This is Alex the Champion of speed and agility. His background is in Ice Hockey. So speed and agility is a big focus point in his training as it helps to give him an edge on the ice.
Alex spends a lot of time looking into new ways to improve both of these areas and the background behind them both. He is going to give you a brief insight into his knowledge and hopes that it will improve your training as well. If you have any questions about what you read and want to know more detail, or want his help with some of the areas, feel free to approach him as he is more than happy to help.
Speed and agility training in sport gives an athlete an edge on his/her competition. The great news is that it can all be learned through technique training, proper drills, and hard work. If you’re wanting and willing to get faster and more agile, it is possible.
So now, I’m going to help you learn briefly about improving your speed and agility through training. You will learn several different speed and agility improvement training drills and exercises that will enable you to reach new levels in your sport and training.
A huge part of speed and agility training is acceleration, it is important to train and strengthen the posterior chain of the body—glutes, hamstrings, lower back, mid-back, and even the calves & feet. Some of the most effective methods and strength exercises to improve acceleration include: Sled Drags & Sled Pulls, Tire Flips and Romanian Deadlifts, Calf Raises (Double & Single Leg)
Some of the best exercises and methods to improve acceleration and top end speed include: Uphill running, High speed treadmill
Best Strength Exercises to Improve Overall Speed: Squats (2 legged & 1 legged) and lunges, Plyometrics, Olympic Lifts
Drive Phase: Your initial 8 -10 steps are considered your drive phase. Drive the foot into the ground and explode powerfully backwards to create maximum force. Drive your elbows backwards and keep your head down.
Acceleration Phase: In this phase, you want to think “powerful.” The acceleration phase (0-30 yards) is associated with a higher stride frequency then at maximum speed, focus on leg drive.
Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change directions as quickly as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. Closely related to balance, being able to move forward, backwards, left, & right
Quickness is the ability to react to a stimulus in the environment in the shortest amount of time possible (a whistle, clap, defender, etc.) Closely related to reaction time, could be foot quickness or hand-eye quickness
Drills to Influence Agility & Quickness: Line Drills—runs back & forth, front hops, side hops, 1-leg lateral hops & front hops, Mirror and Cone Drills (cone circles, box drill), Agility Ladder drills (1 foot in each rung, sideways 2 feet in each run, NFL crossover drills)
Furthermore, if you are needing to increase your agility and quickness, you can use the same exercises to improve your speed. Due to the fact that agility often is lateral quickness, it is imperative that the groins & hips are adequately worked also. The following exercises will augment the strength exercises found in the speed & acceleration section: Diagonal and side lunges, Slide Board, Lateral Band Walks
If an athlete really wants to reach full potential, they must be able to convert their strength into power.
Ways to improve power: Olympic lifting, Plyometrics, Strength training with speed component
I am going to concentrate on plyometrics to improve power as they also work into improving agility. Plyometrics is a system of hopping, skipping, jumping, or running that works on developing explosive power. Plyometrics are exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible.
Benefits of plyometrics: Improves power & elasticity, improves anaerobic conditioning, Develops fast twitch muscle fibre!!!
Rules of plyometrics: Perform on soft surface, Land softly, be attentive to form & technique
Basic Categories of Lower Body Plyometric Exercises:
Jumping—taking off on one or two feet; landing on 2 feet (squat jumps, tuck jumps) Hopping—taking off on one foot and landing on same foot (single leg hopping over line) Bounding—taking off on one foot and landing on other foot (alternate leg bounds)
Levels of Plyometrics:
Beginning: Line jumps, Squat and tuck jumps, Skater plyos
Moderate: Box jumps, Lateral box jumps, 1 legged jumps (front & lateral)
Advanced: Depth Jumps, incorporate single leg movements, use weight or increase heights
By Alex Mcveigh