Speed and agility are considered skill-related components of fitness rather than health-related, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Athletes train for speed and agility regularly as part of their training programs, but everyone can benefit from this type of training. Adding regular speed and agility workouts to your cardio routine two or three times per week can make workouts fun and challenging, while also keeping you healthy.
Resist Your Run
Resistance running is a method of training to increase speed. It can be done on a treadmill with incline, with a running parachute, with a partner and a long resistance band or even wearing a weighted vest. You can do this drill for distance or time. Resistance running involves sprinting so you should push as hard as possible with the resistance you have, giving maximum effort. On a treadmill or with a partner, time yourself. If you are on your own, set a distance so you don't have to look at a stopwatch. Put on the vest or parachute. Sprint at maximum effort for eight to 60 seconds, or 10 to 12 meters. Rest for one to four minutes between sprints and do a total of eight to 15 sprints.
Downhill running is another method of building speed and is known as gravity-assited running. You can use an outdoor area that is clear of obstacles and has a downward slope, or you can use a treadmill that has a decline feature. It is easy to pick up speed so use caution. Just like resisted running, you can do eight to 15 reps with one to four minutes of rest between bouts. Perform the downhill run for either time or distance.
Agility drills such as the shuttle run have you moving as quickly as you can with changes in direction. If you are new to agility drills start slow and gradually pick up your pace. To do the shuttle run like the one used at the University of Notre Dame, you need a flat surface clear of debris. Tape three lines on the floor, or use cones, that are 5 yards or 15 feet apart. Start at one line. Sprint to the first line, touch it and sprint back to the starting line. Touch the starting line and sprint to the furthest line. Touch it and sprint back through the starting line to finish the drill. Perform five to 10 shuttle runs with one to four minutes rest between them. Do this one to three times each week.
Use the Corners
Set up four cones so they form a square. Each cone should be about 5 yards or 15 feet apart. For this drill, face the same direction the whole time while making your way around the cones to form a square. Start at the back left corner. Sprint forward just past the cone at the top left corner. Side shuffle to your right as fast as you can and go just past the cone at the top right corner. Run backwards to the cone behind you and side shuffle left to the first cone to finish the drill. Alternate directions and do the drill eight to 15 times with one to four minutes rest between drills.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- ExRx.net: Speed, Quickness & Agility Training
- University of Notre Dame: Agility Drills "The Notre Dame Way"