How Should Athletes Start Training for Agility?
I see many coaches and athletes getting it wrong when it comes time to start training for agility. They get in the gym and begin doing all of these reaction and cutting drills before they really have any business doing them. This can lead to injury and slowed progression.
So, how should you start training for agility?
When you begin training for agility, you want to start off training with real basic change of direction movements, then be able to elevate the threshold of those basics. These basics include foundational inversion/eversion of the ankle movements and movements that work hip abduction/adduction. You can incorporate reaction drills and more advanced movements once you’ve addressed these areas.
I’ve seen great success with the athletes I train using this method. Even my professional guys. When they return from the season, we scale back, completely regress, build that base, and progress from.
The question is, what are the key physical factors you should build for agility, and what movements should you use to build these factors?
Below, I’m going to share all of that with you below. Before I do, I want to give you an invitation to check out my new agility program, GAME SPEED. It just got released to the public and will take you through my approach to developing quickness, fluidity, and agility. Check it out.
Alright, let’s get into it.
The Key Physical Factors for Agility Training
There are both cognitive and physical factors needed for agility training. The cognitive factors include proprioception, body awareness, reaction, or your ability to respond to external stimuli. It’s also knowing your sport like the back of your hand, your instincts, and the knowledge you develop in the film room.
All of this is on the cognitive side that aids in your ability to be more agile and anticipate and react to what your competition is going to do.
From a strength and conditioning perspective, I deal with more of the physical side. That’s not to say I don’t deal with the cognitive side at all, but building a base is on the physical side of training for agility.
You may have heard me say isolate and elevate, especially in relation to training for speed.
When I say that I’m referring to setting up a series of drills and progressions of these drills so that we can elevate your foundation.
When it comes to agility, you’re going to isolate inversion and eversion of the ankle for lateral movement.
Then you’re going to do a series of movements that target hip abduction and adduction.
Again, when we target these physical factors, we want to start from a basic level, and continue to raise those attributes to be able to add the cognitive training safely and effectively.
Remember, if you skip this training, you’ll actually impede on your results.
So, what are a few basic movements you can perform to target these physical factors?
Let’s jump in.
Inversion and Eversion of The Ankle
1. Lateral Line Hops
Lateral line hops are the the most common of the drills I’m going to share here. This drill is a great builder for an athlete’s capacity to invert and evert at the ankle. They’re also very easy to progress. You should begin on two legs. After about two weeks of performing them this way, you can switch to single leg. I like to perform them for around 10 seconds.
How to Perform Lateral Line Hops:
- Find a line to hop over
- Start with the knees slightly bent and your center of mass over the line
- Begin jumping over the line as quickly as you can
- Be sure to jump the same distance over the line every jump and avoid moving forward or back
- Get as many jumps as you can in the allocated amount of time
2. Lateral Pogo Jumps
Lateral pogo jumps are one of my favorite movements to perform as an athlete progresses. This is because lateral pogo jumps add a vertical element to inversion/eversion of the ankle. This movement, just like the lateral line hops, is also easily progressed. As you get better, you can switch to single leg.
How to Perform Lateral Pogo Jumps:
- Figure out the distance you want to jump
- Keep the feet hip width and jump as high as you can while pushing out laterally
- Land softly and quickly transition into your next jump
- Your goal is to get as many jumps in your programmed distance as possible
3. Lateral Cone Hops
Lateral cone hops are one of the least commonly used drills on this list, but they’re great for more advanced guys. Cone hops nail down both inversion/eversion of the ankle and body control, as the drill requires you to land in a specific spot.
How to Perform Lateral Cone Hops:
- Place four cones about a foot apart from each other
- Start at one end of the cones on one leg
- Bend your knee slightly
- Jump laterally to each cone, spending as little time on the ground as possible
- Pause for one second at the last cone, then repeat the same thing on the way back
- Switch legs and repeat
1. Carioca Shuffle
The Caricoa Shuffle is a great drill to improve footwork, coordination, and lateral power. I usually use this drill for the first two weeks of an athlete’s agility training,
How to Perform a Carioca Shuffle:
- Start with your feet hip width apart
- Pop your rear knee up as you rotate the hips
- Drop the foot of the rear knee in front of your lead foot
- Bring the lead leg out in front again, then step behind with the rear leg as you rotate the hip
- Repeat for desired distance on both sides
2. Lateral Bounds
Lateral bounds are a great base builder for lateral power and agility. They also require some coordination and synchronization in the hips. This movement progresses as you build power, but you can also use it as a transition drill.
How to Perform Lateral Bounds:
- Start with your feet hip width
- Push out laterally with your rear leg as you “reach” with your front leg.
- Gather your your step and repeat for the desired distance
3. Lateral Shuffle
The lateral shuffle is a crucial movement for agility training. It will serve as the base of many reaction and cognitive training drills. It’s crucial you learn how to perform this movements efficiently, or you’ll be stuck at square one.
How to Perform a Lateral Shuffle:
- Begin with your feet at hip width
- Push as hard as you can off your rear leg as you step with your rear leg
- Bring your feet back to hip width and repeat
- It’s crucial your steps aren’t too large. Also make sure you don’t perform a hop towards your destination.
The Complete Blueprint for Agility Training
This week, I released my complete blueprint for agility training.
It’s called GAME SPEED.
And unlike most agility programs out there which only contain a collection of cone and ladder drills, GAME SPEED contains everything you’ll need to train agility, including plyometrics, agility drills, lifting for agility, core training…
And a lot more.
When you grab your copy of GAME SPEED now, you’ll also receive TWO SPECIAL LAUCNH WEEK BONUSES.
Click below for more info (expiring soon):