What is an Agility Ladder?
An agility ladder is a piece of equipment commonly used to increase the agility of an athlete. The ladder is placed on the ground where it can be used for a number of different drills and exercises. Some of these drills include the hop-scotch, in-out, and tango drills. An agility ladder is often made from flexible material in order to avoid injuries caused by the athlete being tripped on the rungs.
Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body efficiently and effectively and to achieve this, You can improve your physical fitness in the following areas through agility training:
The ability to maintain equilibrium when stationary or moving (i.e. not to fall over) through the coordinated actions of our sensory functions (eyes, ears, and the proprioceptive organs in our joints.)
Static Balance - ability to retain the center of mass above the base of support in a stationary position.
Dynamic Balance - the ability to maintain balance with body movement and the ability to move all or part of the body quickly.2. Strength
The ability of a muscle or muscle group to overcome a resistance.3. Coordination
The ability to control the movement of the body in cooperation with the body's sensory functions, e.g. catching a ball (ball, hand and eye coordination.)
Specific actions of ladder agility training:
Here are a few of the drills you can perform:
Two feet in each rung (quick, short steps)
Face sideways, two feet in two feet out of each rung.
Alternating feet side hop (one foot in each rung)
High knees, two in each rung
- Carioca (crossover front, crossover behind)
- One step (one foot in each rung, quickly, forwards, and laterally)
- In and out (In/in, out/out) go both directions
- Crossover run (one foot in each box, crossover step
- Side straddle hop (two-foot hop in and out of boxes)
- Centipede (one foot at a time, quick short steps on the count of 2 in/2out/2over)
- Riverdance (count of “in/behind/out,” one foot in, other steps behind and out the other side of ladder)
Hop Scotch Drill
This is one of the simplest ladder agility drills, even for those who are too old to remember playing hopscotch (or just won't admit to it!).
- Start with your feet hip-width apart at the bottom of the ladder
- Jump up with both feet and land on the left foot only in the first square
- Immediately push off with your left foot and land with both feet in the second square
- Immediately push off with both feet and land on your right foot only
- Push off from your right foot and land on both feet
- Repeat this pattern for the full length of the ladder
14. In-Out Drill
Another basic drill to master but no less effective.
- Start with your feet hip width apart at the bottom of the ladder
- Step into the first square with your left foot first, immediately followed by your right foot
- With your left foot step outside to the left the second square, then immediately step outside the second square with your right foot
- Step back into the third square with your left foot first, followed by your right foot
- Repeat this pattern in fluid motion for the length of the ladder.
- Lateral Feet Drill
- The ladder agility drills from now on require more practise and greater coordination. Be sure to give yourself several dummy runs before attempting at speed.
- Start with both feet outside of the first square and to the left
- Step into the first square with your left foot first, immediately followed by your right foot... in a 1-2 motion
- Step to the right, outside the first square again with your left foot fist, followed by your right
- Now step diagonally left into the second square, with the left foot leading always keeping the same 1-2 motion
- Now step out to the left-hand side of the second square and repeat for the full length of the ladder
If you perform several sets of this drill start at different sides of the ladder so your lead foot changes each time.
I have given you several basic ways to incorporate hand walk drills into your
daily routines, and now I would like to give you a few ways to increase their
difficulty. You can add these modifications to any of the above drills.
- Band Around Wrists-You can wrap a tight loop of elastic tubing around
to increase muscular recruitment in the shoulder.
- Band Around Back-Wrap a band around your back and put a hand on
each end. This will increase the triceps activity considerably.
- Band To Belt- Feed a band through a weight-lifting belt that is around
the athlete’s waist. Hold both ends of the band into the air and adjust
so both halves are the same length. Now Place a hand inside each
half. This will cause the band to pull your arms back toward the waist.
- Stairs-You can utilize stairs or bleachers as another variation. Any of
the previous drills (other than the ladder) or modifications can be used
on the stairs.
- Stair Climber and Treadmill-Have the athlete stair step or walk on a
treadmill or treadmill.
- Modified Arm Ergometer-If you have an older bike, you can take the
seat apparatus off, and have the athlete pedal the bike in a push-up
position. Make the athlete just push or just pull, or both.
Be creative and think outside of the box. There are many variations I didn't cover her, so use your creative juices and see what you can come up with.