Agility is one of those head-scratching terms. You've heard it tossed around, couched somewhere between strength and speed, but you’re not quite sure what it means or why it matters.
It's time to break down the buzzword, explain its importance and find out how to best implement it into your routine.
What is Agility?
You don’t have to be Serena Williams on the court—ready to switch the direction of your backhand and distance from the net at a moment's notice—to benefit from agility. Agility, put simply, is the ability to decelerate, accelerate and change direction while maintaining control. It helps you keep your balance, strength, speed and body control.
On the tennis court, good agility means a faster response time and a better performance. Off the court, it means improved functional movements and enhanced natural reflexes. And if that’s not enough, agility training has even been shown to improve cognitive performance.
How Do You Improve Agility?
Improving balance (both static and dynamic), strength and coordination all help to improve agility. One of the best things about agility training is that you can make it your own. When done intensely, and with only short bursts of rest, agility training can be its own HIIT workout. If you have something else planned for your training session, starting with a few agility-based movements could make for a dynamic warm-up.
Try integrating the exercises below into your training schedule for a functional training boost.
1. Ladder Drills
A great place to start is with the agility ladder. This simple—and portable—piece of equipment takes fancy footwork to a new level. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), drills done on a 10-yard long ladder separated by rungs into 16" squares help boost quickness, foot speed, coordination and body awareness. So, once you’ve laid out the ladder, where do you start?