If you feel like you’re always a step too late when playing sports, don’t think you can’t make your feet faster. Performing exercises designed to improve foot flexion and reduce the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground can help, according to speed and conditioning coach Les Archer. To become fleet of foot, design and engage in a regular fast-feet training program with flexion, plyometric and agility exercises.
Sit in a sturdy chair and perform foot lifts. Keep your heels on the floor, flex your left ankle and lift your toes as high as you can. Return your foot to the floor and repeat with your right foot. Perform three fast sets of 30 lifts per foot.
Walk with foot lifts. Take a small step with your left foot and as you do, lift your toes as high as you can. Land on your toes and repeat with your right foot. Continue for 40 to 50 feet, rest and perform another walking set. Avoid letting your heels touch the ground.
Perform bunny hops with foot lifts. Stand with your feet together. Shift your weight onto your toes, push with your legs and hop vertically. While airborne, flex your ankles and lift your toes as high as you can. Land on your toes and repeat. Perform two sets of 30 hops. It may help to swing your arms up as you hop to get higher off the ground.
Perform plyometric quick steps with a 6-inch aerobic step. Face and stand 2 inches away from the step. Step onto the step with your right foot and then your left. Step down with your right and then your left foot. Pick up your pace and do as many steps as you can in 30 seconds.
Do another set of the quick steps with a small technique change. Stand, face the step and start with your right foot on top of the step. Push with your left leg, jump vertically and while airborne, switch your legs. Land with your left foot on the step and your right foot on the floor. Do as many steps as you can in 30 seconds.
Make another technique change and perform lateral quick jumps. Stand with your left side facing the side of the step. Start with your left foot on top of the step and your right foot on the floor. Jump laterally to your left. Land with your right foot on the step and your left foot on the floor on the opposite side of the step. Immediately jump laterally to the starting position. Perform two sets of 12 jumps.
Agility Ladder Exercises
Place an agility ladder on a level surface. Start at one end of the ladder, step into the first square with your right foot, the second square with your left and so on. Once you get the hang of it, quicken your steps. Perform three to five round trips.
Hop your way through the ladder. Stand at one end and bunny hop into the first square. Immediately hop into the next square and so on. When you get to the end, turn around and hop back to the beginning. Perform three round trips.
Shuffle laterally through the ladder. Stand with your right side facing the end of the ladder. Step into the first square with your right foot, followed by your left. Repeat into the next square and so on. When you get to the end, reverse direction and return to the start. Keep a slight bend in your hips and knees and your head up while shuffling.
Items you will need
- Sturdy chair
- 6-inch aerobic step
- Agility ladder
- When doing plyometric and ladder exercises, concentrate on landing on the balls of your feet and limiting the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground.
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