Almost every strength and conditioning facility has an agility ladder, and for a good reason. A ladder workout helps athletes improve their footwork, balance and coordination by forcing them to make quick, powerful and dynamic movements while simultaneously being aware of the spacing of their environments.
Quick feet are great, but learning how to use them to put yourself in a powerful position—one that allows you to make great plays on the field—is even better. Regardless of the sport you play, becoming a stronger and more responsive athlete on your feet will benefit your performance. Start using this ladder workout to develop both the speed at which you move your feet and the rate at which you put yourself into favorable athletic positions on the field.
Each of the following ladder drills forces you to focus on both your foot speed and your overall body positioning. After a proper warm-up, perform them before any agility workout you do during your training program.
Drill 1: Quick-Cut Restarts
Start with a staggered stance at the top of ladder (in the video, the left foot is forward and the right foot is back).
Quickly step into the first box with your back leg (in this case the right foot), and bring the other foot into the same box right after it.
Repeat for the following box (right foot followed by left foot).
With your lead foot, make a planting cut outside the current rung and propel your other leg forward into the next rung.
When your foot lands, stabilize your body and pause for a quick moment before continuing the drill by repeating steps 2-4.
Perform this ladder drill three times leading with your right foot and three times leading with your left foot.
This drill improves your ability to produce lateral cutting motions while quickly moving forward, which is helpful in any sport requiring reactive changes of direction. It also improves your ability to stabilize your body using only one leg, which is also important on the field of play.
Drill 2: Plyo Rotational Hops
Start at the top of the ladder in a narrow jumping stance.
Hop directly into the first box with both feet.
Hop directly into the next box with both feet.
As you hop into the next box, turn your body 45 degrees.
Upon landing, jump as high as you can into the next box while rotating your hips back to their original position.
Repeat steps 2-5 for the remainder of the ladder.
Perform this drill twice turning your hips to the right and twice turning your hips to the left.
How This Helps You:
This drill improves your ability to quickly re-position yourself to exert maximum effort. The ability to rapidly readjust your body to perform a max-effort move like jumping will help you make plays in soccer, football, basketball and baseball.
Start in a staggered stance along the side of the ladder.
As you propel yourself laterally down the ladder, alternate your feet forward and backward, making sure each foot touches each box of the ladder.
Remember which foot started in the back position. Every time that foot enters a box, punch both arms forward as if you were chest-passing a basketball.
Continue to repeat steps 2-3 for the duration of the ladder.
Perform this drill three times leading with your right leg and three times leading with your left leg.
How This Helps You:
This drill forces your lower body to develop lateral quickness while at the same time improving foot speed. It also develops coordination by requiring your upper body and lower body to work as a single unit.