Ladder Lunacy: A Bodyweight Workout

Agility4The best strength coaches in the world scoff at the idea that agility ladder drills can actually improve one’s agility. “The patterns are preprogrammed, so they lack the reactive component of real agility and change of direction,” says Michael Boyle, MA, ATC, strength and conditioning consultant for the Boston Red Sox and founder of

The best way to improve agility, he continues, is through sports practice against an opponent, so there is a component of unpredictability. In addition, Boyle recommends improving your single-leg strength, with a focus on acceleration and deceleration.

So should you toss your ladder entirely? Nope. “Agility ladders are a great multidirectional warm-up,” Boyle says. “We include them twice a week.”

Personally, I love doing agility-ladder drills as a component of conditioning, so I include them in circuits, from time to time. This one I call “Ladder Lunacy” — you’ll see why [insert maniacal laugh here].

Pro Tip: If you don’t have an agility ladder, draw one onto the sidewalk or driveway with chalk.


Perform as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following circuit in 10 minutes. Rest as often as needed.

-Ladder Drill: Ickey Shuffle (down and back)
-10 Pushups
-Ladder Drill: Boogie Woogie (down and back)
-10 Jump Squats
-Ladder Drill: Sideways Skedaddle (down and back; change lead leg on way back)
-10/10 (each side) T-Spine Rolls
-Ladder Drill: “Ladderal” High-Step (down and back; change lead leg on way back)
-10/10 (each side) Lateral Lunges
-Ladder Drill: Pogo Hops (down and back)
-10/10 Knee-to-Elbow Planks

Check out the video for exercise demonstrations for each drill.

[photo at top by]


Author:Jen Sinkler

Fitness writer and editor, workout connoisseur, meditator, proponent of spandex, former rugby player; never, ever without lip gloss.
Comments: 13

13 Responses to “Ladder Lunacy: A Bodyweight Workout”

  1. August 12, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    This workout looks AWESOME! I was looking for a few fresh ideas to use in my outdoor classes and this just looks like so much fun! Thanks for the video!

    • August 12, 2013 at 8:43 am #

      Wonderful, so glad to hear you’re looking forward to it!

  2. August 12, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    This looks like a great workout! Something I can even do outside while the kids play!

    • August 12, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Yes! Love that idea! (Kids tend to love ladder drills, too, so you might end up teaching them!)

  3. cameo
    August 12, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    I love VLOGs! They are so great for seeing good form in action. I thought a couple of those demos were full speed until you clarified… Girl got moves! Thanks, I am going to incorporate some of these today!

  4. Cheryl McKee
    August 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Just found you through LE….really like your video with the ladder/bodyweight workout. It’s something I can do on the dock at the cottage. Great cueing and clear demo of exercises, glad I found you.

  5. August 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    OMG I’m so not coordinated when it comes to ladder drills…but I will try this soon. It should be entertaining for those who watch me make an attempt, especially those sideway skedaddle things.
    BTW, everytime you did the drills in “real time” it seriously looked like someone was fast forwarding you were doing them so fast ha! Thanks for the post!

  6. Ali
    August 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Totally did this in my driveway tonight with my 12-year-old nephew. We were both winded after one time through the series (at about 1/8 your speed). My daughter (3) even joined in for the boogie-woogie. Thx for the VLOG. It is an awesome reference.

  7. August 13, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Just when I was about to sell our agility ladders, they’re now saved & Sinkler-fied.

  8. Kevin Dougherty
    August 18, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    I can’t remember quite right how I found this website, but I’m fortunate to have (leave it to the gods of the ether net). I must say I’m impressed on many levels of this video and no-doubt proven results from the excellent, challenging exercise selection. They hit every imaginable body movement (the 6 degrees of freedom or 6DOF: heaving, surging, swaying, yawing, rolling and pitching). And your demonstration is spot on; you’ve been putting in the work obviously by your demonstration of flawless technique. And I smiled because, YES, someone else like me using plain ol’ chock on the asphalt for their agility ladder. Chalk. Yes! But now to put it to task tomorrow. I shall try this one out for sure.

  9. JRuff
    August 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Just found this site from an article posted on Men’s Health. Looks fun. Was looking for some cardio I can do at home. While it may not help agility, it will still probably help my footwork a bit on the tennis courts.


  10. Kris
    August 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    I love this. Finally that sidewalk chalk i snagged at my niece’s birthday party will go to use.

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