News : Exercises to improve agility (and elasticity)
Agility is the quality of moving with ease, skill and speed. Our muscles have an elastic force that optimizes movements to save energy. The lower the elastic force, the greater the expense when executing a movement.
With time and lack of training we lose agility, but this can be decisive in our day to day. Especially when doing a physical activity like running, and in this post we will see why. Do not miss some agility exercises that you can do in the race to improve it substantially.
Why is agility training important?
Training agility is improve our ability to respond to external stimuli. When running, for example, irregularities in the terrain, the need to change your pace or other obstacles that you need to respond to quickly will appear before you.
We are convinced of the importance of having strong muscles, that is why we dedicate time each week to strength exercises. The same should happen with agility. Examples of agility exercises are jumping, crawling, obstacle courses, balance exercises, or pursuit exercises.
It is about getting the most out of the energy that is generated from the elongation (or lengthening) of a muscle. This way you will avoid using more than necessary and that fatigue or tiredness appears earlier than expected. If you consider that your agility is not at its best, we help you identify which are the best agility exercises below.
4 Best Exercises to Improve Agility
There are many ways to implement agility-enhancing exercises, even during your regular physical activity. We leave you some examples.
1. Jumping exercises
Jumping exercises not only improve agility, but also promote the strengthening of the muscle groups involved in movement. We review some possibilities:
- From side to side. It is about completing a journey by jumping from one side to the other. You can make a mark to delimit the surface, either by placing an object (such as a broomstick), or by drawing a line with chalk.
- Side by side with one leg. It is a variant of the previous exercise in which you use only one leg in each jump, changing from left to right alternately. You will work especially hips, quadriceps and calves.
- Squat jump. As in the previous exercises, you must jump from one side to the other of the mark you have on the ground. Complete the movement with a squat between jumps before raising your body to jump again.
- Jump to the drawer. A drawer or a step will work for you, but make sure it is a stable surface so that it does not move or give way due to the impact. It is about jumping up and down and supporting both feet at the same time. You will work especially the lower body, although you can accompany with your arms.
- It matches. Jumping rope improves endurance and agility, which is why it is a common practice in other disciplines such as boxing. It supports many variants: with both feet together, with one leg, with the other, faster, slower, etc.
2. Crawling exercises
When you do crawling exercises, you move your limbs in a coordinated way. If you add the speed parameter, you will improve agility. Some exercises that you can do are the following, and you should do them as fast as possible:
- Bird dog. The “bird-dog” is an excellent exercise to start the routine. Get into quadruped and, from that position, alternately lift one arm and the opposite leg. You must do controlled extensions.
- Baby crawling. It is a basic exercise, because it only consists of taking steps while in quadruped. That is, completing a course using the four points of contact: both hands and both knees.
- Bear crawl. It is similar to the previous exercise, but instead of supporting your knees, you support the balls of your feet. With them you will take the necessary momentum to move, keeping your buttocks elevated.
- Lizard crawling. It develops like the crawling of the bear because the points of contact are also hands and feet. The difference is that, instead of keeping your glutes elevated, you must lower them to have your body as aligned as possible.
3. Balance exercises
Balance, coordination and agility are closely related qualities, and in some of the exercises already discussed you exercise all three. As is proprioception, the communication between the Central Nervous System, the muscles, the ligaments and the skeleton.
By performing proper proprioception training, as you can see in this video, our body can learn to act more quickly and efficiently in situations that can cause us serious injuries.
- Foot on opposite knee. Stand upright and barefoot on a non-slip mat, with your legs spread shoulder-width apart. Bring one foot to the opposite knee and try to balance for about 10 seconds. If you can’t, try again until you succeed. Extending your hands at chest level in front of you will help.
- Heel raise. This exercise consists of standing on tiptoe. Do reps and hold the lift for about 10 seconds.
- Knee touches with the opposite hand. You should also be standing, and with your arms extended on both sides of the body (in the cross). Raise one knee and touch it with the palm of your opposite hand, then repeat with the other.
For these exercises, you should control your breathing well: inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, coordinating with the movements you are doing.
Crossfit fever is more than just a fad. This training method increases endurance, strengthens muscles and improves psychomotor skills, among other benefits. Exercises such as squats or jumps are common in crossfit and will help you improve agility, but you can try these others:
- Pushups. The basic push-ups consist of doing elbow push-ups from the high plank: balls of the feet and hands resting on the ground, separated beyond the width of the shoulders. But there are variants like the diamond push-ups in which the fingers of the hands touch.
- Burpees. They are quite demanding, so you have to have a certain form. In the basics, the sequence is this: bend your knees, place your hands on the floor, bring your feet back, and complete a bend with your elbows. Stand up and jump up before repeating the sequence again.
Other exercises with agility ladder
The agility ladder is a training accessory with different measures, for example, six meters in length. It is made with textiles and / or plastics and has a rectangular shape, with partitions like steps on the inner body.
If you are looking for agility exercises to do at home, the ladder is an excellent option and you can easily find it for less than 15 euros.
Its possibilities are practically limitless, and what it is about is complete sequences in the shortest possible time. Find space and get to it.
- Online. Walk the ladder linearly, putting both feet on each rung.
- Three in one. Three taps with the balls of the feet on each rung.
- Side. Walk the ladder sideways, leading to each rung first and one foot and then another.
- Side in and out. In this case, you start the side tour off the ladder. As you complete it, you must put your feet on each step, first one and then the other, and come out again to go to the next one.
- Jumps in and out. It is about going up the ladder by jumping: in one you will place your feet outside the steps, and in another you will put them together inside the step. So on until completing the full race.
- Jumps in and out with squats. It is a variant of the previous exercise. When you spread your legs to get your feet off the ladder, lower yourself into a squat to add intensity.
- In and out with waist twist. You will also go up the steps by jumping, while turning your waist to one side and to the other alternately.
- Crossed in and out. Walk the ladder entering and exiting each rung, on one side and the other, turning on each one.
However, training agility is important to optimize the energy used in each movement and delay the onset of fatigue or tiredness. As with strength exercises, with agility exercises you will acquire a form that you will notice both in sports practice and in your day-to-day life.