Agility training is one of the best ways to advance your athletic performance. It will help you move faster and with better control, boost cardio fitness, improve balance and develop a stronger mind/body connection.
Agility training is all about making swift movements, accelerating quickly, stopping deftly and maintaining balance as you move in all sorts of directions. And it’s the different directions that are key—lateral movements (moving side to side) are fundamental to a good agility training regimen.
What does moving side to side offer that moving forward or backward doesn’t?
Most of the time, we move in a forward direction as we lead with our eyes. Consequently, we continually strengthen the same dominant muscle groups, and the smaller muscles remain unchanged. By embracing lateral movements, we engage different muscles, even out muscular imbalances, and help stabilize the hips and pelvis—which is fundamental to staying injury-free.
Lateral training is also good for our mind. It provides variety and teaches us to respond quickly to new stimuli.
Lateral movements are particularly good during the warm-up phase of a workout because it gets our body used to working across different planes of motion.
Here are our top three lateral training favorites that you can do anytime, anywhere and without any equipment.
The perfect introduction to lateral movement, the lateral shuffle will raise your heart rate and challenge your core as you strengthen your hip abductors, quads, calves, hamstrings and glutes.
Aim for: Do 30 seconds of continuous shuffles, recover and repeat for a total of three times.
Possibly one of the best fat-burning moves, the lateral skater is another great heart-rate-raising move—and it will strengthen your legs and improve stability and balance, too.
Aim for: Do 100 reps—one rep is a skater to the left, then to the right.
LATERAL SKATER WITH BURPEE
If you’re ready to up the intensity, the lateral skater with burpee is where it’s at. You’ll get all the benefits of the lateral skater while also working your upper body and core. It’s great for building cardio endurance.
Aim for: Do one skater to each side and one burpee, then do two skaters to each side and two burpees. Continue all the way up to 10.
TOP TIP: To get maximum benefit from lateral shuffles and skaters, you must perform the moves as quickly and explosively as possible. Focus on driving up off the floor. Bend your knees and stay low to move faster.
Keen to get your lateral training fix? Try a Les Mills GRIT or a BODYATTACK workout now.
This post originally appeared on LesMills.com.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Les Mills