Climb the Fitness Ranks With the Best Agility Ladders

2022-11-22 01:48:22 By : Ms. Elena Chen

Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

Get your heart pumping and burn through those calories with these top fitness tools to get your body mobile and agile. Balance Board Trainer

Climb the Fitness Ranks With the Best Agility Ladders

Want to mix up your cardio training and move to a different beat with each set? Agility ladders allow athletes to fine-tune their quickness and speed across a variety of drills, all while keeping their heart rate elevated for calorie-burning, sweat-inducing effectiveness. There's a reason that many athletic teams use these simple training pieces as part of their conditioning regimens — the drills are intuitive, there's little setup and working through the rungs is just plain fun.

You don't need to be a four-star football recruit or rising soccer star to get the most out of agility ladders, though. There's plenty of opportunity to bring these tools into your daily workout routine, and understanding the benefits (as well as what makes a quality agility ladder) can truly take your training to new heights.

I mean, it's right there in the name. Agility ladder drills call for you to move through each rung at different step cadences while maintaining a consistent speed. Rapid toe touches and steps in varying routines can help your fast twitch muscles develop for quicker transitions, change of direction and more.

Agility ladder training can also be a great way to warm up your impulse control and motor control, as you need your legs and body to follow a precise, specific rhythm to hit each rung. As you progress and your body gets better at firing on all cylinders, this can increase the speed at which you move through the drills.

Because you're moving through each step and cadence at a rapid pace, your heart will be pumping across your agility ladder training. As a result of these fast-paced movements and more intense, short bursts of energy, agility ladders can be a great way to burn some calories, making the modality ideal for those on a weight loss journey.

Think of each agility ladder drill as a dance routine. If your brain is fogged and not focused on the task at hand, you're more prone to missteps and sloppier foot placement. Agility ladder training can be a great way to combine mental fitness with physical fitness as you work through each cadence and begin to connect your mind and muscles more efficiently for smoother, quicker set completions. Also, using your agility ladder as a warmup to your other training routines like CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting or other modalities can be the perfect way to get those neurons firing for concentrated, effective performance throughout your session.

Agility ladders aren't the most complex pieces of fitness equipment, but because you'll be tossing these devices across the ground — and undoubtedly stepping on a rung or two your first time around — you want a product that's durable enough for the training trials you put it through. Look for agility ladders featuring hard, durable plastic rungs, as well as strong straps, either made of nylon or other durable materials. Nylon can be a preferred option, particularly when it comes to bundling up your agility ladder and storing it between workouts.

Agility ladders can vary in terms of how many rungs are strung across their structure. Some can be short systems with just four spaces across the frame, while others can reach all the way out to 20 rungs per ladder. The function remains the same, regardless of length, so this factor is up to personal preference, but expect to be turning around and heading back down the ladder more often with shorter equipment pieces.

Adjustability, in this case, refers to the space between each ladder rung. If you want to give yourself more of a challenge and really test your foot placement through the drills, look for ladders that allow you to shrink the space between these rungs. Most quality agility ladders offer some adjustability, typically through a sliding system that allows you to evenly space out each rung across the straps.

Agility ladders, by design, are lightweight and can be used practically anywhere, but because of their featherweight frames, these tools can slip and slide out of place at times, especially if you're less than precise when stepping through your drills. If you're training indoors, this proves less of a problem given the fact that gym floors are tackier than grassy fields, but for outdoor sessions, aim to anchor your agility ladders with metal stakes at each end. This can keep your structure taut and in line for multiple reps without needing to pause for adjustments and reconfigurations.

One of the biggest perks to agility ladder training is the fact that the device itself is plenty portable, and most fold up conveniently for additional storage capabilities. With that said, however, there are a few features to consider to make in-storage use and unfolding as efficient as possible. Some agility ladders feature buckle systems at the end that allow for more secure bundling when it's time to pack up, thus keeping each rung and all the straps more secure and untangled when not in use.

Additionally, you might want to look for agility ladders that come with a carrying pouch for added convenience as well. While these features aren't absolutely necessary to get the most out of training, they can certainly remove any headaches that may form when trying to set up a proper regimen.

I've used a number of agility ladders across both my athletic and fitness careers, having plenty of experience in regard to what makes each premium product stand on its own. I've made note of common features including adjustability, durability and storage convenience. Bonus points are always awarded, too, if a product is part of a larger kit aimed at providing more versatile cardio training.

Now, let's find the right rhythm and get into the best agility ladders available today.

With 12 adjustable rungs and durable nylon straps, it’s hard to look past this cost-effective, sturdy agility ladder from GHB. I’ve always appreciated the metal clips at the end, which provide an added sense of sturdiness when packed up for travel. Additionally, you can clip multiple ladders together to give yourself an even longer track for extended sets. While there are no stakes for added stability in outdoor training, this can be a great tool to add to your arsenal for quickened feet and better change of direction.

With the Quick Ladder Pro, there’s no fussing with tangled nylon or stretching out the frame before training. Inspired by the folding design of a Chinese fan, this agility ladder features hinged rungs and straps that easily expand for quicker setups and more time focused on your workout. I also like the SKLZ Quick Ladder Pro’s hinged design, as it allows for unique customization to the space between rungs, depending on which angle you set them at. While $60 is a lot to drop on an agility ladder, if you want a durable, well-constructed piece of gear, this is it.

If you’re just getting started in agility ladder training, this can be a great option for its durable construction, ample adjustability and lessened hit on your wallet. I’ve trained with multiple Yes4All agility ladders over the years and always appreciated how the brand offers its ladders in varying lengths from 8–20 rungs. This gives athletes more versatility in their training, eliminating the need to buy multiple structures for longer sets or drills.

In my experience, however, I will advise that you take the time to fold this ladder properly for storage. There have been many minutes spent untangling the nylon straps before a workout that could’ve been easily avoided had I not hastily packed up after the previous use.

Simple setups can be great for your training — less time focused on your gear and more time in-tune with your performance. Across the board, TRX’s XD Agility Ladder provides the easiest pre-workout setup thanks to its structured rungs and straps. Resembling five connected squares, you simply unfold the stack and go. Each plastic component is durable enough to withstand missteps, yet your drill’s path won’t be compromised.

The XD Agility Ladder is shorter than others on this list, but you’re still able to get a quality workout across the five-runged structure. The space between rungs, however, is not adjustable due to the more rigid frame, so if you’re looking to increase your training difficulty, other steps are needed.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a "ladder" per se, but SPRI’s Roll-Out Agility Ladder can still provide plenty of heart-pumping benefits to your agility training, without the headaches of tangled setup. Plus, because of the structured print, each rung is consistently spaced for maintained performance, albeit without the ability for adjustments as you advance in your skill set.

The SPRI Roll-Out Agility Ladder can be used on multiple surfaces, but I’ve found the non-skid recycled rubber performs best when rolled out across your typical gym floors. Outdoor training and grass can leave some room for slipping and sliding, which is never ideal in fast-twitch workouts.

Training with hurdles can be another great modality to help improve your foot speed and agility, and with the SKLZ Elevation Ladder, adding both disciplines is just a few clicks away. The spacious rungs quickly convert to 4-inch hurdles, giving your training sessions an added layer of difficulty. I really like how seamlessly this structure makes switching workouts, and the six-rung structure gives each set enough pathway for worthwhile training.

The lightweight PVC plastic used across the rungs and hurdles, however, is almost too lightweight and could be prone to durability issues down the road. I’d be cautious to step on these components while in the hurdle position, but if you want a do-it-all rig, look no further.

For those wanting a well-rounded regimen for agility and speed training, I cannot recommend this kit enough. Not only does Juvale supply you with an adjustable, durable agility ladder, but also throws in a handful of agility cones and an added resistance parachute for a training ensemble sure to get your motor running. I also appreciate the fact that Juvale includes stakes for securing your ladder during outdoor training, perfect for getting the entire field primed for a challenging workout experience.

The only downfall to this robust training kit? The carrying bag. Some athletes have noted that this storage component can quickly begin to fray and rip, so if you plan on using this roundup on a regular basis, it might be best to upgrade your tote before these faults occur.

Ladder drills. Hurdle drills. Jumping drills. If you have an agility movement in mind, odds are this versatile structure from Alphaworx can accommodate it. The connected structure of this agility rope folds up into a compact silhouette, and getting ready for a workout is as easy as a flick of the wrist.

Climb the Fitness Ranks With the Best Agility Ladders

Bosu Ball Without Resistance Bands The versatility of this agility ladder is top notch, and I like how easily the structure can stand vertically for more heightened training challenges. Just be sure to give yourself a handful of minutes to pack up, as folding up the ladder can take some practice if you’re not accustomed to the steps (Alphaworx includes instructions online so you aren’t knotting up your training tools in haste or anger).