The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another. That’s essentially all we’re talking about in regards to agility. “How fast can you turn around that cone and go at 90 degrees,” may not as “sexy” as, “How much ya bench, bro?” But for us as CrossFitters and people who navigate this place we call Earth- it’s no less important.
Moving well, moving fluidly and moving efficiently with speed is something to which we all need to strive. And oddly enough much like strength and conditioning, agility doesn’t magically appear just because you start a workout program. Like any other skill it’s something you need to develop.
How many of you have seen the red CFWs on the wooden platforms? Know what they are? Here’s a hint:
Dot drills on one or both feet can improve foot-eye coordination. How will this impact you? I d/k. Are you still trying to get double unders? Box jumps over 12″?
Agility is not just about hopping around, though. Can you lower your center of mass and make a cut on a dime in a sprint without blowing out your knee? How’s your drop under the bar in a split jerk? Are you still having to press out at the top or are you well under the bar quickly?
Agility drills and practice increase your connections to fast twitch muscle fibers and allow you to be a more explosive, powerful athlete. Since these fibers are different than slow twitch muscles that fuel your strength and endurance output, it’s good to have a mix of both at your disposal.
If you’re wanting to work on your agility, it’s best to start slow according to the guys at StrengthSpeedAgility.com:
Athletes trying to improve their speed and acceleration need to condition themselves to get more of this fast twitch response which basically means quicker muscle contractions. Techniques need to be rehearsed at slow speeds until they are perfected and then done at higher speeds until you can control the movements at maximum speed. It is important to remember that the improvement or development of speed is a complex process that is controlled by the brain and the body’s nervous system. This basically means that the brain and nervous systems have to learn to control these fast twitch movements efficiently so repetition of quality exercise and training methods is necessary to develop these mechanisms.
I especially like the last line in regards to getting your “connections” hardwired and adopting/controlling efficient movement patterns. This can readily be applied to any new skill or movement you’re learning- snatch, jerk, DU, muscle up, etc. Your body needs to be taught what you’re trying to do. You need to “go through the motions” at light weight and slowly (at least as slow as the movement allows). Then when things look good you can get up to speed.
Agility isn’t something we’re born with. It needs to be worked and honed. And with practice you too can fly around like this:
Skateboarders (in my opinion) are some of the most agile and coordinated individuals on the planet!
For the previous CF Adaptations Series click HERE.
Dr. Chris Biles, DC is the head trainer and owner of CrossFit Waxahachie. He is a Level 1 CrossFit Certified Trainer and is passionate about all things fitness. He has competed for many years in adventure racing, mountain and road bike racing, and marathons. His main sport now is the new Sport of Fitness- CrossFit.