One of the most difficult things about working out with the agility ladder is figuring out how to improve your performance on the ladder itself. The reason behind this is the fact that it’s so easy to think that agility can be built by just working on the agility ladder – and nothing else. That’s not the smartest way to go, since the ladder can build the reflexes you need to get agile, but you might be neglecting a lot of other factors that can improve your ladder work.
In other words, you need to complement your agility ladder training with other training. Other workouts can go a long way in helping you build the proper muscle and bone density that you need to be able to start fast, stop fast, and change directions efficiently.
Good cross training exercises help you perform agility sets on the ladder more efficiently. Not only do they complement the muscles you’re using for better movement, they also strengthen your bones so that you can withstand the wear and tear of agile movement.
One of the best ways of cross-training involves improving muscle tone. You can do this by lifting weights, with an emphasis on your leg and core. Squats are one of the most efficient weight training exercises since they work your quadriceps and your hamstrings, and passively affect your core muscles as well (since you need them for stability).
There are plenty of variations of the squat, and you can increase the difficulty simply by adding weight, or by making the exercise harder.
Other great ways for building leg muscle are weighted lunges and resistance band exercises. But if you’re not keen on packing some serious muscle, but are still interested in improving your leg strength, you can cross train with a lot of other disciplines
Some of the best workouts for building agility include aerobics and yoga. Aerobics will work the muscles you need for movement, in the same manner that agility ladder exercises work. But the emphasis will be on cardio.
However, since you’re still working the legs, it stands to reason that you will be building up on your musculature. You’ll be doing so at a much lesser degree than when you work with an agility ladder, but the benefits of improving your coordination can’t be downplayed.
Yoga, on the other hand, improves flexibility and natural muscle strength. The yoga poses rely on your natural body weight for resistance, as opposed to weights. The key here is strength and flexibility; these two are important aspects of agility, since flexibility helps greatly in improving movement. And the more flexible you are, the better your performance on the agility ladder — and on your sport of choice—will be in the long run.
In closing, it would be prudent to say that these aren’t all of the best complements to a solid agility ladder regimen. But these are some of the most basic, and the basics are great for working your way to more complex exercises. So if you’ve hit a wall on your agility ladder training, consider branching out to these, and other, disciplines. It might be the key to progressing on your agility training.