Add a hill to your agility training to get a performance enhancement edge and to improve beyond typical expectations. A few reasons to train your agility on a hill:
1. Hills are a natural source of resistance, which builds strength and improves technique.
2. Performing agility drills on an incline adds a cardiovascular conditioning component and develops mental toughness.
3. Inclined resistance requires more power output and forces you to use a proper body lean—a 45-degree angle of your entire body, as opposed to bending 90 degrees at the waist with chest down.
4. When backpedaling on a flat surface, you can cheat by standing straight up. If you do that on an incline, you’ll fall. It sounds counterintuitive, but uphill movement actually creates proper flatground posture.
5. Working on a hill provides benefits that can’t be duplicated on flat ground
6. No expensive equipment is required.
IMG Academies performance specialist Corey Stenstrup takes top NFL defensive backs—guys who make a living with their flawless footwork and impeccable backpedaling technique—to the hill to train. Here’s a simple three-phase workout used by his clients, Dunta Robinson, Quintin Mikell and Tim Jennings.
Perform each for 10 to 15 yards up a steep hill, twice a session, with a one-minute recovery.
• Bounding • Straight-Leg Bounding
• Backpedal • Sprint
• Change-of-Direction Shuffle [shuffle right five yards, plant and pivot; shuffle left five yards]
Competitive Partner Races
• Backpedal Turn-and-Sprint [backpedal five yards, finish drill with five-yard explosive burst]