Does the drive of music make your feet ache to dance, but you have the coordination and accuracy of a newborn puppy? We’ve got a solution that satisfies your footwork cravings without the need to take up tap.
Like a pumped-up club on a Saturday night, this routine will help you to unleash your inner dancer — or at least improve your overall range of motion and help solidify new, sporty movement patterns. Using an agility ladder puts the focus on short bursts of repetitive, explosive movements, making this style of workout a fun way to get your cardio fix, while also improving your overall athleticism. Boost your strength, ramp up your endurance, and give yourself a confidence makeover when you add this ever-versatile, all-powerful fitness tool to your routine.
When you think you’re ready to tackle this program head-on, begin with the first three exercises and add the remaining two into the mix over the course of your next few workouts. Do each for 60 seconds, resting for 60 seconds before you move on to the next move. If you can, repeat once or twice from the top. Expect to see total-body changes in four to six weeks.
We dare you: Create a circuit, alternating strength moves with these drills, for even bigger calorie-scorching results.
In and Out
Targets: Calves, hamstrings, glutes, cardiovascular system
Stand at the end of the ladder, and start in the first square with your feet close together, knees slightly bent, and your hands together in front of you. Jump your feet outward, on either side of the ladder, before bringing both feet back together again, but landing in the next square. Continue for the whole length of the ladder, then turn around and repeat.
Tip: Push off and land on the balls of your feet, not your toes.
Two-Footed Side Hustle
Targets: Calves, cardiovascular system
Begin with your feet close together and knees slightly bent at one end of the agility ladder with the end of the ladder on your left side. Jump from side to side, moving in and out of each square. Be sure to stay on the balls of your feet, and repeat the exercise until you reach the end of the ladder. When complete, move back along it in the opposite direction.
Tip: Pump your arms at your sides to bring the upper body into the exercise as well.
Targets: Quads, calves, glutes, cardiovascular system
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, facing the ladder at one end. Keep your hands in front of your body, just above hip height, with your palms facing the ground. Rapidly drive your right knee as high as possible. Switch to the other side and repeat with your left knee, stepping through each square of the ladder as you move. Turn around at the end and repeat, moving down the length of the ladder.
Tip: Be sure to complete a knee-up on each leg inside the square before moving to the next.
Targets: Arms, chest
Begin in a push-up position, with hands between the first two rungs under your shoulders, and your body perpendicular to the ladder. Keep your body squared to the ground and your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core, tuck in your pelvis, and keep your lower back flat. Start your push-up by bringing your chest as close to the ground as possible, while still maintaining a strong, flat back. Extend your arms to return yourself to your starting position. Move your hands over into the next two rungs of the ladder and repeat the push-up for the ladder’s entire length.
Tip: Avoid letting your stomach sag or raising your butt too high in the air.
Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, cardiovascular system
Stand outside of the ladder with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Jump laterally to the right, landing on the ball of your right foot and bending your left leg behind you as though skating. Repeat this movement, switching from side to side, and aiming to improve your distance and speed with each repetition. Arms should swing in front of your body in the direction you are stepping and strides should be as wide as possible, with a focus on working your outer glutes.
Tip: Try doing this exercise both backward and forward, instead of moving from side to side.