Agility refers to your ability to change positions quickly, using quick, controlled movements. If you're an athlete, this skill will clearly give you an advantage over your competitors, and it's commonly used in the military to improve combat performance and general fitness. However even non-athletes and civilians can benefit from agility training. For starters, agility training is fun. Agility workouts are fast-paced and constantly changing. They keep actively engaged in both mind and body, providing an exciting workout you'll actually look forward to.
Further, agility training helps to improve your functional movements, which are those you need to get through the day. It improves the rate at which your muscles contract, which otherwise tends to decline as you age. It also improves your balance, including dynamic balance (or balance while you're in motion), and enhances your natural reflexes so you'll react with a renewed swiftness.
Such movements help to strengthen your joints, ligaments, and tendons while improving coordination and focus. It also provides a workout for your heart. Will Elson, personal training manager at New York Health and Racquet Club in New York City told Reuters.
"It boosts cardio with fast foot strikes and knee lifts, while incorporating balance and joint stability… It also has the benefits of working on coordination. And it's fun in a confined space."
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research even found that agility training is effective as or more effective than traditional military physical training at enhancing physical fitness. In addition, agility training had the added benefit of improving cognitive performance as well, including memory and vigilance. Elson continued:
"It's a great exercise to force someone to focus, to learn a movement pattern and be able to execute it without looking down… The body is learning something new."
There are many different forms of agility training, but one of my favorite is the agility ladder. It provides a platform for virtually unlimited movements to work your entire body. An agility ladder is an inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that you can roll out on any flat surface. If you're just starting out, you may simply walk through the ladder, but as you become more advanced you can progress through sideways shuffles, skipping rungs and much more.
Here’s a very popular example of the said equipment
Increase Your Speed and Move Easier by Working-Out with Agility Ladder/Pro Ladder.
The Pro Ladder will improve lateral speed and directional agility while enhancing balance. The 11 rung ladder comes with 4 steel grass spikes to secure the Pro Ladder on the grass and minimize tangles during training. Ladder drills are an excellent way to improve foot speed, agility, coordination and quickness. These drills can be done at any fitness level, especially for kids programs because it is a fun way to exercise. If you're looking to improve your footwork and quickness, an agility ladder is a simple and effective piece of equipment.