An In-Season Speed and Agility Workout for Defensive Backs and Wide Receivers

Wide receivers and defensive backs can build superior speed and agility with these drills.

Speed and agility are critical abilities for football players, but especially wide receivers and defensive backs. These abilities are so important that they deserve considerable attention during the in-season for these athletes.

RELATED: Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Receivers have to be able to get off the line of scrimmage quickly, separate from their defender, stop, start and change directions on a dime, catch the ball, and then gain yards after the catch.

Defensive backs have to be able to limit the receiver's ability to get open, stay with the receiver, run to the ball, make an interception if possible, and tackle if not. This means that defensive backs must possess many of the same abilities as a wide receiver, but they also have to be able to react quickly to rapidly changing situations.

This article provides an in-season speed and agility program and several drills to help wide receivers and defensive backs become more competitive and effective. This program assumes Saturday games. If games are on a different day, the workouts should be backed up accordingly.

RELATED: Wide Receivers: Boost Your Speed and Agility with These Drills

This workout is put together around three days per week. In terms of speed training, the first day (Sunday) is meant to help you recover from the game the previous day. The second day (Tuesday) focuses on first-step speed and the first 20 yards. The third and final day (Thursday) focuses on maximal velocity. With regard to agility, the first day consists of going through the motions on fundamental skills to help with the post-game recovery process. The second day focuses on starting, stopping, and changing directions; and the third and final day focuses on reacting to opponents.

For the program, a general warm-up should be done each day. The specific warm-up should change depending on the workout that is to follow.

RELATED: 4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

General Warm-Up

  • Jog 4x100 yards, Jump Rope for 30 seconds after each 100 yards
  • Leg Swing circuit (front to back, side to side): 20 each direction
  • March: 2x20 yards
  • Butt Kicks: 2x20 yards
  • High Knee Walk: 2x20 yards
  • Lunge circuit (forward, side to the right, side to the left, reverse): 20 yards each

Day One

Specific Warm-Up

  • A-Skips: 2x20 yards
  • Carioca: 2x20 yards
  • Falling Starts: 2x20 yards

Circuit (perform non-sprint exercises for 30 seconds, repeat the circuit 3x)

  • 80-Yard Sprints
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Push-Ups
  • 80-Yard Sprints
  • Lunges
  • Bear Crawls
  • 80-Yard Sprints
  • One-Legged Romanian Deadlifts (bodyweight only)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • 80-Yard Sprints
  • Shuffle right/left
  • Backpedal

Day Two

Specific Warm-Up

  • High Knee Skips: 2x20 yards
  • Shuffle right/left: 2x10 yards each direction
  • Backpedal: 2x10 yards
  • Stride length drills (work on increasing the size of your strides from the start line to the 10-yard line): 2x
  • Falling Starts: 3x5 yards


  • Standing Starts (two-point stance): 3-5x20 yards
  • Bounds: 3x20 yards
  • DBs: Backpedal 5 yards, change directions to the right or left and sprint 10 yards - 3x each direction
  • WRs: Sprint forward 5 yards, change directions to the right of left, stop, and sprint 10 yards - 3x
  • L-Drill: 3x

Day Three

Specific Warm-Up

  • High Knee Skips: 2x20 yards
  • A-Skips: 2x20 yards
  • Fast Feet Drills: 2x20 yards each leg


  • Standing Starts (2-point stance): 3-5x40 yards
  • Stride Length drills (sprint to the 20-yard line, strides should increase until you reach the 40-yard line): 3x
  • Reactive Line drill: 3x
  • Reactive Box drill: 3x

Reactive Line Drill

You need a partner and two cones.

  • Set up the cones 5 yards apart.
  • Draw an imaginary line between the two cones.
  • Stand on either side of the imaginary line and face each other.
  • One of you is offense, the other is defense.

For this drill, the offensive player moves side to side but may not move past the cones. While the offensive player is moving, the defensive player tries to keep the offensive player in front of him the entire time. At no time should either player cross the imaginary line. This is an intense drill, normally done for 15-30 seconds at a time.

Reactive Box Drill

You need a partner and six cones.

  • Create two 5-yard by 5-yard boxes that touch each other (see diagram below).
  • One player goes into the top box and is the offensive player.
  • The other player goes into the bottom box and is the defensive player.
  • The offensive player moves rapidly inside his box.
  • The defensive player tries to mirror the offensive player's movements..
  • At no time can either player cross into the other box.
  • This is also an intense drill, normally done for 15-30 seconds at a time

Reactive Box Drill

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock