You know the importance of weight training, cardio workouts, and stretching, but how often do you think about improving your agility? Agility is the ability to move quickly on your feet, and incorporating this kind of training into your workout routine can help improve your speed, strengthen your lower body, and reduce your risk of injury. Plus — like high-intensity interval training — it seriously ups your calorie burn, thanks to all the extra muscles it calls into play.
Another serious benefit: Agility training is fun. That’s probably why you see so many athletes and Instagram trainers—like Lita Lewis, a certified trainer and U by Kotex Fitness partner—posting their coordination work, using tools like cones and ladders, on social media. “I love agility training because it provides a healthy balance to my weight training,” Lewis says. “It’s functional movement that lets me move my body like a real athlete.
Even if you’re not gunning to be the next Serena Williams or Abby Wambach, you can reap the rewards of agility training. “Agility ladder workouts are great for targeting the lower body, specifically fast-twitch muscles. You’ll develop strength and endurance in your hamstrings and hip flexors as well as improve joint flexibility,” Lewis says.
Here, Lewis pulls together 10 agility exercises for a circuit workout that will fire up your lower body, skyrocket your heart rate, and seriously make you sweat (that’s a good thing!). The best part? You’ll be able to check “work out” off your to-do list in under 45 minutes.
How to use this list: You’ll need an agility ladder (which you can find on Amazon for less than $15). Perform each move for 60 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds between moves. Once you finish all 10 exercises, rest for 2-3 minutes, then repeat the circuit two more times for a total of 3 sets.
1. Lateral Jumps With Agility Ladder
2. Two Jumps Forward, One Jump Back
3. Squat Out / Hop In
4. Single-Leg Forward Hop
Stand in front of the ladder. Lift left foot off the ground then hop forward through the squares on the right foot. At the end of the ladder, run backward to the start and repeat. Do 30 seconds on one side, then switch.
5. Lateral Lunges
6. Side-Step Toe Touches
7. Skaters With Toe-Tap In Box
8. Plank Jacks
9. Wide to Narrow Push-Ups on Knees
10. Quick Feet
Stand to the right of the ladder, knees slightly bent and torso hinged forward. Tap left foot into ladder square, then bring it to meet the right foot, taking a quick step forward with the right foot. Continue moving forward. At the end of the ladder, run to the start and repeat. Perform 30 seconds on one side, then switch directions to tap right foot into the ladder squares.