Jump on YouTube and check out the highlights of Guillermo Regondeaux, you’ll see an ostentatious wily boxer who gets the pulse racing as he demonstrating how footwork is perhaps the most important form of defense. Inspiring to say the least, and if you need more inspiration, then you need look no further than Floyd Mayweather, Muhammad Ali, or Pernell Whitaker; athletes that effervescently used agility-based training to formed an integral part of who they are in character and physique! Agility is all about training your muscles to gain the impetus to change direction and react swiftly. It’s crucial to be nimble and agile in the world of martial arts to help you utilized the distance between you and your opponent; go to the Dojo during agility week and you’ll probably find these exercises running rampant, and for good reason:
Tip: Don’t just focus on your feet, move your feet and hands Simultaneously!
When it comes to punching, your feet are just as important as your hands! When it comes to footwork, (and this may come as a shock)… but your hands are just as important as your feet! The point being, learn to move your feet and hands simultaneously over a tiny distance! Don’t just focus on your feet, ‘pump’ your arms as you move, building “sharp” attributes that will be intrinsically applied to your sparring routine. The awesome point about the “ladder” is there are a variety of exercises but the important movements are making sure to keep the knees high, and from time to time be sure to move laterally.
Tip: Think about WHERE you plant your feet. (An especially important habit when learning spin-side or spin-hook kicks)
This plyometric exercise is great for building explosive movements in martial arts and beating your opponent to the punch, giving you the initiative. It may seem a little strange to find box jumps involved with agility and footwork, but they will help you to utilize momentum under pressure; improving balance, footing and… you guessed it, agility. Add a quick burpee to increase the challenge. (Make sure you DON’T let your knees go past your toes when bending your knees! This can lead to injury).
Jump Rope (Skipping)
Tip: Try not to throw your arms around. Just rotate the wrists, this will help generate more momentum and speed.
The Mayweather specialty… Often you’ll see beginners swinging the whole arm while skipping, this limits momentum and stops the exercise from doing its job; which is build your footwork and agility. Keep the arms still and just focus on rotating the wrist to begin with, speed will naturally follow. Make sure to stay on the ball of your toes and improve stamina, circulation and strength in the legs. Vary your motion to exercise agility and become more nimble. In other words: throw speed drills with high knees in mix, cross your arms and alternate feet.
Perform Cone Taps
Tip: Stay light on your feet. Mix up the pace and acceleration!
Great for making you lighter on your feet and strengthening the muscles in the ankles and feet. The idea: gently tap the top of the cone with the ball of your foot and alternate with the other foot for 30 seconds. Look to increase your pace and speed without knocking the cone over, helping you control momentum and footwork.
With emphasis on technique and agility, keep these pointers in mind. The good news is there are a variety of ways to achieve a high level of agility that you will find in the Dojo this week; drills that will help you on your way, the sky’s the limit with this technical aspect of training!