How do YOU train for and improve agility? Let’s face facts and slap the steak on the table, agility is agility and speed is speed. There I said it. Yes, I was that “guy”, who thought racing through an agility ladder as fast as I could, would make me more graceful. Turns out, it does not. It actually makes you less graceful.
WHAT IS AGILITY IN BUHURT?
An “agile guy” can do 10 cartwheels in a row, stop, plant, execute a back flip, and then sprint. To be agile is to glide across the dance floor like a swan on a lake. Agility is navigating through an obstacle course, yet never losing your balance, while applying 100% your effort. I’ll be the first to admit it, agility training is tough because it is as much about the mind as it is the body, and for most people they cannot see the end goal. The main goal for any fighter or coach is to use ability training to set a baseline and then expand upon it. This will build confidence and increase overall proprioperception; the key to agility in my book.
Proprioperception is the ability to know where your body is in space without looking at it. If I told you to close both your eyes as tightly as you can; then outstretch your left hand and stick up your left thumb and grab it with the opposing hand can you do it. You could do it all day long and twice on Sunday.
However, if I blindfolded you, and told you to work through an agility ladder it would be difficult, but not impossible with training. I hope you get the gist of what I am saying. Basically, if you don’t train agility with focused drills, you will end up looking like a drunk duck.
How do you train for agility? How do you start to master the art of gracefulness? I suggest working the five directions- left, right, front, back, and jump. You can encompass so much with just these five basics and little else is needed.
My personal favorite is the five-meter box, and it works like this.
Form a square on the ground with tape, chalk, or anything that gives you a line to follow. Each side needs to be five meters (you can always go bigger). The basic idea is to follow the line in a clockwise/counterclockwise fashion and applying whichever movements you want down each side.
Follow the example below.
How to Improve Agility Set 1
Clockwise, lining up on the outside of the box, each set is as follows:
- Backwards sprint
HOW TO IMPROVE AGILITY SET 2
Set 2 same as set 1 but counterclockwise.
HOW TO IMPROVE AGILITY SET 3
Clockwise, lining up on the outside of the box, each side is as follows:
- 1- Karaoke
- 2- Frog jumps
- 3- Bear Crawls
- 4- Crab crawls.
HOW TO IMPROVE AGILITY SET 4
Set 4 same as set 3 but counterclockwise.
In that small amount of sets I can work all five directions with little equipment and minimal instructions. When you are comfortable with this drill, you have a stronger basis to train cartwheels, backflips, dance moves, etc.
DOES AN AGILITY LADDER HELP?
Agility ladders are just the beginning and once you understand the thought behind agility anything can become your agility workout. Do you lack conventional agility equipment you see in your gym? Do you have a park with a jungle gym? Use that instead. Don’t like the jungle gym? Try the Illinois agility drill. The key is to train a drill till it’s easy, then immediately challenge yourself with a new set of movements. Be comfortable diving into the uncomfortable.
IS SPEED IMPORTANT IN BUHURT?
I will briefly go over speed because it is a tricky subject that needs a lot of attention. There is hand speed, foot speed, reaction timing speed, hand-eye coordination, and the list goes on. Yes, you can do wind sprints to be a faster runner. Or use a speed bag get to your hand speed up and get your hand-eye coordination better. But overall your speed gains will be minor.
You must actively train to become faster, and I have broken it down into four parts. Muscle twitch activation, aerodynamics, body weight, and cardiovascular conditioning are the key components.
WHAT ARE THE FOUR CONCEPTS OF SPEED TRAINING?
Muscle Twitch Activation
The process of training of slow and fast twitch muscles.
Slow twitch– Marathon training, swimming, smaller movements that are less fatigue resistant and focus on postural control. These are smaller muscles than your fast twitch muscle, so prolonged work at a submaximal level has yields the best results for me.
Fast twitch– Sprinting, Jumping, powerlifting, and Olympic lifting all utilize larger muscles capable of greater power, but quicker to fatigue. Intense intervals with maximal level output yield the best results for me.
This will determine your speed based on your body weight and size.
If you are carrying more around the midsection, and maybe a little extra on the backside, you will have a hard time achieving a faster speed because of your physique. It will simply not allow for it.
On the hand, if you are a naturally bigger person with a broad base, wide shoulders, and a barrel chest, you are are not as aerodynamic as someone who has a smaller frame. An Army doctor once told me I was built for size not for speed, and that my sprint training would be tougher than for a smaller guy.
In modern society, we carry a lot of extra weight, and this will slow you down.
There are scientific studies that have proven the chemical makeup of body fat will slow you down, in addition to fat’s other health impacts.
To be faster, you must have the cardio to carry it.
Wind sprints, Fartlik Runs, resistance sprints, nasal-only breath runs, and similar exercises will increase your lung capacity and your cardio.
I hope you incorporate these drills and concepts in your daily workout to achieve the most efficient result in agility and speed improvement. Think of the best Buhurt fighters in the sport. They are able to execute violence with dynamic, swift precision. No one is born with these qualities, they are trained.
There is only one way to reach this pinnacle.
You can scream, you can cry, you can puke, you can pass out, but you cannot quit.