Athletes train for speed and love the ability to run fast. Speed is a God-given gift, but strengthening the specific muscles and doing speed drills can make anyone faster. Agility is more than speed. It’s the athlete’s ability to move rapidly from side-to-side or change direction quickly while running at a fast pace. This quickness adds elusiveness that all athletes desire and can be a giant leap toward attaining an edge over your competitor.
You can improve your agility with these 5 exercises:
T-Runs –> Set up cones or another set of markers in the shape of a “T”. Make the stem of the T about 20 feet and the cross of the T about 15 feet. Give yourself plenty of room to run, and begin my sprinting up the stem. When you reach the cross, lower your center of gravity and shuffle to your right. Once you reach the end, shuffle back all the way to the left of the cross. Next, shuffle back to the middle of the cross where the stem begins and run backwards to the end. Repeat this 3-5 times. Time yourself each time and try to improve on your speed and agility with each workout.
Cone Taps –> Place a cone in front of you and perform high knees while tapping the cone with the raised foot. Try not to knock the cone over, but gently tap the top of it with the up foot. Repeat back and forth. Begin slowly and as you progress, start switching feet more and more quickly as you raise your knees high. Perform 3 sets of 30 seconds. This exercise will help you get strong feet and ankles while making you light on your feet and improve your agility.
Lateral Hurdle Jumps –> Don’t worry. You don’t have to jump over Olympic-sized hurdles with this exercise! Take a cone or small hurdle (1-2 feet high) and place it beside you. Jump laterally side to side, lifting the inside leg high enough each time to clear the cone or hurdle. Perform 3 sets of 30 seconds. Begin slowly until you are familiar with the exercise and progress to rapidly repeating the jump to improve your agility.
Shuffle Runs With Cone Taps –> Take 2 cones and space them out about 10 yards. Shuffle laterally between the cones and at each end point, drop your butt down as you squat (keep your knees behind your toes), tap the cone with your hand, and reverse your direction quickly as you shuffle to the other cone. Repeat back and forth 10 times, rest, and repeat 2 more times.
Ziz-Zag Cones –> Place 5-10 cones in a zig-zag pattern in front of you. Each cone should be roughly 45 degrees from the other and spaced about 6 feet apart. Begin by running toward the first cone to run around it. As you approach the cone, prepare to shift your weight by dropping your butt and getting lower to the ground. Continue to run through this mini obstacle course as you improve your agility by sprinting, running around the cone, and shifting weight quickly to run toward the next cone.