How to Make your Diving Hurdle Powerful

In order to dive successfully on springboard, you need to have a strong hurdle. A powerful jump into the air will propel your dive into the air and give you more time to complete and perfect your performance. Mastering this skill is a continuous effort: Even the best divers in the world still work to improve their hurdle.

To get a better hurdle, you need to focus on getting your legs strong. Strong quads and flexible hamstrings will help give you power in your hurdle: The more power you have, the stronger your dive will become. Below are some exercises that will help you burst off the board and soar into the air!

Strength Training

There is no way around it: To have strong legs, you have to work on them. Your quadriceps muscles are located in the front of your thighs. Your quads are one of the largest muscle groups in your body. They are comprised of four distinct muscles: Vastus lateralis; vastus intermedius; vastus medialis; and rectus femoris. These muscles are essential in standing, walking, running, and jumping.

In order to get these pivotal muscles stronger, you can either use gym machines, your own hand weights, or just your body weight to add resistance. Any of these will work to excel your strength.

To get strong quads, try the following exercises:


Squatting is a great way for a diver to increase their quad strength and balance. It is important to have good posture when executing a squat to avoid injury. At first, use your body weight as resistance. If you want to increase the intensity, you can add a barbell to the exercise. Here is how to perform a basic squat:

  1. Begin with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Maintain good posture through your upper body and begin to lower your body by pushing your hips back, as though you were sitting in a chair.
  3. When your thighs are parallel to ground, push through your heels and return to start.
  4. Do a set of 10 squats. Do a second set if you can handle it.

Keep your feet straight or slightly turned outward, and keep your knees in line with your middle toes to prevent the knees from caving in or out. To get a detailed explanation of squats, take a look at our Fitness guide How to Squat.


Lunges are a great exercise for divers to perform. They can be performed with your body weight as resistance or holding two to five pound dumbbells in each hand. Lunging requires balance and will increase the power in your hurdle step. Here is how to perform a basic lunge.

  1. Begin with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Maintain good posture through your upper body.
  3. Step or lunge your right foot forward, far enough that the heel of your left foot raises off the ground.
  4. Your right knee should be directly over your right foot, and your left knee should be directly beneath your left hip.
  5. Push through your right heel to return to a split-stance position where both legs are straight.
  6. Keep your torso upright and focus on pushing through your front heel.
  7. Do 10 reps on each leg. Do two sets if you can handle it.

Jump Training

Jumping is another aspect to a powerful hurdle. Knowing how to jump with a strong takeoff leg will help you explode into the air. In the jump, it is important to achieve height as well as balance. Here are some exercises that will enhance your jump and balance in the hurdle.

Power Jumps

To help you explode off the board in your hurdle try “power jumps.” To perform these you will need a mat and a bench (or some elevated piece of furniture). Here is how to do power jumps:

  1. Stand with your feet together, your arms to the sides of your body, and your body facing the elevated mat.
  2. Lift your right leg and place it onto the elevated mat or bench (a step-up position).
  3. Transfer your weight onto your right leg and prepare to jump up.
  4. Keep your arms down by the sides of your body.
  5. Jump off the right leg and simultaneously lift your arms above your head, keeping your elbows locked and tight.
  6. While in the air, point your toes.
  7. Land with both feet on the elevated mat and your arms above your head, near your ears.
  8. Make sure you maintain good posture in this exercise, including shoulder and hip alignment.
  9. Perform five jumps, and then switch lead legs. Do two sets if you can handle it.

Mental Edge

Jumping jacks are a simple way to get your heart rate up and improve your bounce in your hurdle. Try to do a set of 20 jumping jacks before you enter the water each day, and you should quickly notice the positive effect it has on your hurdle.

Stair Jumping

Another great exercise that will give you that explosive action in your hurdle is jumping stairs. In order to perform this exercise, you will need to have a set of stairs that are straight. The stairs need to have a wide enough footing to ensure safe landing. It is preferable to perform this on a set of enclosed stairs (versus an open stair design). Here is how to perform these jumps:

  1. Stand facing the stairs with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place your hands on your hips, with your elbows bent and pointing to the sides of your body.
  3. Bend both legs into a deep 70 to 80 degree angle to the ground and initiate a squat position.
  4. Make sure your knees are in line with your toes. Keep your back straight, with your bottom in a sitting position.
  5. Jump with power to the next level stair.
  6. While in the air, point your toes.
  7. Land and quickly rebound into another bend and jump motion.
  8. Do a set of at least 10 stair jumps.

Explosive Muscles

To get the most out of your hurdle and jump high into the air, you need strong legs and explosive muscles. Keep working on these exercises and you will quickly see an improvement in your exit from the board.

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