Agility refers to the ability to start, stop, and change direction quickly while maintaining proper posture. Therefore, agility training is a type of exercise training that incorporates short bursts of movement that involve changes of direction. Agility training usually incorporates exercises such as cone drills and/or ladder drills in which the exerciser has to complete different movement patterns or foot patterns fast as possible.
To count few from agility training benefits for exercise performance, we will start with the injury prevention role of this workout. Exercise injuries such as pulled muscles or back pain due to improper positions occur when our body falls out of alignment while we are in the middle of dynamic motion (i.e. jumping, running, or lifting). Agility training improves flexibility, balance, and control. Agility helps the body to maintain proper alignment and posture during movement. Additionally, agility drills encourage our body to learn how to maintain correct body placement. With proper agility training, sensitive areas such as the lower back, shoulders, and ankles are protected while moving quickly.
Agility training helps more than the muscles in your body, it can improve your cognitive performance, improve your VO2 max, athletic footwork, memory, and concentration. Agility training includes components of learning, focus, balance, and coordination. This type of training stimulates richer connections among multiple brain regions by directing them to work together. Furthermore, Agility training encourages our body to improve balance during dynamic movement. When we regularly practice hand-eye coordination, fast stops and starts, and agility speed drills, it trains our body to work as a cohesive unit. When our body is working in sync, our movements become more fluid, resulting in smooth, coordinated transitions.
How to improve your agility training?
- Continually change the context of agility drills. Challenge or change the environment or task as much as possible. You could have the athlete start in a different stance, have the opponent come from a different angle, at a different speed, from a different distance, and with different task objectives. The changes don’t have to be drastic, but continually adding little disruptions will keep learning high.
- Masterful agility is about being resourceful and able to solve the problem presented by the environment quickly. Using drills with multiple athletes working together or against one another is a great opportunity to expose athletes to hundreds of scenarios and movement problems.
- Direct the eyes. Train the eyes and brain to detect specific cues from opposing athletes and the environment. Research on eye-tracking analysis demonstrates that better players fixate longer on key body regions compared to lesser athletes. So hint at body locations, ask what they saw and perceived, and place external cues at desired locations. Flags and towels are great because they direct the eyes to the desired
- Add a cognitive component with a generic stimulus. When using colored cones, pointing fingers, or flashing lights, add a cognitive and mental processing component whenever possible.
|Take away tip
One of the most common reasons why people stop their exercise programs is because they find running or cycling in one place on a piece of equipment relatively boring and it can be hard to make the time for something that provides little-to-no actual enjoyment. However, agility training is appropriately challenging and engaging, it’s a little more exciting and becomes something you look forward to as opposed to something you dread.
Q&A: Give one benefit of agility exercise training
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