Lately I have come realize that my foot work is too SLOW. Much slower then I would like it to be. I have decided that I am going to incorporate ladder drills into my warms ups before my daily workouts.
I am terrible at ladder drills. My coordination is awful. My accuracy is no where close to a bullseye. And my speed is lacking, (the complete opposite of a Kenyan at the Olympics).
I expect lots of missteps, tripping, and possible frustration with myself in learning how to get better at ladder drills.
But, with dedicated practice, consistency, and time, I will get better! My coordination will improve, my accuracy will find the bullseye more often, and my foot work will increase in speed and agility. (I will never be as fast as a Kenyan, but I will not give up hope.)
These skills will help me become faster in workouts, and improve my execution with Olympic lifts!
So here’s to plenty of failures, funny tripping videos, but also growth, improvements, and eventually successes!
Ladder Drills As A Warm Up
To properly warm up you need to do a few specific things to get your body ready.
You need to Spike your heart rate, Raise your body temperature, Warm up your muscles and tendons, find your full range of motion for the specific activities that you are about to do, and a warm up helps you mentally prepare for the workout ahead. There are many ways of accomplishing those points and the agility ladder is a good way to hit all of those areas. If you want to see another one of my warm up using resistance bands check this out.
I start off using the agility ladder by running straight through it. One foot in each box, all the way through. I do that a few times and pick up speed each round. Once I feel good moving in a forward direction then I take it side ways. Making sure each foot hits each box and trying to get my knees up higher than a normal side step. Again starting on the slower side and picking up speed as I go through more and more rounds.
Exploring Ladder Drills
I did some research on different ladder drills and made a list of a few that I felt like would help me with my foot work right now. I wanted drills that forced me to move in different ways than I am used to moving. I picked drills that had me upright and down low. Also I through in some upper body movements. A nice way to round out a full body warm up.
The Agility Ladder Drills I Chose
After the forward Sprint and the Lateral High Knees I choose to work on The Icky Shuffle.
The Icky Shuffle: you move both feet in and out of each box diagonally and forward. Right foot Step in box, left step in same box, right foot step out of box to the right, left foot forward step in to next box, right foot step in new box, left foot step out of box to the left, right foot forward step in to next box, and keep going with that same pattern.
Slalom Jumps: Jumping forwards and diagonally with alternating feet hitting inside one box, right foot hits inside boxes 1,3,5,7 while left foot hits inside 2,4,6,8. You kind of hop side to side with each foot hitting every other box.
You can also do the slalom jumps with your feet together. Bonding back and forth on either side of the ladder hitting a box on your way through. I feel like a down hill skier with this ladder drill.
And whether your feet are together or moving separately, you can try this ladder drill backwards! I have yet to master moving forward, so I will try the backward version, at a slow pace at first once I get a littler better.
Lateral Two Jump Forward and One Hop Back: Stand inside the first ladder box, facing the left ladder rail, knees slightly bent. Jump right foot laterally over two boxes, tap left toe to right ankle, then jump left leg back one square. Continue that pattern moving all the way through the agility ladder and then back through to your starting position.
Double Trouble: Both feet, (In-in-out-out) in the same box, moving forward at a fast pace. This one needs, for me at least, a lot of concentration to make sure both feet hit each box before moving to the next. Its like play fire feet but moving forward at the same time. And make sure you switch up your lead foot each round you do this one. I am so much better and quicker when my right foot is leading. So I trying to practice more with my left leading.
*To get better at anything, you should always work your weaknesses. If you are bodybuilding, let your weak side dictate how many reps to do with each weight. If you are doing a HIIT workout, start with your weak side first. If you are practicing Agility Ladder drills, use your non dominant side more often.
In and Outs
Lateral in and out: Staying on one side of the ladder moving sideways, both feet tap in and out.
Forward in and out: Jump both feet in the same box and then outside of that box, moving forward
Backward in and out: Same as above, but moving backwards
Single leg lateral in and out: One foot jumping in and out of each box, moving sideways, keeping the non working leg from touching the ground. Lots of concentration and balance needed for this ladder drill.
Squat jumps with toe tap: One foot in a box and one foot outside of the same box. Squat jump forward, tap the outside foot in and out then squat jump forward again.
Curtsy jump lunges: One foot in a box and one foot crossed behind, in a curtsy lunge. Jumping forward. Each foot will hit the same box.
Lateral Jump Squats: Stand to the left of the first square of the ladder, feet shoulder-width apart. Lower nearly into a squat, then drive through heels to pop off ground and jump into the ladder square diagonally in front of feet. Immediately pop off the ground again to jump to the right side of that ladder square.
Upper Body Agility Ladder Drills
Lateral Push up hops: staying on one side of the ladder, each hand in separate boxes, pushup and hop sideways until your hands are each in one box over.
Plank Jacks: With your feet in the first box, get into a plank position with your hands in the box your shoulders are over. (For me it is box number 4). Jump your hands and feet outside their respective boxes, do one push up, then jump them back into the next box forward in the starting position. Make sure you keep your core nice and tight for this one.
Traveling Lateral Mountain Climbers: With your hands in one box each while you are looking at the left rail of the agility ladder in a plank position. To start, move your feet to the left, your left leg will be out to the left straight while your left foot and knee are underneath your body. Then pop you legs to the other side, your right leg will be out straight to the right while your left foot and knee will be under your body. Move your hands to the next boxes and then bring your legs back to the left. You will move your hands the direction you are going down the ladder every time your legs are pointed in that direction. Go down the ladder and then back up the ladder to the starting position.
These Agility Ladder Drills are a great warm up to any type of workout, whether that is body building, power lifting, or a HIIT workout. They are also great as a stand alone workout.
Set a clock or timer and just do some work for 15 to 20 minutes. You put as much intensity you have and keep your breaks short you will get a great workout in! You will get your heart rate up and burn some awesome calories, while training your speed and power, and your coordination skills.
Make Your Own Agility Ladder
Great thing about agility ladder drills is that you don’t even need a ladder.
Grab your kids’ side walk chalk and make a bunch of connecting boxes in your driveway. Or use some painters tape or some masking tape on the floor in your basement. Even in your living room! If you have kids they will love it too!
An easy, efficient way of getting a good workout in with little to no equipment. And you don’t need much room to do it in.
Give these Agility Ladder Drills a try and let me know what you think!
Want some workout ideas that you can do at home or at the gym? Download my ebook!