On one hand, there’s a sports cliché that says speed can’t be taught; if someone runs slowly, you can’t coach her to be fast. On the other hand, talents such as speed and agility can be improved. Otherwise, why would elite sprinters bother to train? Whether you want to out-run the competition, become agile enough to guard a basketball team’s leading scorer, or you just want to improve your overall fitness level, resistance bands can help you increase your speed and agility.
Running around cones is a time-tested method for improving agility in numerous sports. You can further strengthen your legs and increase your agility by performing some cone drills while your tethered to a secure point by a resistance band. Just set the cones in your chosen pattern, attach the band to your body and run around the cones. For example, place two cones on the floor and shuffle around the cones as quickly as possible in a figure-8 pattern. You can face the band’s anchor point and move around the cones for one repetition, take a brief rest, turn your back to the anchor point for the second rep, then turn sideways for the next two reps.
Resistance bands can also make ladder drills more challenging. The ladders are typically made of rope or other substances that lay flat on the ground. Ladder drills are classic sports agility exercises in which the athlete moves her feet in and out of the ladder’s boxes. She can run straight ahead, planting her feet in each successive box, or move her feet in and out of the ladder, from side to side. As with cone drills, performing ladder drills with a resistance band attached to your body increases the exercise’s difficulty. You can also perform ladder drills while moving forward, backward or sideways, relative to the band’s anchor point.
To help build leg strength and increase your speed, attach a resistance band to a fixed point and run for a limited distance against the band’s pull. Or attach the band to a teammate and run forward while your teammate walks. This allows you to continue the exercise for a longer period of time. Add an even greater challenge by moving uphill against the band’s resistance.
Banding Your Legs
Use a short resistance band that you can wrap around both legs to build leg strength and running power. Attach the band to your lower thighs, then perform any one of many running drills. You can run straight ahead or around a track for a specific distance, practice starts from a starting block, run backward or even run up a flight of stairs if you’re confident you can retain your balance.
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images