Speed and Agility Training

Speed exercises and agility training – The true story.



Basics of Speed and Agility Training

Speed and agility training drills can be used by both recreational and professional athletes to improve balance, coordination, and strength.  Using a variety of different speed and agility exercises will work the muscles in different combinations and intensity, giving you the best result.  Speed exercises focus on building speed and quickness.  While you want to increase your overall running speed, you should also focus on the quickness needed to initiate movement from a variety of stationary positions.  Agility drills focus on the ability to react and change direction of movement quickly while maintaining balance.

Whether you are a committed athlete or just looking for exercises to tone muscles and burn off calories, these basic speed and agility exercise ideas are a good place to start.

Box Drills

Box drills are done using a box or raised platform.  Boxes are normally one to three feet high.  Drills using boxes involve jumping from ground level onto the box, from the box to the ground, or from box to box.  Drills can involve jumping either forward, backwards, or side to side.  As you become more experienced you can increase the box height for jumps and increase the distance between boxes for box to box jumps.  Here is one example of a basic box drill:

  1. Stand beside the box with you feet directly underneath you.
  2. Jump up and sideways onto the box and land with you feet directly underneath you.
  3. Without hesitating, immediately jump back down to the beginning point.
  4. Repeat without stopping between jumps.

Form is more important than speed. Maintain correct body position and keep the chest up and don’t tuck the legs when jumping.  Do the same drill from the opposite side of the box.

Using Cones

Cones are the most common and most recognizable tool in the training area and are used in a huge variety of speed and agility training drills.  Generally cones are used to mark the point at which a change of action and/or direction should take place.  Here is one variation of a basic cone drill called the box cone drill:

  1. Set up four cones in a square pattern five yards apart.
  2. Start at the first cone facing forward and sprint to the second cone.
  3. Remain facing forward and side shuffle to the third cone.
  4. Remain facing forward and backpedal to the fourth cone.
  5. Turn and sprint back to the first cone.
  6. Maintain proper form throughout

Again, this drill can be varied by starting in the opposite direction.

Agility Ladder Drills

An agility ladder is like a rope ladder laying on the ground and forming squares that run in a straight li

Cintz Agility ladder - 30 foot, breaks into 2 15ft ladders

ne.  They are a very versatile tool for speed and agility training.  The variations of exercises that can be done are endless.  The goal of an athlete is to complete a predetermined sequence of moves up and do

wn the ladder as quickly as possible while maintaining correct body position and balance.  Here are some example sequences:

  1. Jumping forward (then backwards) with both feet from one ladder box to the next down the length of the ladder.
  2. High step running the length of the ladder with both feet landing in each box.
  3. Hopping with one foot from one box to the next
  4. Step sideways from one side of the ladder, into the box, then out of the box on the other side. Repeat from the other side.
  5. All of these can be varied by facing different directions.

It is always more important to maintain good body position than it is to achieve great speed in the beginning.  The speed and agility will come from the conditioning that all these drills provide.  Progress will be noticeable after only a few sessions.

Rest Periods

One of the most neglected aspects of speed and agility training is the need for rest periods between drills.  Working “all out” for an extended period does not improve speed and agility.  You must use a good ratio of work to rest during your speed and agility training.  That ratio will vary somewhat depending on the exercise being done, conditioning, and other factors.  Some specific drills will have a recommended work to rest ratio, but if not, I would suggest a 1:4 ratio.  For example, if you sprint for 10 seconds….rest for 40 seconds before the next sprint.  This rest to work ratio is part of the process of stressing and relaxing the muscles that leads to better speed and agility results in the long term.

This is a very basic look at the components of speed and agility training.  The training program you create for yourself or your team will depend on the sport involved and the results you want to achieve.  Whatever that is, you can put together a very effective speed and agility training program using these simple tools

and a little planning.

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One Response to 'Basics of Speed and Agility Training'

  1. Are You Inflexible? | Loose The Gut - July 27th, 2010 at 12:11 am

    […] An athlete stretches in an effort to improve flexibility.Folks who aren’t athletic will enhance the effectiveness of practical movement in day-to-day life like getting into the car.   An athlete ought to lightly stretch a little bit more each day so that they can improve flexibility, speed and agility. […]


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