What is an Agility Ladder?

Alex Paul

An agility ladder is a piece of equipment commonly used to increase the agility of an athlete. The ladder is placed on the ground where it can be used for a number of different drills and exercises. Some of these drills include the hop-scotch, in-out and tango drills. An agility ladder is often made from flexible material in order to avoid injuries caused by the athlete being tripped on the rungs.

Agility training drills help soccer players perform better in a game setting.
Agility training drills help soccer players perform better in a game setting.

When laid on the ground, the agility ladder creates a piece of exercise equipment that requires the user to quickly move his or her feet in between the rungs with precise coordination. Unlike a typical handyman's ladder, the rungs of the ladder are usually not wide or deep and are often made of rope to avoid injuries while building conditioning, agility and eye-to-foot coordination.

An agility ladder may be used in gymnastic training.
An agility ladder may be used in gymnastic training.

Agility is important for any athlete for two reasons. Firstly, the more agile an athlete is the better he or she will be able to perform while in competition. Agility helps to improve the time taken for the body to react and readjust itself to an event. An increased agility can also help to reduce common injuries that are associated with too much stress being put onto inflexible muscles.

Ladder agility drills are one of the most effective ways to improve agility, speed and coordination. They are usually performed in short bursts of high intensity in order for the athlete to achieve the best results. Using ladder drills as part of an interval training routine is a commonly used technique. It’s important, however, for the intensity and speed of a workout to be built up slowly over time in order to minimize the risk of an injury.

Drills that include an agility ladder can be intensive and stressful on certain muscles. For this reason they should never be performed when the athlete is “cold.” Instead, a thorough warm up should be performed along with stretching of the muscles that are going to be used. Although the athlete may not feel that he or she is working as hard as during other activities ladder drills are extremely stressful for the muscles.

An example of a drill that uses an agility ladder is the In-Out drill. To perform this exercise the athlete should step alternately in and out of the spaces between the ladder rungs. This should be carried out at a slow pace to begin with which is then increased once the athlete feels comfortable.

Training and exercises that increase agility as well as coordination are important for a wide range of sports. These include team sports such as soccer as well as individual sports such as gymnastics. The agility ladder is one of the most basic pieces of exercise equipment but can be effective in increasing an athlete’s performance if used regularly.

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