At THFF, we strive to provide bullshit-free information that actually helps you become healthier and happier.
For that reason, we’re compelled to start this article by telling you that agility ladders probably don’t build agility, per se. Research suggests that they actually build change-of-direction speed in pre-planned conditions, which is not the same as the real-world agility that’s needed for excellence in sports such as soccer, football, and basketball.
Ladders aren’t particularly good for developing agility as a skill that transfers over to competition because agility in competition involves anticipating an opponent’s movements before they make them, and responding quickly and effectively to an opponent’s moves once they make them (i.e., making good decisions in the moment). Agility ladder training doesn’t include unpredictable and unique stimuli (such as multiple defenders coming at you from different angles, forcing you to respond), meaning that the decision-making component of agility, which is absolutely critical, is ignored. For a great, easy to read run-down of what real-word agility actually is and how best to develop it, check out this article written by Warren Young, who is a strength and conditioning coach, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on agility in practice and research.
This, however, doesn’t mean that agility ladders are useless. Research and experience have shown them to be effective in building spatial awareness and body control, enhancing complex motor skills, and providing fun and interesting cardiovascular workouts. Some may argue that they’re good for developing ‘fast feet’, which is true, but the exercise training principle of specificity tells us that those fast feet will only be present when completing agility ladder drills, and may not transfer to actual sporting performance.
As such, agility ladders can be great training tools (just not for building agility as a skill that will provide you with an edge over your competitors). But not all agility ladders are made equal, which is where we come in. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best agility ladders you can use anywhere you have enough space; at home, in the park, or on the training pitch.
The 9 Best Agility Ladders
The GHB Pro Agility Ladder is a great option if you’re looking for something to get the job done – no frills involved. It may be basic, but it has just about everything you need to quickly improve your acceleration. On top of that, it’s an excellent budget product, so if you want to keep that wallet padded, give this one a go.
The extra-long, 20′ (6m) ladder comes with 12 durable rungs in either yellow or light blue, with each being spaced 15 inches apart. Each rung is about 17 inches long, which is wide enough for just about any user. Despite being so inexpensive, we’re confident you’ll be surprised by how durable the straps are, along with the heavy-duty stitching.
By helping you accelerate your foot strike and lift frequency, you’ll be speedier in no time. It’s also an excellent way to perform cardio and keep weight down when used in conjunction with your regular fitness routines.
To keep everything neat and compact, the manufacturer has thoughtfully included a carry bag so it’s easy to take with you to the field or gym.
The only downside? The lack of pins to secure the ladder when used outdoors.
If you’re on the hunt for the best bang for your buck, take a look at the Firebreather Training Agility Ladder and Cones set. Still incredibly affordable, it comes with everything you need to really get serious about your fitness. You’ll of course get the ladder, along with 12 disc cones, 2 running eBooks, 4 stakes, and a convenient nylon bag to carry them anywhere you need with ease.
Coming in Orange, Green, Blue, Red, or Yellow, you can select the kit that stands out most or goes well with your team’s uniform. Aside from ladder drills, the cones can also add agility and dexterity skills. Unlike the GHB Pro, it can easily be used outdoors thanks to the included stakes.
If you’re wondering what to do with your new equipment or are feeling a bit overwhelmed with possibilities, the included eBooks are full of ingenious and unique workouts for you to get the most out of your training.
If you’re for any reason unsatisfied (although we don’t think that will be the case), they have a generous 100% money-back guarantee, so you can buy with confidence.
Another straightforward yet affordable option is the GOLME Pro Speed + Agility Ladder. It may be basic, but it will boost your speed, agility, and strength at one of the lowest prices you’ll find on the market today.
The double agility trainer comes with large rungs, each made from 3D Strong-Rung construction. You may be a bit apprehensive of its durability due to how inexpensive it is, but it actually holds up quite well. Each strap is sewn firmly and notably thick, so they’re very unlikely to tear even after the repeated inevitable yanks they’ll get from being tripped on. The instant-twist design makes it easy to set up the system and get things ready in literally seconds, so no time is wasted at practice. Simply twist each rung in alternating directions while unfolding, and you’re ready to go with no tangles.
While it only comes in orange, it is available in three different sizes to best suit you or your teams. As it includes stakes, you can easily use them outside. The included drill-matrix allows you to come up with countless custom routines, while the carry bag makes things simple while traveling to or from the training area.
We’re still continuing with our affordable products streak, but this time we have one that really stands out from the rest. The Unlimited Potential Soccer Speed Ladder comes in an array of funky colors that are sure to turn heads. You get your choice of a Fuchsia Pink, Light Orange, Sky Blue, and a Yellow Lime.
In addition to the 15-foot long ladder, the package also comes with 4 durable anchors for outdoor use and 12 cones that further help improve agility. If you want to increase the ladder’s length, you can combine various ladders with the included plastic buckles.
The 10-rung ladder is well-spaced, holding itself up to pro standards to make sure your foot speed is top-notch. While it doesn’t come with a manual or eBook like some others on our guide, you can easily look up some online and use the cones and ladder together for various routines.
As far as transport goes, this one is easy to take along for the ride. It’s notably lightweight; so much so, that even a child could carry it without issue. As it includes a sturdy travel bag, all you have to do is fold it up, and you’re all set.
The Bltzpro is an excellent choice for both adults and children, thanks to its length and durability. Clocking in at just under 15 feet, with 11 rungs, beginners and pros, alike, will find use in this package. It’s easily adjustable and works with just about any height, so if you’re wondering if it will work for you, chances are it’s a “yes”.
Thanks to the included flat rungs and metal stakes, the risk of injury is greatly reduced as there’s no more tangling or sliding around involved. The training cones can help with speed drills and work on sharp cuts and total body direction changes in the blink of an eye. If you’ve run out of routine ideas, the included Agility Drills Workout book is there to provide you with all that you need.
As far as durability goes, this is probably one of the most heavy-duty setups we’ve come across. The ultra-thick rungs and heavy-duty straps are made to last in all kinds of weather conditions combined with tough training regimens. The flexible cones won’t snap as many others do in the cold.
When you’re all done, take advantage of the two included carrying bags that are made to hold all of your included supplies and more.
The SKLZ Quick Ladder is probably one of the most well-known on the market, today. The flat-style product is made to help you or your athletes develop explosive power, speed, and precise footwork with its pristine design.
The 15-foot long model is one of the longest we’ve seen and is made to maximize training space and effectiveness. Coming with 11, 17″ bright yellow, durable plastic rungs, it will work well on the field or indoors with ease. You’ll also appreciate the fact that the rungs don’t overlap or get tangled in one-another like so many other models tend to do. The stitching of the straps had a lot of time put into them and were of superb quality.
The package contains stakes so you can pin the product down on the grass, so the risk of injury remains low. Unfortunately, in many cases, the pins were a bit too short, but this was a minor issue.
If that weren’t enough, SKLZ has also included a training DVD to help get you started on the right foot, and a handy carry bag makes transport a breeze.
Do you want to take your physical fitness up a notch or 10? Then check out the Agility Ladder Bundle by Trained. Not only do you get an agility ladder, but a speed chute, 5 sports cones, an agility drills eBook, and a carry case to keep your equipment handy and ready for deployment.
Since we’re focusing on agility ladders, let’s talk about that one first. It comes with adjustable training lengths and is made with 12 heavy-duty plastic rungs made to prevent ankle rollover.
The six 2″ cones will only boost your performance with side-steps and quick directional changes. If you haven’t used a speed chute before, it’s going to become your simultaneously favorite and most despised piece of training equipment. Providing wind resistance, it’s definitely going to make things harder for you, but it’s all in the name of improved speed and athleticism. When you’re finished, pack it all up into the included custom carry bag!
Perfect for working your lateral movement, footwork, balance, speed, and overall cardiovascular endurance, the Scandinavian Sports Speed Training Set is one of the most complete available. Containing an agility ladder, jump rope, sports cones, and exercise folder, you’ll want for little more.
The premium agility ladder features high-quality construction in the straps as well as the 12 soft rungs, which are flat and made to prevent rolled ankles or other injuries. Measuring in at 19.4 feet, it’s incredibly long and perfect for any skill level looking to boost their athleticism.
The jump rope is also made to last and is perfect for warming up before you take on your ladder and sport cones for diversified training meant to combat all muscular chains. The exercise folder is a nice touch, but you’ll probably get more use out of the included eBooks and DVDs some of our other products came with.
If money is no issue, then hands-down, we recommend you go with the NEEVA Speed Agility Training Kit. Remember when we mentioned not wanting for much else? This kit has literally everything you need to get your training on the fast track to success. Coming with a premium agility ladder, 10 disc cones, a resistance parachute, jump rope, mini loop bands, and a sports drill eBook, you’re well taken care of.
The 19.5-foot agility ladder is just slightly longer than the Scandinavian Sports model, making it the longest on our list. It’s perfect for beginners and pros, alike, and will ensure you’re running faster and jumping higher than ever before. With thick rungs and heavy-duty straps, you’ll be able to use this agility ladder for countless workouts for years to come.
Master your footwork with the 10 included disc cones, and make sure your muscles are nice and warmed up first with the jump rope. The resistance bands are a welcome addition we didn’t see in other kits and can help take your strength to the next level. As with the Agility Ladder Bundle, it also comes with a resistance parachute, which will keep your legs working like horses to make you lightning-fast in no time.
The included workout guides were made by both former athletes and speed development coaches, so if you aren’t sure where to start, that’s a great place to run to.
Killer Agility Ladder Drills & Workouts
Once you’ve got yourself an agility ladder you’re happy with, you’re going to need some great drills and workouts to complete with it. Below are some of our favorites.
Take small running steps, touching both feet in every box.
Run sideways, touching both feet in every other box.
Run through the ladder with one foot in every other box. Accelerate at the end of the ladder and continue to sprint for 20 yards beyond the ladder. Jog back to the start of the ladder to complete the drill.
Place both feet in each box and then to either side of it. If you’re coaching this drill, use the cue “in, in, out, out,” to help your players maintain the necessary rhythm.
Skip through every box of the ladder. Raise the trail leg high enough to get the toe above the knee.
Perform small, low skips as fast as you can in every box. This is the same as above, but without the high knees
Face sideways. Cross the left foot in front and bring the right foot beside it. Then cross the left foot in the back and bring the right foot beside it. Place both feet in every box. When you get halfway down the ladder, tum to face the other way and proceed with the right foot.
Jump by taking off and landing on both legs. Place both feet in every box or every other box. \
Take single-leg hops. Land in every box or every other box.
Jump and bring your knees to your chest. Land on both feet in every box or every other box. This is the same as bunny hops, but jump as high as you can into each box.
Jump and touch your heels to your backside. Land in every box or every other box.
Straddle the first box and land on both feet in the next box. Repeat through the whole ladder. If you’re coaching this drill, use the cue “out and in,” to help players maintain the correct rhythm.
Start outside the first box. Leadfoot goes into a box. The trailing foot then goes into the same box as the lead foot lands outside the box. Repeat into every box.
Take off with both legs and land on both legs to the side of the box. Move from side to side in every box or in every other box.
Take single-leg hops from the inside to the outside of every box or every other box.
Back Leg Dead Leg
Start outside the first box, hop along with the lead leg tapping in and out of each box. Trail leg just hops along.
Jumping or hopping, make an S pattern through the ladder by moving in and to one side or the other of every box.
Complete each drill in a given skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) for 2 minutes. This is a great way to build the coordination needed to complete each drill without errors before moving onto sequential workouts.
Complete all drills sequentially. This should take 10 – 20 minutes depending on your / your players’ level of skill in completing each drill.
Timed x Sequential Workouts
Complete each drill in a given skill level sequentially as many times as possible in 15 minutes. Completion of all drills = one cycle. Compete against yourself each workout to beat your previous best number of cycles completed. This is a great way to continually get better and better, faster and faster at each set of drills.
Well, there you have it: The 9 best agility ladders. Although sports science research suggests that these ladders are unlikely to make much of a difference in your sport-specific agility, they can be used to great effect to build a number of other valuable physical characteristics, including spatial awareness and body control, complex motor skills, and cardiovascular fitness.
Incorporating any of the above agility ladders into your training or workouts is a great way to make them more fun and varied.
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: When it comes to our health and fitness, we can make the effort or make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)