3 Drills That Improve Your Agility

By Hayley Townsend |

These three drills will help improve your agility and ability to recover from a stumble.

The ability to switch from moving forward to backward, from left to right, or vice versa is known as agility. Let's move through three drills to help increase your ability to react quickly and prevent falls.

These exercises will also challenge your balance. If you feel unsteady or have previously had a fall, talk to your doctor about your concerns first.

Drill 1: Reaction

This will challenge your reaction timing. Listen as SilverSneakers Trainer Andi calls out each move, then perform it at home or wherever you're exercising today.

For this drill, you'll step your leg forward, to the left or right side, or behind you, depending on the instruction. Andi will indicate which leg you're moving and then which side to take your step. For example, When Andi says, "Right, front" you'll step forward with your right foot.

Throughout this drill, try to keep your knees slightly bent and your chest up. If you miss a few of the commands, no problem, just keep going and challenging yourself.

Kick it up a notch: Instead of standing in place waiting for each command, you can walk or jog in place as you move through the drill.

Drill 2: Mirror Lateral Training

Falls tend to occur in lateral movement patterns, so this drill helps to improve your balance and agility to ultimately prevent falls. Follow Andi and mirror her movements as she steps from side to side. Again, you'll want to keep your knees gently bent and avoid chest caving.

She'll switch up the speed and try to catch you off-guard. Just follow along at your own pace and don't worry if you miss a move.

Drill 3: Zig-Zag

For this drill, you'll be taking steps or gentle hops from side to side. Move to the left side of your space and imagine that a railroad is on your right side, right through the center of your space. Keep your knees gently bent and try to stay on the balls of your feet for these moves.

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You'll take one step or light hop to the right, onto the imaginary railroad, then step your left foot in to meet your right. Next, step or hop your right foot out again, keeping your left foot in place. Then move back. Step your right foot back to center, then step or hop your left foot to the left side of the railroad and keep your right foot in the center. Repeat this sequence, left to right then right to left. You'll hear Andi say, "In, in, out" to help you move through this drill. Now for the zig-zag: As you move across each side of your invisible railroad, move forward a bit each time.

Remember, speed is a trained skill. When a fall or stumble happens, you’ll want to be able to react quickly. Practice increasing your speed and reaction timing by doing these drills three times per week. You can keep track of your progress by assessing your agility with this quick test.

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