You Only Need One Piece of Gear for This Outdoor Workout — and It's Under $20

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Agility ladder drills require just one inexpensive piece of equipment you can take anywhere.
Image Credit: Wesley Hitt/Photographer's Choice RF/GettyImages

Sometimes, the best workout tools have been sitting untouched in our garages since peewee football days. One such tool: the agility ladder.

You might think: "Agility ladder? I haven't used one of those since middle school gym class."

Despite its reputation as a prop from P.E., the agility ladder provides the perfect framework for an outdoor workout that will fire up your legs and your lungs. Plus, you can easily take your agility ladder on-the-go for an outdoor workout.

One way to get a killer outdoor workout is to simply lay out an agility ladder — also called a speed ladder — in your yard and get to work!

Then, try these nine different agility ladder drills (yes, nine; it really is that versatile!) with step-by-step descriptions and demo videos or put it all together into one fiery agility ladder workout.

Linear Run

Skill Beginner
Type Cardio
  1. Walk, jog or run through the agility ladder by touching one foot in each box.
  2. When you get to the end, quickly pivot and run through the other way.

Tip

Try to minimize the amount of time that your feet are in contact with the ground — stay on the balls of your feet and avoid heel contact with the ground.

Two-Step

Skill Beginner
Type Cardio
  1. Walk, jog or run through the agility ladder by touching both feet in each box.
  2. When you get to the end, quickly pivot and run through the other way.

Tip

Pump those arms! You'll move faster through the ladder while remaining balanced. Just like the linear run, stay on your toes and minimize contact with the ground.

Single-Leg Hop

Skill Beginner
Type Strength
  1. Hop from one end of the agility ladder to the other, all on one foot. Your foot should land in each box once.
  2. When you get to the end, turn around and hop back on the other foot.

Tip

Engage your core. When hopping on one leg, your spine can become vulnerable if it isn't protected by your abs. Think about pulling your bellybutton to your spine.

Side Shuffle

Skill Beginner
Type Cardio
  1. Start standing outside of the agility ladder to the side of the first box. You should be facing the ladder's long side.
  2. Step your left foot, then your right foot, into box one.
  3. Step both feet back out while simultaneously moving to the outside of box two.
  4. Step your left and then your right foot into box two, then step both feet back while moving to the outside of box three.
  5. Continue this pattern — in, in, out, out — until you reach the end of the agility ladder.
  6. Return in the opposite direction.

Tip

Use your arms to keep your balance and maintain your speed. Bend your elbows so that your arms are at a right angle by your sides, and pump them in unison with your steps.

High Knees

Skill Beginner
Type Cardio
  1. Touch one foot to each box like in the linear run, but focus on bringing your knees up as high as you can.
  2. Focus on your breathing as you draw each knee up toward your bellybutton (or your chest if you're really flexible).

Squat Hop

Skill Intermediate
Type Strength
  1. Start by standing in front of box one with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Jump up and forward so that you land in a squat with your feet outside of box one.
  3. From the squat, jump up again and land inside of box two in a standing position.
  4. Jump and land outside of box three in a squat, then jump and land inside of box four standing.
  5. Continue alternating — squat, stand, squat, stand — until you get to the end of the ladder.

Tip

Don’t worry too much about reaching full depth on the squat. While squatting until your thighs are parallel with the ground (or below) with good form is ideal, the focus here is on speed and coordination. Modify to half or quarter squats if you need to.

Bear Crawl

Skill Intermediate
Type Strength
  1. Crouch at the start of your ladder so your hands and feet touch the ground with your hips slightly raised toward the sky.
  2. Crawl forward by moving your right foot and right hand simultaneously into box one, then your left foot and left hand into box two.
  3. Continue alternating until you reach the end of the ladder, keeping your head and neck aligned with your spine.

Beast Crawl

Skill Intermediate
Type Strength
  1. Begin in the same position as bear crawl — on all fours with your hips slightly raised — with your hands inside box one and your feet outside of the ladder. You should be facing the ladder's long side.
  2. Simultaneously move your left leg and left arm into box two, and follow with your right arm and right leg. Both hands should touch every box.
  3. Continue this pattern until you reach the end of the agility ladder.
  4. Return in the opposite direction, leading with your right leg and right arm.

Plank Walk

Skill Expert
Type Strength
  1. Start with your hands inside box one right under your shoulders and your legs fully extended outside of the ladder so you're in a high plank position.
  2. Move your left hand into box two as you simultaneously move your left leg behind box two.
  3. Follow with your right hand and right foot, bringing your hands and feet together, keeping your core tight throughout the exercise.
  4. Continue this pattern until you reach the end of the agility ladder.
  5. Return in the opposite direction, leading with your right leg and right arm.

Build Your Own Agility Ladder Workout

You can mix and match these agility ladder drills however you want based on your goal for the workout and how much time you have. Here are three options you can try:

Workout 1: Agility Ladder Tabata

Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training that involves 20-second blasts of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat that scheme for four minutes, or until you've completed eight working sets.

To Tabata-ize agility ladder drills, perform each movement for a full four-minutes set. With nine movements, that'll give you a 36-minute workout.

Workout 2: Agility Ladder Intervals

For a more traditional interval-style workout, perform each movement for one minute and rest for one minute. When your rest period is up, move to the next movement. With nine drills, this would give you an 18-minute workout. Build up to cycling through twice for a 36-minute workout.

Workout 3: Agility Ladder AMRAP

An AMRAP, or "as many rounds/reps as possible," involves choosing a timeframe — 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes — and going through all nine moves as many times as you can before your time runs out. For an agility ladder AMRAP, consider two lengths of the ladder (there and back) as one rep.

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