Training Agility The Unconventional, Yet Correct Way: Pt. 2

Last week in THIS ARTICLE we touched upon how agility drills need to be performed to mimic real game, unpredictable situations and gave examples on how to do so. And this week, we’re going to look at a couple of ways that we can utilise the gym and specific resistance exercises to help improve an athlete's agility

We’re no experts on physics, but there are a few things we understand when it comes to movement and athletes. In order for them to make rapid changes in direction, they must absorb + accumulate force (of themselves and their movement), as well as overcome inertia 

And when we transfer an athlete into a gym setting, there’s a simple way to absorb force and a simple way to improve their ability to overcome inertia. But the mainstay in each is the use of unilateral exercises in both - as this mimics the fact that a lot of quick, rapid, agile movements are performed off of the single leg


Enhancing Eccentric Strength

If we’re looking to better our ability to absorb force, an easy way to train this in the gym is controlling the eccentric (lowering) portion of the lift, and rapidly firing on the concentric (effort) portion

The aim here is to remain in total control of the eccentric portion, and having them feel as fast and rapid as possible whilst performing the concentric component. Do a few sets of unilateral leg work on these, and you’ll feel for yourself how they mimic absorbing force to fire for a rapid change in direction

Improving eccentric strength is a great way to improve agility as it forces the athlete to learn how to absorbs force and overcome momentum


Overcoming Inertia

Here, we’re looking at firing from a dead-stop, and building what is often referred to as “starting strength”. Here you simply control the eccentric portion of the movement again, but then come to a short pause (typically 1-2 seconds), before firing with everything you’ve got to get the weight moving again

In this, you take the stretch reflex and all momentum out of the movement, forcing the body/muscle to work harder to get the weight moving again - thus, overcoming inertia


Exercise Examples

As we stated earlier, unilateral exercises are best used when it comes to becoming more agile, and here are a few of our favourite exercises:

- Bulgarian Split Squat (BB or DB)
- Lunges
- Reverse Lunge
- Single Legged RDL

Hopefully, this small series has given you an insight into some “out of the box” ways to become more agile. And as always, thanks for reading

Nick Maier