When is the last time you thought about your agility? Probably not recently. Perhaps that’s because many of us don’t know why or how agility plays such a vital role in our well-being and safety.
Agility refers to your body’s ability to remain balanced, coordinated, and in control as you swiftly shift and pivot from one position to the next. Each time you engage in sports, walk up and down stairs, or dodge a dangerous object in your path, agility is at work. So if your agility abilities are weak, you are more susceptible to falls — the leading cause of injury for older Americans. That’s why strengthening these skills is so important.
Becoming more nimble requires daily practice. And one toning tool that’s an all-star at amping up this skill is the agility ladder. This should be a piece of equipment in everyone’s exercise routine. It is portable, lightweight, fun to use, and relatively inexpensive, costing less than $15 at most sporting good stores or online.
Strengthen your agility in no time with the following ladder circuit. These drills take about 10 minutes to complete, making them a nice addition to your weekly workout. When unraveling your agility ladder, be sure that all the material is unknotted, smooth, and lying flat on the floor. Set up your workout station in a space that offers ample freedom to move. Repeat the entire circuit twice.
Start by standing with your feet facing the first rung of the ladder.
Hinge back at your hips to lower your body into a partial squat and quickly jump your feet from one square to the next. When jumping, do not try to come high off the floor. Rather, keep your feet close to the ground and land lightly with each hop. Maintain a forward gaze to avoid hunching.
Once you reach the end, turn around and repeat the same movement on the way back.
Stand on the left side of the first box on the ladder.
Stay low and jump your feet into the box, then jump out to the right side of the ladder.
Now move up to the next rung by jumping your feet into the box, then out to the left side of the ladder. Continue this pattern all the way up the ladder, turn around, and repeat back down to the first box.
Stand on the right side of the ladder so you are facing it.
Starting in a low partial squat, quickly step your right foot in, left foot in, right foot out, left foot out. Repeat this sequence in each box until you reach the end of the ladder. When complete, repeat the same movement coming back down, leading with your left foot.
Lateral fast feet
Stand to the left of the ladder.
In an explosive movement, step your right foot in, left foot in, right foot out, then hold the left foot up for two counts to challenge your balance. Try driving your knees up toward your chest with each step.
Move up to the next rung by stepping your left foot in, right foot in, left foot out, then driving your right knee up toward your chest. Hold for two counts. When you reach the end, continue in the opposite direction.
By strengthening your agility skills, you’ll never be thrown off balance.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.