Improve Quickness With Lateral Speed Drills | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Improve Quickness With Lateral Speed Drills

January 12, 2012

Agility is one of the most important skills an athlete can possess. To be successful in sports, you have to be able to stop on a dime and accelerate explosively in a new direction, or you won’t be able to handle a pass, defend an opponent or weave through traffic. However, agility isn’t just moving forward and backward. You have to be able to move in every direction to be effective, which is why I recommend lateral speed training, which works all directions.

Speed Ladder Drill

Lateral speed training is one of the most important aspects of training for any male or female athlete. These drills enhance your ability to accelerate, decelerate, stop and stabilize—and then accelerate in any direction as quickly as possible without losing speed or balance. This type of training requires high levels of coordination and body control, because you are constantly working on gaining, maintaining or regaining your center of gravity while changing directions at various speeds.

It’s estimated that 80,000 to 100,000 ACL injuries occur each year because athletes do not work on lateral speed training, balance and other types of strength training. Improving your lateral movement enhances your ability to control your body and maintain balance and stability on the field. So you not only improve your game, you help ensure that you can continue to play it.

Lateral speed training drills should always be performed as explosively and quickly as possible. These drills are intense and will even increase your endurance for short bursts of speed.

When performing lateral speed training, remember these five key points regarding body position:

  • Maintain a good base of support by placing your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart; stay on the balls of your feet
  • Have a low center of balance to maintain good control of your body
  • Keep your shoulders, knees and toes in line
  • Have a strong, ready posture with your head up, shoulders back, chest up and arms at a 90-degree angle
  • Keep weight on inside foot and plant on outside foot when moving laterally

Below are lateral speed training drills that I recommend. If you find a drill too difficult or uncomfortable, reduce the intensity or amount of reps until you master the movement. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself in the weight room. Finally, remember to perform a Dynamic Warm-Up before and a Cool Down (foam rolling and static stretching) after each workout to ensure you get optimal results and limit the chance of injury.

Lateral Speed Training Ladder Drills

Perform these drills for five to 10 minutes.

One Foot In
Two Feet In
Lateral Shuffle
Lateral In-In/Out-Out
Ickey Shuffle

Lateral Speed Training Running Drills

Perform each drill in the video above for four to five reps in each direction.


Box Drill



Gary Miller is a personal trainer and strength coach with the Parisi Speed School organization. A graduate of William Paterson University, he is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a personal trainer, a performance enhancement specialist and a corrective exercise specialist.

Gary Miller
- Gary Miller is a personal trainer and strength coach with the Parisi Speed School organization. A graduate of William Paterson University, he is certified by...
Gary Miller
- Gary Miller is a personal trainer and strength coach with the Parisi Speed School organization. A graduate of William Paterson University, he is certified by...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge