Agility Ladder Drills (10 Workouts For Sports Training)

If you’re looking to increase your agility, the agility ladder is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can use.  

It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or an advanced athlete looking to perfect their game; the agility ladder is excellent.  

In this article, you’ll discover 10 of the best agility ladder drills you can do to improve your speed, agility, and quickness.  

1. One Step 

The one-step, also known as the "forward step," is one of the simplest ladder drills for agility. It involves you placing one foot at a time inside each box as you're traveling forward.  

There are multiple progressions for this agility ladder workout; the next stage is to place both feet inside the box before moving forward. You can also travel forwards and backwards for added difficulty.  

This agility ladder drill focuses heavily on footwork and coordination and is one of the best agility ladder drills for runners. It helps you coordinate your arms movements with your feet while traveling across a set distance.  

When performing this agility ladder workout, it’s essential to focus on perfecting the movement first rather than aiming for speed; speed will come with time. 

How to do it: 

  • Stand at the foot of the ladder and place one foot in the first box.  
  • Lift the opposite leg and place it next to the other. 
  • As that leg enters the box, the other leg leaves and moves forward.  
  • Repeat this process until you’ve completed the ladder. 
One Step

2. Side Step 

This agility drill is similar to the one mentioned above; however, rather than moving forward, you’re moving sideways. The side step trains your movement along the lateral plane, helping you coordinate your movements left and right.  

This is one of the best agility drills for tennis players as they spend much of the tennis match tracking side to side.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand side onto the ladder.  
  • Place your right foot in the first box.  
  • Lift your left leg and place it in the first box with your right leg.  
  • As your left leg enters the box, put your right foot in the second box.  
  • Repeat until you reach the end of the ladder.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip: Be sure to head back to the start while facing the same direction; this ensures you work both sides equally.

Side Step

3. Crossover 

The crossover agility ladder drill is a brilliant variation you can add to your training if you participate in sports such as football, soccer, boxing, and even baseball.  

It involves running sideways, crossing your feet over each other as you work your way along the ladder. Doing so helps improve your lateral quickness, which helps during sports where lateral tracking is involved.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand side onto the ladder.  
  • Place your right foot in the first box and bring your left foot in front and across.  
  • Repeat the movement until you reach the end of the ladder.  
  • Work the opposite side by heading back to the start.  
Crossover

4. Walking Push Up Ladder 

The walking push up is an agility ladder drill with a difference; it uses your entire body.  

The walking push-up ladder helps you develop your hand and feet coordination as they need to work in conjunction with each other to complete the drill.  

This exercise is perfect for combat-based sports such as boxing or mixed martial arts as they combine strength and agility; both attributes are needed for these sports.  

How to do it: 

  • Place yourself in the push-up position with a hand placed in boxes one and two of the ladder. 
  • Perform a push-up and at the top of the movement, walk your hands over to the next box.  
  • Repeat this movement until you reach the end of the ladder.  
  • Head back to the start while working the opposite side. 

Related Article - Push Up Bar Workouts

Walking Push Up Ladder

5. Jumping Jack Feet  

This drill will be pretty familiar to you if you used to play hopscotch in the local park as a kid.  

It involves taking both feet in and out of the ladder simultaneously while traveling forward along the ladder. It's a simple movement and is one of the best beginner agility ladder drills.  

It’s also one of the best agility ladder drills for soccer, which involves having to move your feet quickly to block a football.  

How to do it: 

  • Using both feet, jump into the first box.  
  • Next, jump to the outside of box two with both feet landing on either side of the ladder.  
  • Jump into the next box using both feet.  
  • Repeat these steps until you've traveled along the entire ladder.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip: Both feet should land simultaneously during every jump.  

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Jumping Jack Feet

6. Centipede 

The centipede is another advanced agility ladder drill that beginners might struggle to grasp. It involves moving in and out of the ladder while going sideways in the “2 in, 2 over, 2 out” count.  

I’ve found this advanced agility ladder drill is an excellent cardio workout and helps you burn a shed load of calories, aiding weight loss.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand facing the side of the agility ladder. 
  • Step in with both feet. 
  • Move across one box with both feet.  
  • Step out with both feet. 
  • Step back inside with both feet. 
  • Repeat this movement pattern.  
  • Head back the opposite way once you reach the end of the ladder. 
Centipede agility ladder drill

7. Single Foot Hops  

You’ve probably already guessed this one... it’s exactly how the name sounds. It involves you hopping into the boxes as quickly as possible, using only one leg at a time.  

It’s a brilliant way to train each leg iso-laterally, so there is no side moving slower than the other. It’ll also help you identify any imbalances you might have developed throughout training.  

Another benefit of performing single foot hops is that it tests your dynamic balance and lower body endurance. This is one of the best agility ladder drills for basketball, involving leaping using one leg.  

How to do it: 

  • Face the ladder while standing on your right leg. 
  • Hop into the first box with your right leg (without placing your left foot down).  
  • Hop forward into box two, remaining on your right leg.  
  • Repeat until you reach the end of the ladder.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip: Always start on your weakest side first; this will then set the pace of the training session for the opposite leg.  

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Single Foot Hops

8. Double Foot Shuffle 

This agility ladder drill is one of the more complicated on this list, making it an excellent agility ladder drill for more advanced gym-goers or athletes.  

It involves stepping forward along two ladder rungs and then stepping back one. Think of it as two steps forward, one step back.  

While it’s more complicated to perform, it’s often best to start slowly with this one and speed up the movement once you get the hang of it.  

The double foot shuffle is one of the better agility ladder drills for football, as it simulates similar foot movement patterns that you’d perform during a game. 

How to do it: 

  • Place your right foot into the first box, followed by the second.  
  • Repeat step 1 and move into box two.  
  • Step backwards with both feet back into box one. 
  • Move forward into box two and then box three.  
  • Repeat the steps above. Remember two steps forward, one step back.  
Double Foot Shuffle

9.  Lateral Hop Step 

This agility drill is similar to the single foot hops but with only one change: you hop sideways along the ladder.  

If you managed the forward single-foot hops and thought that the lateral hop step ladder drill would be a walk in the park, think again. It’s a tough challenge and will test your dynamic balance as you move along the ladder sideways.  

As this drill involves a lot of lateral movement, I’d say it’s one of the best agility ladder drills for tennis. Still, you can also argue it’s suitable for many sports such as basketball, softball, baseball, and football.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand side onto the ladder.  
  • Shift your weight to one foot and hop into the first box.  
  • Hop across into the next box without placing your other foot down.  
  • Repeat until you reach the end of the ladder and head back to the start.  
Lateral Hop Step

10. River Dance  

This advanced agility ladder drill is one of the best for martial artists and boxers. It's an extremely footwork-intensive drill that beginners might struggle to get the hang of.  

It involves crossing the feet, which is helpful during the defensive movements during a fight or sparring session. The river dance drill will increase your balance during these situations and can also improve your motor function during these situations.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand facing the side of the ladder. 
  • Step forward with your right foot, placing it inside box one.  
  • Take your left foot and step behind and across your right leg.  
  • Remove your right leg behind box two and repeat.  
  • Return to the start while working the left side.  
River Dance agility ladder

Benefits Of Agility Ladder Workouts (Do They Actually Work?) 

Adding the agility ladder to your workout has many benefits; here are some of the most beneficial ones: 

Improves heart health 

The agility ladder provides you with one of the best cardio workouts. It increases your heart rate, pumping blood around your body faster. Doing so several times a week is optimal for your heart’s health. The CDC states you should perform 150 minutes of physical activity per week; the agility ladder is an excellent way of doing this. 

Improving your heart health is one of the best ways to avoid heart disease, often linked to inactivity.  

They burn a ton of calories 

The agility ladder is a fantastic way of burning calories to aid weight loss. Using the agility ladder is classed as a type of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), which are short, intense bursts of exercise followed by a short break. It’s a helpful way of burning calories in a short amount of time.  

Improves speed, agility, and quickness 

Both professional athletes and exercise newbies can benefit from performing agility ladder drills. They help you develop speed, agility, and quickness, which are attributes you need for many sports.  

Using an agility ladder will improve your athletic performance while boosting your overall fitness levels, which will aid you when playing your favorite sports. Sports such as football, boxing, martial arts, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc 

It keeps your brain sharp 

By performing an agility ladder HIIT workout, you’re not only training your body but your mind too. Agility ladder drills keep your mind thinking and require focus, concentration, and coordination.  

They even help combat one of the hardest-hitting illnesses, Alzheimer's disease. A 2008 study showed training your balance and coordination helped retain more control in patients who didn’t participate.  

It keeps your training fun 

Even though agility ladders are tough, they’re extremely fun and can bring a new lease of life to your training.  

Introducing agility ladder drills into my client’s workouts keeps things fresh and fun. Everyone gets bored occasionally; adding agility ladder drills to your workout can help combat this.  


Frequently Asked Agility Ladder Questions 

How do you make a homemade agility ladder?  

Agility ladders come in all shapes and sizes, from roll out mats to plastic slats. However, if you don’t want to buy a readymade agility ladder, you have a few options 

The easiest option is to use chalk to mark out an agility ladder on the floor, and it’s a super-quick and inexpensive way of adding an agility ladder to your home gym.  

Or, you could make a physical version of an agility ladder using wooden or plastic slats and rope.  

Each agility ladder rung should be roughly 18 inches apart and 20 inches wide.  

How often should you do agility ladder drills? 

Agility ladder drills are a reasonably low impact on your joints and muscles, so you should be able to perform them more regularly than lifting weights.  

Ideally, I’d say you could perform the agility ladder drills 3-4 times per week, depending on how your other workouts are structured. By performing agility drills combined with strength training, you’ll be way ahead of your competition.  

How long should agility workouts be? 

When it comes to agility training, the last thing you want is for it to drag on too long. The most optimal training session should be 15-20 minutes, and this allows you to keep the training intensity high without causing too much fatigue. Agility ladders are about speed, do it too long, and you’ll slow down during the session.  

How many boxes are in an agility ladder? 

Agility ladders are available in various lengths and sizes; one of the main differences is the number of rungs on the ladder. Some agility ladders have 8 rungs, while others have 15, and I’ve found that the average agility ladder comes with 12 rungs like the F1TNERGY Speed Ladder, which is my personal favorite.


Conclusion

If you’ve been looking to up your agility while giving yourself an excellent cardio workout, the agility ladder is a fantastic piece of equipment to use.  

The list above gives you 10 of the best drills you can perform, whether you’re an agility newbie or a seasoned pro.  

Try adding some agility ladder drills to your training program and watch your agility skyrocket.  

Last Updated on June 12, 2022