Volleyball players are arguably the most dynamic athletes on the planet. Not only do they have to be strong and extremely powerful, they also have to execute reactionary skills with precision under strict time constraints. What does this mean? To perform at the highest level a training regime should be designed to develop these differing physical skills. Thankfully, the use of an agility ladder can promote increased power, balance and agility all in the same workout.
From sprinting to shuffling and bounding, almost any movement pattern is possible with an agility ladder. By forcing the body to repeat complex and varying movements using a ladder, we can train our nervous system to better recruit specific motor units in our muscles to improve performance on the court in a game situation.
Agility Lader Workout has the following exercises:
Lateral High Knees
Skill: Quick feet, lateral court mobility.
Set-up: Stand with your right foot adjacent to the ladder with feet parallel. (A)
Action: With elbows tucked close to the body, explosively raise your right foot with a high knee, placing it into the first square. As the right foot is lowering your left foot should explosively lift off the ground lowering into the first square as the right foot lifts to move onto the second square. (B) Continue the alternating high knee sprint as you work your way through the ladder in each lateral direction. (C)
TIP: Maintain good posture throughout while focusing on using your arms to generate momentum raising the knees high with each lateral step. High knees will help activate the muscles of your core.
Skill: Fast split hop on defense, lateral hip stability and agility.
Set-up: Stand with your feet straddling each side of a square near the base of the ladder. (D)
Action: Explosively hop moving your feet inside the next square, then quickly hop forward while splitting your stance to straddle the next square. (E) (F) Repeat alternating “inside and outside” each square for the length of the ladder.
Tip: To make this move more volleyball specific, try lowering your hips while “split hopping” each time you move into the wider stance to resemble a game situation.
Skill: Core strength and stability. Shoulder strength, power and stability.
Set-up: Start in a standard pushup position with your right hand in square #1 and left hand in square #2. (G)
Action: Perform an explosive pushup then reach laterally to the right to place your right hand in square #3 followed by having the left hand follow into square #2. (H) (I) The feet mirror each hand as you move laterally across the ladder with each press. Repeat in the opposite direction.
Tip: Once you are comfortable with the movement, focus on making it explosive through the pressing phase.
Dual Leg Bounding
Skill: Core strength and stability. Lower body power for vertical leaping ability.
Set-up: Stand facing the ladder with feet close together. (J)
Action: Bound vertically raising the knees high as you land into square #1 before quickly rebounding back into a dual high knee jump. (K) This move will resemble a repeated high knee tuck jump as you work your way through the ladder.
Tip: Focus on balance first and power second. If you do not feel stable with each landing slow your tempo before attempting to leap higher into the air.