Stepping over a line over the level of your knee should be simple right? No so much for everyone and that is why the hurdle step is part of the functional movement screen. Two words: locomotion and acceleration. This movement will challenge the individual in its stride mechanics and also in its balance. The hurdle step will test both mobility and stability of the ankles, knees and hips as well as challenging the individual to keep its posture by staying connected to the pelvis and the core.
As much as the hurdle step being a great tool to evaluated individuals, we have a lot of good exercises that can come from it to help us challenge our mobility and stability of the ankles, knees and hips while maintaining the integrity of our posture.
One movement that I do enjoy is the running “A’s” as a drill to warm up my clients in a class or help them with their running mechanics. Looks like a hurdle step but is only done in a more continuous matter and well, involves jumping in the process. One other less dynamic movement that is really great to challenge the integrity of your posture (connection to pelvis and core) as well as your balance is to lift the knee at 90 degrees (just like when executing a hurdle step) and trying to extend (straighten) your leg while keeping your back in a neutral position (optimal posture) and keeping your knee nice and high. This will challenge your mobility, stability and strength.
Try and incorporate the hurdle step concept in order to challenge your balance in your workouts or in your warm ups and let me know how it goes.