If you’re looking for a way to mix up your workouts, look no further than agility ladder drills! These fast-paced drills get your heart pumping and burn tons of calories.
But beyond that, they’re also the perfect form of cross-training for virtually any other workout you’re currently doing. Why? They improve three key fitness factors—speed, agility, and quickness—in addition to strengthening your joints, ligaments, and tendons. Let’s explore the benefits of agility ladder training and get to our 11 awesome agility ladder drills!
Benefits Of Agility Ladder Training
Agility ladder training is great for so many reasons. Yes, your heart rate gets up there and you’re going to burn calories, but there’s so much more to it than that. Here are just some of the benefits of agility ladder training.
1. Improves Speed, Agility, and Quickness
Whether you’re a pro athlete or an exercise newbie, agility ladder drills are the perfect form of cross-training because they help improve your speed, agility, and quickness.
- Speed: your ability to move in one direction as fast as possible
- Agility: your coordination—your ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change directions
- Quickness: your ability to react or switch positions quickly
These three factors not only improve your athletic performance in other sports and activities, but can help you boost your fitness level for virtually any type of workout you do, from strength training and dance to and pilates or bodyweight workout in between!
2. Great For Heart Health
Agility ladder drills get your heart pumping and are a great form of cardio. Getting your heart rate up through cardiovascular exercise is a great way to keep your heart healthy and young. The CDC recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardio per week; agility ladder training can certainly be a part of that!
3. Burns Tons Of Calories
Because agility ladder drills are a great form of cardio, they also burn mega calories! Because agility ladder drills are considered a type of high intensity interval training, they do what I always preach is the best method to attack your fat: accomplish more in less time!
By going “all out” in short bursts of intense effort and then taking a brief pause, you typically blast fat and burn more calories than you would doing most lower-intensity, steady-state cardio activities.
Related: Beginner’s Guide To HIIT
4. Keeps You Mentally Sharp
Stay young with a workout that will keep you on your toes and thinking fast! These agility ladder drills require you to focus up and concentrate, connecting your brain to your body. This type of improved coordination not only benefits your daily life, but keeps your mind young.
Studies even show that Alzheimer’s patients who participate in exercise programs including balance and coordination components retain more muscle strength and control than patients who do not.
5. It’s FUN!
We all get bored sometimes with our workout, so if you feel like you’re in a rut and sick of slogging away on the treadmill one more time, try this workout! You can do it outside, in the garage, or in the basement. It’s something different, and it’s just plain fun. Your kids will have a blast with it too!
11 Agility Ladder Drills To Try Today!
Put together, these 11 agility ladder drills make up one kick-butt workout. This workout is considered a High Intensity Interval Training workout, because it requires you to expend all-out effort for short bursts of time and then rest.
Here’s what you do:
Perform each drill two times in a row. Move down the ladder, shuffle back to the beginning of the ladder again and do it one more time. Do that for each of the 11 drills. Take a rest to catch your breath and then repeat all 11 again! Watch the video for a demonstration, and see the description of each drill below the video.
1. Single Foot In Each Square
2. Two Feet In Each Square
3. Lateral Stepping
Two feet in each square
4. Jumping Jack Feet
Two feet jump together in a square, then jump out while moving down the ladder
5. In In Out Out
6. Lateral Carioca
Grapevine as you move across the ladder; do each side and lead with right then left
One foot crosses front and steps in square; two feet step to the side and then keep repeating, keeping one foot in the square, two feet on the side
8. Icky Shuffle
Two feet step in a square; one foot to the outside
9. Single Foot Hops
Do right, then left
10. Side Shuffle
Inside foot moves in and out of each box while the outside foot is keeping pace with an alternate step
11. Walking Push-ups
In each square as you move laterally down the ladder
There are several different options if you want to do agility ladder drills: buy a roll-out mat, one with plastic slats, or simply draw your own with chalk. Ladders will range in price according to which variety you choose, but as you can see from the video above, I like the roll-out kind. They stay in place and are a better quality. This is the kind I have, from SPRI. You can purchase it on Amazon by clicking below.
Roll-Out Agility Ladder; $57.68
If you want to make your own agility ladder using chalk or duct tape, create boxes that are roughly 16 x 13, and make the whole ladder roughly 15 ft long. Of course, if the dimensions of the squares aren’t precisely the same as one you’d buy online, it’s not a huge deal. Just get outdoors and move those feet!