Whether you're an athlete looking to improve in your sport or someone who wants to become faster and more flexible in your workouts, speed and agility training is an important part of fitness you should work on. By improving these components, you benefit from injury prevention, better recovery time, improved body awareness, overall athleticism, cognitive function and more. Needless to say, using the right equipment will develop your speed and agility more effectively.
In this article, we'll explore the essential speed and agility training equipment needed to improve your performance.
What is speed and agility training?
Speed and agility training is an integral component of physical preparation for athletes. Its primary purpose is to enable them to move quickly and efficiently in their sport. It involves workouts specifically designed to improve speed, explosiveness, coordination, reaction time, footwork and balance. Speed and agility training can also be used to develop better control over your body movement.
How do you train for speed and agility?
Training your speed and agility is very advantageous for athletes, gym rats and average joes alike but it requires a strong commitment. To train, everyone should start their focus on exercises and drills that targets their needs. Such drills and exercises include sprints to improve maximal velocity, hops for explosiveness, various change-of-direction drills for agility and plyometric jumps for power. As with every workout, these exercises should be preceded by basic warm-ups and stretches to get your heart and blood flow going and reduce the risk of injury. This will also increase flexibility in your muscles which will help immensely during your drills. With enough dedication and consistency, you'll notice results sooner than you think!
Best equipment for speed and agility training
To boost your agility and speed to the next level, training with the right equipment is needed to exponentially maximise your performance.
That being said, here's a list of the best equipment to utilise for speed and agility training.
A great tool for core conditioning, training with a medicine ball can help with building your acceleration.
Start by selecting the right weight that's suitable for you. Afterwards, take an athlete stance, apply force against the ball by throwing it and once the ball is gone, proceed with an explosive sprint. This will not only help with acceleration but with your reaction time as well.
A common equipment for building speed and agility, performing drills with a speed ladder will help improve your footwork, speed work, coordination and body awareness. It's also an effective way to strengthen your joints.
Lay the ladder flat on the floor and adjust the rung length. With your back straight and chest up, step through each square one foot at a time and pick up your feet and knees as rapidly as possible. After reaching the end of the ladder, repeat the same action in the reverse direction.
Versatile, inexpensive and easily portable, there are a lot of exercises that can be done with a resistance band, such as hip flexion, punching drills, broad jumps, knee sprints and much more. Including a band in your drills adds resistance to your range of motion which helps build up your muscular strength, balance and explosiveness.
Where you place your resistance band depends on which workout you're doing, so you can loop them around your arms, legs or hips and secure it by either standing on the loose end and pulling against the resistance or looping it around a sturdy anchor point like a door, handrail, tree, beam, metal pole or even your workout partner!
The classic skipping rope is an excellent way to train your footwork, conditioning and speed. Just like the resistance band, a skipping rope is also very versatile as you can perform various workouts with them, including high knee steps, single leg jumps, criss-cross, side-to-side jumps, Ali shuffles and much more.
Using a skipping rope takes time and practice before you get used to the rhythm and timing. To start with the fundamentals, hold the rope and make sure your hands are on the hip level and your arms are the same distance apart. Afterwards, swing the rope by rotating your wrist and jump at the right time. Remember to keep your shoulders and elbows down and make sure you’re only using your wrist to rotate.
Cone drills are a fantastic addition to your training as they are a great way to boost your coordination, change of direction, acceleration and body positioning. Not only are they great for warm-ups, but their use can apply to full-blown workouts too!
Training cones are meant to be obstacles for your workout. Based on your drill, place the cones apart at the appropriate distance on the floor and either sprint, skip or step from one marker to the next at a fast pace.
Although you can still improve your speed and agility without equipment, applying them in your routine is without a doubt a great asset to improve these components and your overall sporting performance. Whether you're a pro or a beginner, these basic equipment are going to help you reach your speed and agility goals faster and safer!