Ladder drills are helpful for your personal fitness because they strengthen your foot speed, agility, and general speed. Agility drills are used to help athletes improve their ability to change direction while they are in motion, so they can turn around when their opponents are preparing to tackle them or steal the ball. Non-athletes might practice these drills as a way to work on their balance, quickness, hip mobility and coordination, etc.
Adding Agility Ladder Drills to Your Workout
Many different sports practice agility ladder drills to keep their athletes on their toes – figuratively – as they also help with your form, as opposed to jacking up your cardio and leaving you tired. It’s a drill that helps your coordination, increases blood flow, and your mind-body connection, so work on these drills after your warm-up. You’ll be fresh enough afterwards to continue on to any strength or endurance exercises. There are different types of drills you can use a ladder to improve your sprightliness, like the hop-scotch drill, in-out drill, lateral feet drill, or tango drill.
Ladder drills may seem straightforward, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Like with any other exercise, there is a proper form and posture you should maintain to get the full benefits of the workout. For instance, you should be pushing off from the balls of your feet and not the toes. Keep your arms relaxed from shoulders to hands while you keep your elbow at 90 degrees. Try to keep your head still, and pump your hands from your chest to your hips as you go. You can practice “dummy runs” and make sure you have your form correct before you start performing for speed. The agility ladder is heralded as the best agility training equipment to help athletes learn complex patterns for their footwork.
Using Agility For A Mental Boost
A new study has even found that ladder drills can boost your cognitive performance. The study split military personal into two groups. One group focused on physical training like jogging, and the other group focused on agility training with ladders drills and shuttle runs. While the jogging group saw an improvement in their endurance after six weeks, the agility group improved their Vo2 max (the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume during exercise), memory, concentration, and athletic footwork. While jogging and jumping jacks work your body, the practices that worked on dexterity required balance, coordination, as well as learning and focus. More regions of the brain had to work together to get the job done.
Ladder drills are also helpful as a warm-up and as an extra cardio challenge in your routine. If you’re feeling burned out by your same old routine, adding agility exercises like the ladder drill can help keep your mind active as you strive to meet your fitness goals. On the days you focus on strength training, add in a few ladder drills and you’ll see the benefits. If you don’t buy a ladder, you can use objects from around the house to jump over, or use electrical tape or chalk lines on your driveway.