Make Old Ladder Drills New: 3 Updated Classics

July 3, 2012

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No matter what sport you play, speed and agility are two of the most sought after athletic traits. When you first start training to develop them, the drills can be quite challenging, especially those that use the agility ladder. (Learn the basic agility training drills.) However, after awhile, training with the ladder can become routine. I believe that when you change any aspect of an agility or speed drill, you change the entire dynamic, making that old drill new again. This challenges your athletic ability, helping you achieve better speed, agility and quickness. So whether you're trying to develop quicker feet for soccer, better lateral movement for basketball or agility for football, here are some helpful drills to get you started.

To add difficulty to the first two drills in the video below, I have added 
hurdles to basic drills.

Quick Feet with Hurdles

Set up two agility ladders in a straight vertical line. Between the two, place three small hurdles spaced evenly apart. Starting from the back, run through a ladder with quick feet at maximum pace and high knees through the hurdles in the middle. Repeat with desired number of repetitions.

Hopstoch with Lateral Movement

Keep the ladder in the same vertical position as before, but place the hurdles in a horizontal line four blocks in. Repeat this another four blocks in with three more hurdles on the opposite side. Hopstoch is simply jumping in and out of the ladder at each step as quickly as possible. When you reach the hurdles, side-shuffle over and hop laterally over them and back. Repeat when you reach the second set of hurdles.

Broken Ladder Drill

For this last drill, use a ladder that can be
 broken into four separate pieces. You will place it to challenge linear and
 lateral movement, which does not occur with a straight ladder. This follows the concept that any change is good, because it helps to advance your
 motor skills. Set up the first piece of the ladder vertically; then a few feet over, set the second half horizonally. Follow the same proceedure with remaining parts, except place the next horizontal ladder on the opposite side. To complete the drill, start at the first ladder, using quick feet to move over it; shuffle to the first horizontal ladder and side-step over it; and repeat the movements with the remaining pieces.

There's no limit to the number 0f changes you can make to the complexity of agility and speed 
drills. It's up to your imagination. Feel free to add your own creative adjustments to the drills. Example: return to the starting position by running backwards. Just be especially careful when performing new movements. Be safe and in control of your body with correct form. In my next article, I will step further outside the box with more interesting and challenging drills using the same concept.

Photo Credit: achievefitness.com

Dean Hollingworth
- Dean Hollingworth, CSCS, has extensive experience working with athletes of all ages, helping them develop speed, agility and strength. He has consulted with various amateur...
Dean Hollingworth
- Dean Hollingworth, CSCS, has extensive experience working with athletes of all ages, helping them develop speed, agility and strength. He has consulted with various amateur...
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