOWN on the hurdle, and will therefore be able to come off the hurdle faster than we went into it. You can also see that Nadia’s forward lean is more pronounced, as she pushes her chest down over her lead leg thigh, minimizing her airtime, pushing herself back to the ground. I’ve always said that the lean is not just about hurdle clearance, but even more importantly about creating speed off the hurdle. Meanwhile, Nadia’s trail leg is in excellent position, with the knee facing the front and the toe cocked to avoid contact with the barrier. The lead arm is crossing the body, but if that’s as far across as it goes, then she’ll be okay.

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