When it comes to improving your running speed, performing agility ladder drills is a must.
Contrary to popular belief, the speed ladder isn’t just for elite athletes. Even the not-so-serious and recreational runner can benefit from this awesome tool.
The agility ladder, also known as the speed ladder, is one of the best fitness tools that can rev up your heart rate and challenge your speed, coordination, and footwork like nothing else.
For these reasons (and some more), today I’m sharing with you my favorite agility ladder workout.I’ll also discuss some of the main benefits of adding agility drills to your training program as well as how to get started with ladder drills without risking bad form or injury.
Are you excited?
Then here we go.
What Agility Ladder Drills Training?
Before I get into the drills, let’s first define agility.
Agility is your ability to change position quickly and accurately, using quick, controlled movement and without losing speed. It refers to your ability to move at a fast pace in one direction and then instantly slow down and change position within a matter of seconds.
Guess what the best way to improve agility is?
Of course, the proof is in the pudding. The quickest way to increase your multidirectional speed is to exercise with an agility ladder—performing specific agility drills.
The agility ladder is a handy 10 yards long piece of training equipment that you can either buy from Amazon (or the nearest sports specialty store) or make your own if you want to start right away.
Typical agility ladder exercises include skipping through runs, sideways shuffles, and other movements performed up and down the ladder. These exercise help to strengthen your muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons while improving cardiovascular power, coordination and focus.
How To Create Your Agility Ladder
You don’t have to spend your hard earned money on an agility ladder, especially when you just to give this type of training a short and not sure yet if it’s for you
The whole project will take you no more than 15 minutes. All you need is duct tape—at least 30 feet of it to be precise, some paint stirring sticks—get at least ten 20-inch long sticks, and a measuring tape.
This video will show you exactly how to put everything together.
The Benefits of Speed Ladder Drills
Agility training is performed by all sorts of elite athletes in all sorts of sports that require fast feet and coordination such as sprinting, tennis, football players and so on.
Here are some of the benefits of agility ladder training.
Speed. By incorporating ladder drills into your training program, you will be promoting a wide range of different footwork and movement patterns, which can help increase stride length, speed, and agility on the running track.
Cardio exercise. When done right and at a fast pace, the agility ladder can provide you with a killer cardio workout. Just keep in mind that proper form is the priority, not how hard you push yourself. If you lose form, then you are just wasting your time.
Strengthens body and mind. Ladder drills will also help you strengthen your joints, tendons, ligaments while improving focus and coordination. Study has shown that agility training can improve cognitive performance, including vigilance and memory.
Starting Agility Ladder Training Without Falling Flat on your Face
In case you have no idea on how to proceed on your first agility ladder session, here are four easy steps.
Set it up. Lay down the agility ladder in the corner of the gym or empty studio or space.
Start slow. As a newbie, begin by walking through the ladder first. This helps you get used to the movement and build a proper form from the get-go.
Do basic drills. Perform a few rounds of jogging up and down the ladder, then try shuffling from side-to-side.
Make it more challenging. As you get used to the ladder, up the ante and perform the exercises as fast as you can without sacrificing form.
Top 9 Speed Ladder Drills – The Agility Workout You Need…
Here are nine agility ladder drills that combine multi-directional sprinting with ladder movement to help you improve lower body muscular endurance and speed.
To improve ASAP, do the routine below at least two times a week. Perform the routine as a circuit, doing each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds in order and with minimum rest between each drill. Repeat the whole circuit two more times, or more if you want to.
Agility Ladder Drills Warm-up
Before you start performing the drills, make sure to begin your workout with a thorough warm-up.
Begin every agility ladder workout with a thorough warm-up.
Jog in place to increase your heart rate and loosen up your muscles and joints, then do plenty of dynamic moves, such as lunges, butt kicks, arms raises, etc.
1. Ladder Linear Run
Begin this basic drill behind the ladder. Then, run down the center of the ladder, with each foot coming in contact with the boxes.
Next, turn around and run back to the starting position. Make sure to reduce the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground.
2. High Knees
Begin by stepping into the first box with both feet, then run forward with high knees, lifting your knees to waist level, through the entire length of the ladder. Make sure to bend your arms at 90 degrees and swing them back and forth to generate momentum.
Last up, turn around and sprint to the starting point.
3. Lateral Quick Steps
While standing with the agility ladder on your right, start sprinting laterally through the agility ladder by lifting your right foot ankle high and into the first box as quickly as you can, then follow it immediately with your left foot, moving diagonally forward one box until you reach the end of the ladder.
Keep contact with the ground with balls of feet and toes pointed up the entire time.
4. Carioca Agility Ladder Drill
Begin by standing on the right side of the agility ladder, then step sideways with your lead foot into the first box, then cross-step your rear foot behind your lead into the second box.
Continue moving laterally across the ladder facing one direction while focusing on quick hip rotation and fast footwork. Then repeat in the opposite direction.
5. In & Out
Begin with your feet hip-width apart at the bottom of the agility ladder.
Next, hop into the first box, landing with both feet in the center. Then, hop forward to the second box, spreading your legs and landing, so both feet are outside of the agility ladder, then jump to the third box, bringing your feet back to the middle position.
Continue down the entire length of the ladder, then hop backward following the same pattern.
6. Ickey Shuffle
Start on the left side of the agility ladder, then take a lateral step to the right with your right foot into the first box, then immediately follow it with your left foot.
Then, step laterally to the left side of the ladder with your left foot, and move your right foot to the next box.
Next, bring your left foot to meet your right, then step laterally to your right side of the speed ladder, and move your left to the next box in front of you.
Continue down the entire length of the ladder, then perform the same drill backward.
7. Two-footed Forward/Backward Jumps
Stand facing the agility ladder. Next, jump into the second box, Then jump backward to the first box, then jump again forward to the third box, then back again to the second box.
Keep jumping back and forth until you have gone the length of the entire ladder, then turn back and repeat.
Make sure to stay up on the ball of your feet the entire time. And never forget, technique comes first, speed later.
8. Lateral Shuffle Agility Ladder Drill
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width to the right side of the agility ladder, then step sideways with your left foot into the first box, follow it right away with your right foot.
Next, step sideways with your left foot into the second box then bring your right foot into that box.
Make sure to move through the entire length of the ladder touching both feet in each box, while keeping your chest up, back straight and eyes gazing straight ahead of you the entire time.
Repeat the sequence in the other direction to complete one rep.
9. Lateral Single Leg Hops
Begin by standing on your right foot, standing sideways on the right side of the ladder, then hop through the ladder on your right foot.
Once you reach the end of the ladder, turn around, then hop back. Switch sides and repeat.
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There you have it!
The above Agility Ladder Drills routine is another powerful cross-training tool to add to your running training.
Just do your best to perform the drills with good food while staying within your fitness level the entire time.
In the meantime, thank you for reading my post. Feel free to share the speed ladder routine with your friends.
Featured Image Credit – Beth via Flickr.