Best Agility Exercises for Athletes
By Elizabeth Quinn
Agility is defined as an athlete's ability to move at an accelerated pace in one direction and then instantly decelerate and shift position within a matter of seconds. It is the one facet of sports training that can separate a good athlete from a great one.
Whatever sports you engage in, these agility drills can improve your performance by strengthening the joints and muscles that go largely untested in daily life. As with any type of sports training, start slowly and focus on maintaining proper form. This will not only help you develop the stability needed to perform at your best, it can significantly reduce your risk of injury.
1. PLYOMETRIC AGILITY HURDLES
Athletes often use plyometric jumping exercises to build power and improve coordination. Hurdles are not only vital to training for field sports, they can improve the strength and jumping ability of basketball players, skiers, figure skaters, and sports divers. This exercise should only be performed after a thorough warm-up.
To do plyometric agility hurdles:
- Set up a series of low agility hurdles in two-foot increments.
- Starting with legs shoulder-width apart, jump upward and forward to clear each hurdle, landing on the balls of your feet.
- Upon landing, jump again, driving forward with your arms.
- Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions ("reps") for one set. Rest for about a minute and complete two more sets.
You can perform the same drill with only the right foot and then only the left foot. As you improve, move the hurdles further apart.