There's never a bad time of year to get in a workout—so how can you shake off some stiffness and soreness and get your agility back to its optimum state? Furthermore, what is "agility?" Agility is the ability to move your body quickly, easily and with control and balance. (In other words, it's something we all strive for in our health and fitness.)
Here are a few exercises you can do solo that help to improve your agility.
Jumping Rope (Control)
Jumping rope is more than just a playground activity for kids. (Though that's also a great excuse to improve agility in the whole family.) It's also a part of the regimens of professional athletes in the fields of boxing, basketball and football. It's a fantastic way to strengthen your balance, speed and overall control. In addition, it helps build up your stamina and works to power up the muscles in your legs.
Ladder Running (Precision)
To really get your blood pumping, one of the best things you can do is incorporate full body movement. If you have access to a rope ladder, you're in luck—lay it down on the floor in an area with plenty of wiggle room and run the spaces between the rungs like you would a tire drill. Pump your arms while you move, and add in modifications for extra credit, such as bringing your knee to your chest on each leg bend.
Cutting & Skaters (Balance)
If you're looking for a good calorie-burner that doubles as an agility enhancer, try out speed skating (without the ice). Pick an area with some room to spread out and move as a speed skater does, from side to side, crossing your leg in the back as you reach each side. Just make sure to establish your cutting mechanics first - check out our demo below on how to ease into skater hops.
Shuttle Run (Speed)
It's a classic drill you'll probably remember from fitness tests in school, but it still can be a potent way to build your agility as an adult. Place "start" and "finish" objects in an area where you can spread out and run some sprints. Run back and forth between your items, and increase the distance between the items each time you run the drill. If you're on a bike path or running trail, you can even assign landmarks on the path as your "markers" and perform your back-and-forth agility exercise out in nature. Check out the demonstration below for drilling a shuttle run - in this case, using yard lines.
Cone Drill (Speed)
One of the best ways to build agility is to force yourself to make directional and pace changes in a rapid-fire setting. Set up some cones in a triangle or rectangle and sprint from cone to cone. As you reach a new cone, try a different style of sprinting, such as high knees, tuck jumps, side shuffles, etc. Vary up your routine, and it will (literally) keep you on your toes. Check out the demo below to see how it works in practice - you can even try diagonals to add another challenge element.