Monthly Theme: Speed
July’s theme is speed and agility. Almost all of us need speed and agility whether we realize it or not; even the elderly sometimes need to move quickly in order to stop themselves from falling or to catch something quickly. Most sports require significant amounts of quickness in order to execute perfect shots, run really fast, change direction, dodge another person, or to maintain their balance. Strength training allows an athlete to develop more muscle mass and create more force in the muscle, but speed and agility training helps to make that force into something an athlete can use to do their sport better. “Train slow, be slow” is a good catch phrase to keep in mind for training, and that is why it is good to stress quickness at certain times of the year.
So how often should people train for speed and agility, and what types of exercises should you choose? At minimum, most people would benefit from doing basic footwork agility once per week. This could be as simple as stepping forwards and backwards over a single line as quickly as you can for 20 seconds X 3 sets. The type of exercises you choose should vary based on the demands of your lifestyle and sports that you choose. Some athletes will have 3-4 workouts per week that are dedicated to combinations of jumps and sprinting, while some people may only need to do a couple of agility exercises in their garage once per week. Some speed/ agility drills can also put significant loads on the joints of the body, and so anyone who has arthritis or any other medical problem that could be worsened by exercise should be careful what exercises they choose.
The following is a list of various speed and agility drills that you can try. Be careful to choose only exercises that are similar to exercises that you have done in the last 2 months – if they are new to you, you should do the minimum amounts of sets and make sure your quality is good before progressing toward to going 100% with your efforts. Start with the low impact ones and slowly progress (over 3-6 months) toward the higher impact ones.
Sample Speed/ Agility Drills
Perform between 3-6 of the following drills in any given workout, for 1-3 sets per exercise. Keep the time for each set to less than 20 seconds. You should stop before the body starts to feel fatigued, and always allow lots of rest (1-2 minutes) between sets if you want to make the most improvement possible.
- Stepping over a single line
- Side to side
- Forward and back
- Stepping in a ladder
- Various patterns that involve side to side, diagonals, forward and backward movements.
- Stepping over a low hurdle or another low obstacle
- Forward and back, side to side, crossing over.
- Eccentric drops
- Dropping quickly into a squat, one leg or two legs.
- Catching balls
- Medicine balls – dropping to catch them.
- Tennis balls – having to move short distances to reach the ball
- Throwing balls – side to side, single arm, double arm, against a wall or mini tramp.
- Any core drills that involve quick movements with the upper body and or lower body.
- Quick contacts, 2 feet on the spot.
- Hopping over a single line
- 2 feet first
- Progress to one foot over time.
- various directions/ patterns.
- Hopping in a ladder
- Various patterns.
- Running drills (keep intensity low and sets long at first, then progress to higher intensities for shorter amounts of time)
- Side to side shuffle touching cones
- Slalom around cones or set 90 degree turn patterns.
- Forward and back around cones in figure 8 pattern – moderate intensity.
- Low intensity squat jumps and step jumps
- Sprints – 100 meters and less
- Hops over hurdles of various heights
- 2 footed hops over low hurdle
- Change of direction running drills
- 5-yard line touching drills
- Slalom cone drills.
- 5-10-5 pro agility drill.
- T agility drills
- 3 cone shuttle/ L drills.
- Vertical Jumps, tuck jumps, standing broad jumps, lateral bounding jumps, S foot jumps, S leg penta jumps.