Agility training is all about making swift movements, accelerating fast, stopping deftly and maintaining balance as you move in all directions. And it’s the different directions that are key – lateral movements are so important towards a good agility training regime.
Why is moving side-to-side better than moving forward or backward?
Majority 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 unaffected. 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 minds, it provides variation and teaches us to respond quickly to new stimuli. Lateral movements are particularly good during the warmup phase of a workout – as it gets your 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 whatsoever...
Possibly one of the best fat-burning moves, the ‘Lateral Skater’. This is another great heart rate raising move – and it will strengthen your legs, enhance stability along with your balance too.
Aim: 100 reps total – one rep is a skater to the left, then to the right.
The ideal introduction to lateral movement, the ‘Lateral Shuffle’. This will nicely raise your heart rate and test your core as you strengthen your hip abductors, quads, calves, hamstrings and glutes.
Aim: 30 seconds of continuous shuffles, recover and then repeat for a total of three sets.
LATERAL SKATER WITH BURPEE
If you’re ready to up the intensity, the ‘Lateral Skater with Burpee’ is what it’s all about. You’ll get all the benefits of the Lateral Skater while also working your upper body and core at the same time. It’s perfect to help build cardio endurance too.
Aim: 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 ten.
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.