Top 9 Speed & Agility Ladder Drills For Runners

If you’re looking for the best agility ladder drills, then you have come to the right place.

In today’s post, 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.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I’d use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. 

What Agility Ladder Drills Training?

Let’s start by defining what agility is (hint, it’s not actually speed).

Agility is your ability to change position quickly and accurately, using quick, controlled movement and without losing speed.

Good agility requires a great deal of coordination, quick reflexes, balance, speed, and correct response to the changing situation.

As a runner, this can help you pick up speed at the end of the race, maneuver around rocks during a trail workout, or simply perform everyday activities with ease.

What’s The Best Way to Improve Agility?

The quickest way to increase your multidirectional speed is to exercise with an agility ladder—performing specific agility drills.

What’s An Agility Ladder

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 DIY to start right away.

Typical agility ladder exercises include skipping through runs, sideways shuffles, and other movements performed up and down the ladder.

These exercises help to strengthen your muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons while improving cardiovascular power, coordination, and focus.

Why Should You Perform Agility Ladder Drills

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.

How To Create Your Agility Ladder

Feeling crafty? No need to spend your hard-earned money, especially when you want to try agility ladder training. In fact, a good agility ladder can be made from a mix of cheap materials.

Here’s what you need

  • Two rolls of duct tape—or at least 25 to 30 feet of it.
  • A pair of scissors
  • 10 Paint-stirring sticks. Get the big ones, which are roughly 20 inches long.  I think you can get them for free the paint counter at Home Depot.
  •  A measuring tape.

Next, all you need is a few minutes to throw this whole project together.

Agility Ladder Dimensions

As for dimensions, the rungs are often spaced 18 inches apart, forming boxes that are 20 inches wide.

In general, agility ladders are roughly 10 yards long and come in five-yard sections.

Just remember to leave at least 16 inches between each rung.

You can also join multiple sections to create ladders longer than ten yards. It’s up to you.

This YouTube Tutorial shows you exactly how to put everything together.

Too much to handle?

You can simply draw it on the floor or use scotch tape. Exercise doesn’t have to be tricky.

Or choose any of the following top picks on Amazon.Com

Starting Agility Ladder Training Without Falling Flat on your Face

I know you can feel too excited for the first time, even though you still clueless. here are four easy steps to proceed safely.

  • 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.

Remember to start slow and put safety first.

Agility Ladder Drills Warm-up

Before you start performing the drills, make sure to begin your workout with a thorough warm-up.

Since it’s going to be an intense exercise, you need to put some fire inside you. Make sure everything’s ready for the drills.

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.

Agility Ladder Workout Instructions

The routine is considered a high-intensity interval training workout because it will force you to push your body hard for short bursts of time and then rest.

Perform each drill three times in a row.

Make sure to move down the ladder as fast you can with good form, then shuffle back to the starting position and do it two more times. Repeat each of the 11 drills.

  1. Ladder Linear Speed Drill

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.

  1. High Knees Agility Ladder

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.

  1. Lateral Agility 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.

Speed requires stability in your ankle. Protect your ankle by landing safely with balls of your feet with toes pointing up.

  1. 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.

  1. In & Out Ladder Drill

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.

  1. Ickey Shuffle Speed Ladder Drill

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.

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.

  1. Two-footed Forward/Backward Jumps Agility Drill

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. You can always add more speed easily by time. But to fix technique and alignment takes forever.

  1. Lateral Shuffle Speed 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.

  1. 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. Tips! I love to start with a strong side first. You can do reps with less strong side twice than the strong one. Two birds in one stone, agility, and balance in one go.

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