Martial arts agility training allows martial arts students to change positions rapidly and effectively. This enables martial artists to evade an attack or get open to launch an attack (i.e. moving laterally in order to avoid an opponent’s blow and thus being able to quickly launch an effective counter attack against an off-balance opponent). The ability to be move quickly, change direction and still be coordinated enough to throw an effective strike or kick is key to many martial arts such as Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, Kung Fu and Karate. Moreover, martial arts agility drills help to improve a martial artist’s overall balance and reaction speed.
Beyond the martial arts agility drills listed below, many martial artists cross train and participate in other sports in order to maximize their agility and conditioning. Participating in other sports adds fun and variety to training routines and thus can help martial artists to avoid training burnout and lessen the chance of repetitive muscle injuries. Sports such as basketball, soccer and football offer great agility training.
All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For additional stretches and exercises, please visit Black Belt Wiki’s section on Martial Arts Physical Fitness.
Wiki – Agility Books
List of Martial Arts Agility Exercises – with video and/or written instructions
- Agility Ladder Drills – Agility ladder drills (i.e. Icky Shuffle) are probably the best known exercises for improving a person’s agility.
- Lateral Agility Ladder Drills – These agility ladder drills focus on improving a person’s lateral speed and footwork.
- Agility Hurdle Drills – Agility hurdles help a person’s agility, footwork and speed.
- Agility Poles – Agility poles force athletes to weave in and out of the poles. This works on their lateral and diagonal agility. It also helps athletes to work on avoiding contact while moving.
- Cone Drills – This section looks at a wide variety of cone drills used to improve agility (as many focus on improving a person’s ability to change direction quickly).
- Crossover Drills
- Dot Drills
- Hexagon Agility Drills
- Ice Skaters – This agility exercise is also known as Skater Jumps.
- Jumping Rope
- Karaoke Drills or Carioca Drills – This exercise helps agility and balance when a martial artist’s feet have crossed during movement.
- L-Drill – The L-drill is a cone drill used by professional athletes, esp. football players, to work on speed, footwork and agility.
- Lateral Agility – A wide variety of lateral agility drills and exercises.
- Lateral Jumps
- Lateral Box Jumps
- Lateral Box Shuffles
- Lateral Suicides – Lateral shuffles to cones or lines at progressively further distances.
- Line Drills – This is a simpler variation of the agility ladder where athletes use a line (i.e. jump rope on the ground or a chalk line) to practice agility and footwork techniques.
- Mirror Drill – This exercise increases agility and reaction speed by “mirroring” the partner’s movement.
- Parkour – Rapid movement through the environment.
- Plyometric Training
- Reaction Ball Drills – Use the erratic movement of a reaction ball to improve agility.
- Shuffle Drills
- Suicide Drills – Suicide drills are sprints to cones or lines at progressively further distances.
- T-Test or T-Drill – The T-test is a timed drill that focuses on improving forward, lateral and backwards agility.
- X Drill – This is a popular cone drill used to improve agility and footwork.
How can you improve your agility?
Agility can be improved by practicing various agility drills. These enhance an athlete’s agility by improving footwork, speed, balance and overall coordination. Athletes should use a wide variety of agility drills in order to boost their overall forward, lateral and backwards agility. Some of the best agility exercises include agility ladder drills, cone drills (i.e. T-Test), mirror drills and dot drills.
What is agility?
Agility is the ability to change direction quickly and under control. Athletes use agility to rapidly change their forward, lateral and backward movement. Greater agility allows athletes to avoid being tackled or hit, get open to receive a pass or score a goal, etc. Athletic agility can be improved with agility exercises and drills.
What is lateral quickness?
Lateral quickness is the ability to move side to side rapidly. This lateral agility allows athletes to dodge hits, tackle agile opponents, get open in order to score, etc. Athletes can improve their lateral quickness with lateral agility drills.
Agility Ladder Drills for MMA Training
Agility Ladder Drills – Beginner to Advanced
Agility Mirror Drills
Martial Arts Agility Training – Agility Ladder Drills