Improve Explosiveness With 3 Agility Hurdle Exercises

STACK Expert Ryan Gallop brings you three agility hurdle exercises to improve your foot speed and explosiveness.

Agility Hurdles
Throughout the NFL Scouting Combine this week, the spotlight will shine brightest on speedsters running sub-4.4s in the marquee event, the 40-Yard Dash. Most scouts and coaches, however, are just as concerned with how those same athletes blaze through the two agility tests: the 5-10-5 Pro Agility and the L-Drill. Sprinters aside, athletes rarely reach their top-end speed during competition. On the other hand, the ability to quickly change directions (agility) applies to almost every sport.

At EZIA Human Performance, we firmly believe that improving athletes' agility is key to increasing their overall performance. That's why one of our benchmark tests is the Pro Agility Drill. From Olympic rugby players to aspiring pro surfers, we help all athletes achieve their peak performance by boosting their agility.

Central to our agility training are mini hurdle exercises designed to enhance foot speed, lateral movement, "cutting" ability and the fast-twitch muscle fibers essential for explosive movements. Mini hurdle exercises emphasize maximum quickness, so we keep the volume low, performing six sets for 30 seconds each exercise. We use three to six hurdles, from four to six inches in height, aligned parallel with each other and placed two to three feet apart, depending on the athlete's height.

Perform these three agility hurdle exercises during your speed workouts to improve agility.

Agility Hurdle Exercises

1. Lateral Shuffle

  • Assume athletic stance with hurdles in front and to right
  • Shuffle right between first and second hurdles
  • Stop and shuffle left between second and third hurdles
  • Continue weave pattern in alternating fashion through hurdles
  • Change direction and shuffle through hurdles back to start position

Variations: For an additional challenge, perform the drill moving backward or with your eyes looking up.

2. Lateral High Knees

  • Assume athletic stance with hurdles positioned to right
  • Step over hurdle with knees as high as possible
  • Quickly touch feet to ground between hurdles and immediately perform over second hurdle
  • Repeat over each hurdle
  • Change direction and perform in opposite direction

Variations: For an additional challenge, perform with a resistance band or sled. You'll need to reposition the resistance band or sled when changing directions.

3. Weave Drill

  • Assume athletic stance with hurdles positioned to right
  • Sprint forward until slightly beyond hurdle
  • Backpedal between first and second hurdles until slightly beyond hurdle
  • Continue weave pattern in alternating fashion through hurdles
  • Change direction and shuffle through hurdles back to start position

Variation: For an additional challenge, toss a tennis ball to a partner during drill.

While you have the equipment set up, get quicker with more mini hurdle drills from John Cissik, president of Human Performance Services.

Ryan Gallop, CSCS, is the coaching director and a performance coach at EZIA Human Performance in Carlsbad, Calif. He specializes in rugby, football and action sports training. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in health and exercise sciences. For more information, visit eziahp.com.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: AGILITY TRAINING | COACH | EXERCISE | SPRINT | DRILL | FASHION | STANCE | SHUFFLE | HURDLES | RUGBY | HUMAN PERFORMANCE