As reported last week, opportunities abound to enhance your foot speed and quickness in the weight room. One way is by performing ladder drills between sets of lifts during your strength workout. You can train linear speed, perform lateral movement patterns and improve side-to-side explosiveness by using the ladder. [You can even strengthen your shoulders and stabilizer muscles by performing Hand Ladders.]
The speed ladder is also a great tool for reinforcing proper running mechanics [watch the video below featuring Marques Colston]. A well-conditioned athlete with correct running technique is nearly unstoppable on the field of play.
But while the ladder is a staple for speed and agility training and is valuable for warming up, it does little to replicate game conditions. Think about it: how often during a game do you feel 100 percent energized when your number is called? Performing ladder drills will train you to move your feet fast while fatigued. Rod Cole, former director of strength and conditioning at Kansas State and Texas A&M, says, “You are going to be tired from the middle of the first quarter on, and you’ve got to move your feet fast when you’re tired.”
Take full advantage of your strength workout and enhance your speed and endurance by performing ladder drills between sets of heavy lifts. Watch the videos above for drills you can use in your next workout.
Note: The videos feature athletes performing ladder drills as part of their speed and agility work. For the purpose of speed development in the weight room, simply perform the drills as active rest between sets of strength exercises.
Photo: Todd Anderson