The Agility Ladder Sucks

For the past few weeks I’ve been saying I had some good log ideas, and I think this is one of them.

I’m going to tell you why the Agility Ladder sucks today.

It doesn’t.

But, if you’ve been around the Coaching field for a while, you’ve heard that it is the worst thing you can do for an athletes training and development at some point.

  • It doesn’t make them faster
    It is a waste of time
    It negatively affects their speed
    Blah, Blah, Blah

Sure, some coaches like them, even love them.
I might love them.
Not for the reasons most coaches use them.

Back to the haters for a minute, seems the internet is full of those.

I’ve heard more times than I can count that Agility ladders are not all they are cracked up to be, they don’t fit into an Elite athletes program, they don’t develop speed, they don’t develop change of direction skill and I’ve heard this from some pretty well respected coaches.

I also read a meme that other day on the Instagrams that said:

“I find it curious how some within our profession are quick to criticize an exercise, evaluative tool, or method for what it cannot do rather than for what it does well.
After all, people don’t criticize a hammer for not being able to cut wood, or a saw for not being able to drive a nail.”
Brandon Marcello

I don’t know much about the guy who said that but it’s fucking genius.

In this industry, and I’m sure in many others, haters abound.

  • Charlatans run rampant.
  • Everyone is a coach with an opinion.
  • The internet made everyone an expert over the past 10 years, much more so the past 3 or 4.

As an example, I know a kid who is very well intentioned, but knows dick all about real training but knows a shit ton about marketing who is an up and comer in the industry because he knows how to get followers. Doesn’t know much about getting people strong though.

And he is putting out some nonsense about strength.

Anyway, the point is that if you ask 10 coaches how to do something, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Depending on the subject, you might even get a few to agree.
Let’s use the hated Agility Ladder as an example of something that gets bashed and called names that is actually an excellent tool when used well.
I love the agility ladder for a few things that it does well as Mr. Marcello said.

It is an awesome warm-up tool.

 

 

Janet, one of my older athletes using the ladder for GPP. Janet, one of my older athletes using the ladder for GPP.

 

 

I’d rather carve my eyes out with a rusty butter knife than get on a treadmill, or elliptical.

I’m not crazy about dragging a sled sometimes, and fuck the Prowler. Why?
It’s BORING.

You’ve gotta warm up though right?

The Agility Ladder is just the ticket.

Bust it out, run through some:

  • 2 in/2 outs
    High knees
    Hip Twisties
    1 in/1 outs
    Lateral bounds
    And a few more

You’ll be pissing sweat in about 5 minutes, it’s fun, it’s low impact and I’ll argue, it improves your ability to move.
If you are an Elite level Olympic athlete, maybe it will, maybe it won’t.
Chances are, you are not one, and I am a fat old washed up lifter, so it is just perfect for me.

You know what else it’s great for?

Improving GPP in much the same way as I suggested for warming up.

Lifters, do you want a bigger total?

I’m not promising that using the ladder will give you a bigger total, but I’ll bet if you are out of shape and locked up with shitty movement patterns, adding in 15-20 minutes of light conditioning on the ladder will at the LEAST: help you move better, and improve your GPP.
Improved GPP usually leads to something positive right?

And another thing, the ladder is AWESOME for group training.
Why?
It’s not BORING.

It’s hard to adapt to, so it never stops being productive.
People love being trained like athletes. If they love this stuff, doesn’t it make your job easier
And more effective?

Got a group of people to put though a GPP or Met Con circuit?
Bust out a few ladders, cones and hurdles or med balls and make a bunch of stuff up.
As long as they are moving, sweating, huffing and puffing and SMILING, you are doing a good job.

But wait, there’s more.

The Agility Ladder might suck according to some, but here is another thing it is awesome for; improving athleticism in veal.

You mean veal like the baby cows that live in a box with their heads stuck out?

Yes, but not cows.

We have a whole sub-generation of kids (aged 14-27-ish) that have never exercised a day in their lives.
They haven’t got an ounce of visible or flex-able muscle, their nervous systems are poorly developed, they have slow reaction times, the duck if you throw a ball at them, and more often than not, they don’t ambulate well, never mind run well.

They’re human fucking veal.

They’ve spent their whole lives in school, on the couch or playing video games.

Now, I’m not making fun of them.

Really.

A lot of it isn’t their fault.

They didn’t grow up like I did, or many of you. We went outside, we played sports, we built ramps and jumped our Big Wheels over them, we jumped our bikes over garbage cans, we hung off the back of busses in the snow and “Bumped” our way to school, you know, we were kids.

Growing up in the 70’s was much different.

I don’t blame these kids for the lack of fitness, they were not taught this, and for many, it was discouraged.

I actually applaud them for getting their almost adult asses into the gym to get fit.

Toss an agility ladder on the floor and show them how to do a few sweet moves. Show them slow.
Make them do it.
Then make them do it faster.

You’ll see their athleticism improve pretty quick. Nope, they aren’t playing D-1 hoop anytime soon, but they will be better and isn’t that the point?

I can go on for about an hour on more populations that the ladder is great for, like kids, and boomers too but I think you get the idea.

If you’re not using a ladder in your training, or with your clients can you think of one good reason why?
Saying the you heard the Agility Ladder sucks isn’t one of them.

Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.

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Vincere vel mori

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