Agility, or the ability to rapidly accelerate, stop, and change direction quickly, is important for many athletes. If you can move quicker than your opponent you’re going to have an advantage, especially in sports such as basketball and football.
The best time to work on your agility is during the off-season, however it’s important to understand a couple of things.
First, agility training is just one part of a complete program. Your training program should include weightlifting, plyometrics, and speed training in addition to any agility drills you use.
Second, the amount of agility training you do is going to depend somewhat on how much sport-specific training you’re already doing. In general, 1-2 sessions of agility training per week is all you need.
There are three different types of agility drills: cone drills, resisted agility drills and reactive agility drills.
Beginners are best suited for starting with cone drills and working towards the other two once they have some training under their belts.
Because beginners need to work on the actual movement patterns first, learning how to change direction quickly with less risk for injury.
If you're wondering what specific type of agility drills to include in your training, read on...
There aren’t necessarily “right” or “wrong” agility exercises. Instead, the focus should be on a variety of movements in different planes - linear and lateral. Here are some examples:
This agility drill is one of the tests the NFL uses and it’s also a great agility training exercise to use in your training.
For this exercise, you start in the middle of two cones that are 10 yards apart on each side of you. You sprint five yards to one cone, turn and sprint 10 yards to the far cone, turn and sprint back through the middle cone where you started.
For the box cone drill, you set up four cones in a square, with each cone being 10 yards apart. You sprint to the first cone, side shuffle to the next cone, backpedal to the third cone, and shuffle back to the start.
That’s just one of the many variations when it comes to box drills. You can use any combination of movements you want and even change the distance of the cones in the box.
To effectively do zig zag drills, set up 6-8 cones, 3-5 yards apart in a zig-zag pattern and then sprint, backpedal, or shuffle from cone to cone as fast as you can.
By moving left to right to left repeatedly, this drill hones your quick-change-of-direction-skills.
The plex cone drill is a fun one. For this agility drill, set up 8-10 cones in a random multi-directional pattern and sprint from cone to cone. Make sure to set the cones at different lengths from one another.
For example, some cones may be three yards apart, while others may be 11 yards apart. The point is to have to change directions at different speeds, working on acceleration and deceleration between each set of cones.
Reactive agility drills require the use of a partner and include sprinting, shuffling, and backpedaling while your partner tells you when to change directions.
For example, start by sprinting and then your partner tells you, “Backpedal” or “Shuffle,” and you’ll switch to that movement.
They can also point in a certain direction or yell “switch,” and you’ll change direction on their command.
With all of the cone agility drills and reactive drills, you can also use resistance bands to up the level of difficulty. The bungee resistance band is the best band to use for resisted agility drills.
Agility training makes you a better athlete. Period.
Include 1-2 days of agility training in your off-season workouts starting with 15-20 total reps of various exercises.
For more workout inspiration, download your FREE bungee band training guide here.
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