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Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?


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Old 08-22-2010, 08:51 AM   #1
George H
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Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

A friend of mine recently joined the gym after years of sitting on the couch and leading a very sedentary life. He is now about 75 pounds overweight but in basically good health. His wife finally got him to join and the first couple of times he went,he really liked it. However, on the third time, a different trainer introduced the agility ladder and he seemed very uncomfortable doing this - he isn't the most agile of all people. I was concerned that this might be a bit too much too soon having done these when I used to play football. So...is this a good part of the workout for him (oh, forgot to mention, he has had some knee problems over the years) or is this a bad idea? Any risks of injury?
George

 
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:03 AM   #2
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

I think your friend or anyone for that matter should never do an exercise they are uncomfortable with, or that they do not like to do. There are a lot of ways to get into shape and exercise so there is absolutely no need to do something you do not want to do. Forcing oneself to do an exercise they do not like is a recipe for failure.

 
Old 08-22-2010, 09:04 PM   #3
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

Besides that, increasing agility has absolutely no benefit to becoming more aerobically fit and losing weight.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 06:56 AM   #4
George H
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

I should clarify two points. First, when I said he wasn't comfortable, what I meant to say is that he didn't feel that he was doing a good job at the agility ladder but he was perfectly OK in doing the ladder. Second, the real issue that I was interested in getting feedback on is whether the agility ladder was a good exercise for him or whether this was a risky exercise for him. I had heard conflicting opinions from some of the guys that I go the gym with, I figured I would get a broader audience.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

The difficulty in your question George H is that we don't know what your friend's goal is. Is it to lose weight and become aerobically fit? Is it to become more flexible? In other words, it's a completely different thing in becoming a marathon runner or a football player. Agility training for a marathon runner is useless, while absolutely essential to a football player.

Risky? Heck yes, agility training requires sudden, explosive movements that increase risk of injury in a very short amount of time, while injury from aerobic exercise takes a long time to develop.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 09:16 PM   #6
George H
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

bdrunner79 - thanks - my friend's goal was simple - loose weight and get fit - he started the gym after loosing about 15 pounds and had another 75 pounds more to go.

You mention that agility training is risky - but does that include just using the ladder for a few reps in between other weight resistence type exercises? From what I recall he told me, he ran through the agility ladder three different times for 2 or 3 reps each - each time doing slightly different foot movements - but the primary workout was regular strength training stuff.

I know I know next to nothing about this stuff, but it seems like you wouldn't do this type of activity with a guy that is fairly overweight, clearly not in shape, and I suspect that when you add in the previous problem he had with his knee, you are just asking for trouble, but then again, it could be a great addition to the regime.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 08:48 AM   #7
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

Yeah George H you're right. If he doesn't get injured, and there's really no reason to suspect he would, it could actually be a great boost for overall fitness. Not only would you be aerobically fit and weigh less, but now he'd have the added aspect of agility.

If he wants to do it, and there are no problems, then fine. But personally, and this is simply my personal preference, if I were the trainer I would not have him do that either. Like you said, this isn't something typically done with someone who is a bit overweight, relatively unfit, and has had knee trouble. Me? No way.

I have always believed in periodization, where you train for awhile and get a baseline level of fitness. Then add in some intensity and weight training. And then keep building.

But, if he loves what he's doing, then I'd just tell him to be careful and don't push anything if he notices any aches or pains. Better to take 2-3 days off than 2-3 months.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 10:40 AM   #8
George H
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

bdrunner79;

Thanks - so, bottom line is that given his current weight and conditioning level, this wasn't a good idea BUT could be a good addition to a training program when he reaches a better baseline.

Thanks - any other comments (in agreement or otherwise) would be appreciated.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 10:51 AM   #9
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Re: Agility Ladders - Good or Bad?

That's exactly what I was thinking: 1. aerobic improvement/weight loss, 2. more intense aerobic and add weight or strength training, 3. more advanced items, such as flexibility, agility, speed (if so desired). I always keep the first 2 items going for the remainder of my training period, aerobic and strength training are always great. The 3rd item is just bonus. But it takes time to build up. So yeah, I agree with you.

 
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