Improve Your Quickness With 5 Speed Ladder Drills

July 20, 2012

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Speed ladder drills are a great way for athletes to improve agility, balance, quickness and footwork. No matter what sport you play, these drills will improve your performance.

When beginning a speed-ladder training program, start slowly to master the pattern of the movement. Do your best to avoid catching your foot on the ladder. As you get accustomed to the drill, gradually increase speed until you perform as quickly as possible.

Below are five speed ladder drills that will improve your linear and lateral agility and quickness and make you an overall better athlete. Perform them at the beginning of your speed workout once or twice a week.

High Knees

This is one of the best ladder drills to improve stride frequency and leg recovery (running efficiency) when sprinting at max speed.

Stand with speed ladder in front. Driving knees up to waist height, step into first box with both feet. Bend arms at 90 degrees and swing them back and forward with maximal effort. Toes should point up toward the knees, and balls of the feet should come in contact with the ground. Continue through entire ladder.

Lateral Quick Steps

This drill will improve lateral quickness and reduce ground contact time when changing direction.

Stand with speed ladder on left. Begin by lifting left foot to ankle height and into first box as quickly as possible; follow immediately with right foot. Keep toes pointed up and contact ground with balls of feet. Bend arms at 90 degrees and pump with short range of motion to mirror the quick steps. Perform set to right.

In-In Out-Out

After you have mastered Lateral Quick Steps, challenge yourself with Lateral In-In Out-Out. This drill has the same benefits as Lateral Quick Steps, but it also includes forward and backward movements to incorporate multi-directional training.

Stand with side of ladder in front and slightly to left. Step into first box with left foot and immediately follow with right foot. Step back out of box with left foot and follow with right foot. Perform sequence in each box of ladder. Perform set to right.

Icky Shuffle

This drill mimics sport-specific movements and improves lateral quickness.

Stand with speed ladder in front and slightly to left. Step into box with left foot and immediately follow with right foot. Step outside box with left foot. Step forward with right foot into next box. Step into second box with left foot and step outside of box with right foot. Continue in side-to-side fashion for entire ladder.

Icky Shuffle Crossover

An advanced version of the Icky Shuffle, this is one of the best speed ladder drills for improving lateral quickness.

Stand with speed ladder in front and slightly to left. Step into box with right foot. Step on opposite side of box with left foot and then right foot. Step into second box with left foot. Step on opposite side of box with right foot and then left foot. Keep arms at 90-degree angle and pump explosively with each hip turn. Continue in side-to-side fashion for entire ladder.

Ramon Williams
- Ramon Williams graduated magna cum laude from Montclair State University with a B.S. in Physical Education. He is currently an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist...
Ramon Williams
- Ramon Williams graduated magna cum laude from Montclair State University with a B.S. in Physical Education. He is currently an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist...
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