In the first CrossFit Journal article, Coach Greg Glassman asks the question “What is Fitness?” His proposed definition centers on ten fundamental general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, balance, accuracy, and agility. Last month we focused on one of the “oft-ignored” tenets of fitness (balance) and this month we shift to an equally important, but also under-utilized component–agility.
The ability to move quickly and change directions rapidly is obviously a key skill to develop in almost any competitive sport. Performing well in sports often involves maneuvering around opponents and being able to react to a fast-moving and erratic target. In addition, agility is an important skill to develop for athletes looking simply to enhance their GPP (general physical preparedness). Improving agility helps develop fast twitch muscle fibers, which in turn translates to a more explosive, powerful athlete. It expands the connection between brain and body, improves reaction times, and develops hand-eye coordination. Becoming adept at change-of-direction drills also helps strengthen smaller ligaments and reduces the chance of a sprained ankle or falling while sprinting.
This month, be on the lookout for plenty of agility drills both within WODs and as part of our warmup series. In addition to our trusty agility ladder, we’ll use cone exercises, suicide runs, sprints, plyometric jumps, side shuffles, and several other methods to work on our speed and change of direction. Expect to move laterally, transversely, and backwards. Don’t be surprised if your overall power output increases as your explosiveness and agility improve.