Agility is a skill you may want to improve, especially if you're looking to fine tune your athletic skills or if you're an athlete. Being agile means that you can move quickly, stop quickly and change direction on a dime. If you want to be more agile, there are a variety of exercises you can incorporate to help strengthen your skills. Both strength training exercises (like bodyweight exercises) and aerobic exercises can help you move more quickly and easily. Start to incorporate more agility training exercises into your workout routine so that you can become better coordinated and perform better in sports which require agility, such as beach volley ball, tennis or hockey.
Part One of Three:
Using Resistance Training to Build Agility Performance
1Try clapping push-ups. If you can already do several regular push-ups, you can try challenging yourself with clapping push-ups. These require you to coordinate your upper body and be quick enough in your movements to allow you to clap in between push-ups.
- Get down on the floor on a fitness mat or carpeted floor. This will make it more comfortable on your hands and wrists.
- Place your hands with palms flat on the floor. Your arms should be shoulder-width apart. Extend your legs all the way behind you and keep them in a straight line.
- Bend your elbows out away from your body. Lower your body down (keeping your core engaged and straight) until your nose is just a few inches away from the floor.
- Push back up with as much force as you can. Your goal is to propel your upper body into the air.
- As soon as your hands leave the ground, bring them together in front of your chest and clap.
- Land back down on the floor in the starting position — with palms flat on the floor and arms about shoulder-width apart. Repeat as many times as you're able.
2Do box jumps. An exercise that requires strength and precision is box jumps. This exercise will help build muscular strength and also train your leg muscles to be more agile over time.
- To start this exercise, find a very sturdy and heavy-duty box to use. Start with a low box, about 4 inches above ground level, then work up gradually to higher boxes. You might start this by jumping up to the curb and back. Other options include a plyo-box, a fitness box made specifically for this exercise — it's heavy-duty and won't slide on the floor. You can also use a sturdy bench, the side of a low wall or a sturdy crate.
- Stand 1-2 inches (5.1 cm) in front the box. The tip of your sneakers should be very close to the box.
- Squat far down, so your thighs go past being parallel to the floor. Push yourself up forcefully. Swing your arms up to help use momentum to propel yourself off the floor.
- Land gently on top of the box. Step or gently jump down off the top of the box and repeat this exercise as many times as you can.
3Try burpees. Another good bodyweight exercise to include is burpees. This exercise requires you to be fast, coordinated and agile. Practicing burpees more regularly can help improve your overall agility.
- To start a burpee, get yourself into a squat position. Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your toes pointing out away from your body.
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Place your hands on the floor just in front of your knees.
- Jump your legs straight back behind you so you're in a push-up position. Complete one push-up.
- Immediately jump your feet back up towards your hands. Bring your torso straight up so you're in a squat position again.
- Lastly, jump up with both feet as high as you can. When your feet hit the ground again, lower down into a squat position and begin another burpee exercise. Do as many as you can.
4Do medicine ball throws. One bodyweight exercise to try is medicine ball throws. Although not solely a bodyweight exercise, this requires you to coordinate your legs, feet, arms and eye-hand coordination.
- Stand a few feet away from a very sturdy wall. The side of a building or a concrete wall is a good idea. Bend your knees slightly so you're almost in a squat-type stance.
- Grab an appropriately weighted medicine ball. It shouldn't be so heavy you cannot throw it or catch it, but still should provide some resistance.
- Use a chest press pass to throw the ball at the wall. This type of pass requires you to hold the medicine ball at chest-height and forcefully push the ball at the wall.
- As the ball bounces off the wall and back towards your body, reach out at chest-height to grab the ball and bring it back towards your chest.
- As you catch the ball, shuffle one step to the right. While you shuffle, push the medicine ball back towards the wall.
- Repeat this motion, shuffling as fast as you can. Go a few steps to the right (or as long as the wall allows) and then go back to the left side.
Part Two of Three:
Improving Agility with Aerobic Exercises
1Start doing ladder drills. There are several types of ladder drills. All versions help with foot-eye coordination, quickness and overall agility. Incorporate a variety of these drills into your workouts to help improve your agility.
- There are a few types of ladders that you can use for these drills. You can buy a ladder designed for agility training or even make your own ladder by spray painting the grass or laying out wooden dowels on the grass.
- You can try doing side shuffles. Place both feet in the first box of the ladder. Step your right foot out into the next box. A fast as you can keep shuffling your feet together and then stepping to the side for the next box.
- Do high knee jumps with the ladder. Run through the ladder only allowing one foot in each box. As you run, lift your knees up to your chest.
- You can also go through a ladder drill on your hands. Get down into a push-up position with your hands in two adjacent boxes. Shuffle your body down the ladder with your hands.
2Do suicide runs. These are great aerobic exercise to improve your agility. Suicide runs require you to sprint as fast as you can, stop on a dime, and change direction quickly.
- To start this drill, set up your course. Place four markers on the ground (like a cone or bean bag) evenly spaced apart. One marker will be your starting point. Then place the second marker about 20 feet (6 m) away from the starting point, followed by the third and fourth markers.
- Starting at the beginning marker, sprint to the second marker. Squat down to touch the marker with your hand. Then turn around and sprint back towards the starting marker.
- Squat down to touch the starting marker and then turn around and run to the third marker. Again, squat down to touch the marker and then sprint back towards the beginning marker. Repeat this action with the fourth and final marker.
- Do as many suicide drills as you can. You may only be able to do a few since you're sprinting the entire time.
3Jump rope. Another great aerobic exercise to try is jumping rope. Grab a jump rope and incorporate a few of these exercises to help improve your overall agility.
- To start, just jump rope normally. Turn the jump rope so it's passing under your feet just one time. Once you've mastered that, see if you could do the "double under" where you swing the rope under your feet twice before landing.
- Another variation you can try is crisscrossing the rope in front of you. After each jump, crisscross your arms in front of you.
- Also try combining both the double under and crisscross variations together. This is a much more advanced skill and will take practice to master.
4Try a dance or aerobics class. Although there are a variety of individual exercises that can help improve agility, there are some group or class exercises that will help as well.
- Studies have shown that dance classes (like Zumba) and aerobics classes can help improve your agility.
- Both of these types of classes require you to memorize a fairly intricate step or dance routine. Your arms will be moving in a different direction than your feet.
- In addition, the moves are done quickly and in a sequential pattern.
- Over time, participating in these classes can improve not only your physical agility, but also your mental agility as well.
Part Three of Three:
Improving Agility Through Exercise Games
1Use an agility ball. A fun way to improve your agility is by playing with an agility ball. These little balls aren't a sphere. They're flatted on a few sides so that when thrown against a hard surface (like a wall or floor) they will bounce in varying directions.
- Look for agility balls online or a fitness store. They'll last a long time, so you won't need to buy more than one.
- Stand about 10 feet (3 m) away from a sturdy wall or the side of a building. Make sure there's a lot of free area to your left and right sides and behind you as well. You don't want to run into objects as you chase the agility ball.
- Throw the ball against the wall and try to move quick enough to catch the ball before it hits the ground. Catch the ball with both hands.
- As you improve, you can progress to trying to catch the ball with only one hand.
2Try balloon drills. Another fun drill to try (even with small kids) is a balloon drill. Using two different colored balloons, try to keep them in the air and continuously hit them up.
- To start, fill up two different colored balloons — like a red and blue balloon. Do not use helium. You want these balloons to naturally fall back towards the ground instead of rising upwards and floating away.
- Bring both balloons either into a large empty room or play this game outdoors where there is a lot of free space. You don't want to run into any objects.
- Pick an order of which to hit the balloons. For example, hit the red one up first, followed by the blue balloon.
- Keep hitting the balloons, in the decided order, up into the air. Try not to let them touch the ground.
3Play hopscotch. A great childhood game that's fun to play and will also improve your agility is hopscotch. Grab some sidewalk chalk and sketch out a series of boxes to be your course.
- Each box should be about twice the size of your feet — about 2 feet on each side.
- To get warmed up, go through the course normally. Hopping on one foot through each of the single squares and using two feet in the double squares.
- If you want, repeat the course just using one leg. Be sure to jump into each square. Switch sides and jump on the other leg.
4Make your own agility course. Something else that could be fun is making your own agility course at home. Get together with family or friends to make a competition out of a variety of agility exercises.
- Find a wide open space to set up your course. It could be your backyard or an empty field. Also get together any necessary materials — like an agility ladder, cones or plyo-boxes.
- To set up your course, think of a series of a few agility exercises. You can try a series like: 10 jumps on a plyo-box, 60 seconds of double under jump rope, side shuffles through a ladder and ending with medicine ball throws.
- Time yourself to see how fast you go through. As you practice and get better, your time will get faster and faster.
5Play a game of . Get together with a bunch of friends for a game of dodgeball. There's no better way to show off your agility than having to jump, dodge or run from a ball.
- Get together a team of 10 – 12 people. Divide everyone evenly into two teams.
- Divide your field in half using a long piece of masking tape or using a sporting court or field (like a basketball court) as your play area.
- Also place at least three to five balls (you can use kick balls or another softer ball) on each side of the court.
- The goal is to try to hit the other side's players while dodging and avoiding the balls coming towards you. The side who has the last person standing wins.
- To improve your agility, you should ideally do a combination of both strength training and aerobic activity during the week.
- Also, training harder or longer doesn't necessarily improve agility. It's the type of exercise and the quality that helps the most.
- Track your progress as you incorporate more agility training. Over time, you can advance to more difficult exercises to see further improvements.