Many athletes and fitness fanatics who wish to become quick and more agile often use speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) equipment such as ladders. These serve their purpose when it comes to teaching younger athletes some co-ordination skills or to “switch on” an athlete mentally during a warm up. But do you get faster?
No, you simply get better at performing ladder drills. Along with having good reflexes, an athlete needs to be able to change direction at a rapid pace as well as being able to absorb force and overcome inertia.
Focusing on the eccentric (downward) or isometric (pause at the bottom) portion of a lift have shown to improve the concentric (power) portions of compound lifts. I first came across this concept from physical preparation coach William Wayland, from Powering Through. He provides a lot of content in regards to this style of training. His thoughts are also echoed by renowned strength coach Joe De Franco.
Enhancing an athlete’s eccentric strength will see them become better at absorbing more force while decelerating and enhances their isometric strength ability to beat inertia.
So, ditch the Strictly Come Dancing moves on a ladder and focus on good quality reps with compound movements in order to become more agile.