Training for agility and explosive speed should be the ultimate goal of an athletic speed and agility training program. Success in any sport relies heavily on an the level of agility of an athlete, where the ability to move fast and quickly change directions is often the determining factor between good athletes and exceptional ones. Agility training workouts are an excellent way to develop balance, coordination, strength, and explosive speed. Check out the Top Benefits of Agility Training for Athletes and how they help sports and other physical activities.
Here are our favorite agility training exercises guaranteed to produce maximum results.
Sprint Training - Agility Training Workouts
Sprint training is one of the best ways to develop foot speed and agility for any athlete who needs explosive speed and quickness. Whether you’re training for strength, endurance, or a combination of both (such as soccer, hockey, football, or basketball), the benefit of adding speed and agility training drills to your fitness routine can take your performance to the next level.
Place your cones 5-10 yards apart, forming the letter 'T' (i.e. three cones on top and one down the center). Begin at the start cone (i.e. the bottom of the T) and backpedal to the middle of T. Next, shuffle to the right cone, then shuffle back across the T to the far-left cone. Sprint back to middle cone, rounding the middle cone. Sprint back through the start cone. Perform the next rep in the opposite direction.
Variation: Perform crossover run instead of shuffling
Reps/Rest: 2/ 90 seconds
Another great agility training exercise using basic cones, start by placing five cones one yard apart in zigzag pattern. Start in an athletic stance, about five yards in front of the first cone. Sprint to first cone, weaving through zigzag pattern. Weave through final cone, break right and receive pass from your partner. Repeat this drill in opposite direction, weaving through cones and breaking left for pass.
Reps: 3 in each direction
Forward Backward Sprint
Start by setting up two markers, about 10 yards apart. After a good warm-up, sprint at full speed forward from the first cone to the far cone. Once you reach the far cone, turn and run or jog back to the starting cone. Stop and quickly accelerate in a sprint back to the far cone - repeating as many times as you can at a full sprint.
Reps - Repeat 10 times
Plyometric Agility Hurdles
Athletes use plyometric jumping exercises to build explosive power and speed. Additionally, these challenging agility training drills improve coordination, dexterity, and effectively improves sports performance. Using a set of small hurdles, jumping on one or both feet can develop agility and increase foot speed for runners and field sports athletes alike.
- Set up several small agility hurdles, placing about 2 feet between each hurdle.
- Start with your legs shoulder-width apart. Begin to jump upward and forward, clearing each hurdle. Be sure to land lightly on the balls of your feet.
- Upon landing, immediately jump again, driving forward with your arms.
- Repeat several repetitions.
- Repeat the drill on only the right foot and then only the left foot.
Reps - 3 sets reps per leg
Rest - 15 seconds between reps
Tuck jumps are simple drills that improve agility and power. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent. Bend your knees and jump straight up with explosive force, bringing your knees toward your chest while in midair. Grip your knees quickly and release. Once you land, immediately repeat the next jump. Including this agility training exercise into your weekly training sessions will improves coordination, balance, and strength.
Reps - 10 jumps
Sets - 3 times
Rest - 15 seconds between sets
While some might argue that this is not technically an agility training exercise, running stairs is an excellent way to develop swiftness and foot speed while producing an excellent interval workout. Running stairs provides a cardiovascular benefit similar to that of running and is an exceptional way to build explosive sprint power.
Begin by running on about 50 - 100 stairs at medium speed. When you reach the top, turn around and walk back down. Use the walk back as your rest interval, and repeat. It's that easy! If this is your first time running stairs, start by walking to avoid delayed muscle soreness.
Sets: Start with 5, working your way to 10 sets per workout
Occurrence: 2-3 times per week
The shuttle run is a standard agility training exercise used by high-performance athletes who play stop-and-go sports such as soccer, tennis, and basketball. Start by setting up a source with two markers, about 25 yards apart. Sprint with explosive speed from one marker to the other and back (i.e., one repetition).
There are a variety of different ways to do the shuttle run, including side-to-side runs, forward-backward runs, and forward-touch-return runs. If you're looking to add more intensity to this drill, complete your shuttle runs with the VertiMax Raptor (loading resistance at the waist and thighs).
In addition to this agility and speed training program, check out the 8 Best Agility Training Exercises. Also, see these agility training workouts for high performance athletes and you'll be on your way to improving acceleration, deceleration, change direction speeds, and explosive speed in no time at all.