It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of steady state cardio. Unless your goal is to run a marathon, steady state cardio is doing you no favors. If you really enjoy the monotony of pounding the pavement, then sure go ahead and run. However if fat loss is your goal then HIIT [high intensity interval training] is where it’s at. Intervals are my favorite form of cardio as I get a lot of bang for my buck, and if you want a great cardio workout that is going to torch calories, improve your cardio and provide fun then I suggest agility cone drills.
Disclaimer: I received a set of Profect Sports agility cones for free, in exchange for writing a review. This post may also contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the website and allows me to continue to make content. Thank you for the support!
What is agility training?
Whether you’re just looking for a more challenging cardio workout, or you want to work on speed, agility and quickness for sports or to break a PR then agility cone drills can help. What is speed, agility and quickness training though?
- Speed – the ability to move in a direction as fast as possible. Think changing stride length, and number of strides.
- Agility – your ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize and change direction while maintaining proper posture.
- Quickness – reacting and changing to body position in all planes of motion
Why do agility cone drills?
When people think of fitness they generally think of cardio, weights or flexibility. There are other forms of fitness though. As we’ve mentioned there is speed, agility and quickness, but also mobility, mental, balance, power and more. Now we know what SAQ training, is why is is beneficial? It’s great if you play sports like tennis, basketball, or football as SAQ can help improve your game. If you want to improve your PR on a race then agility cone drills can help you work on stride length, direction changes and speed. Let’s look at the reasons why:
- Increases movement skills
- Improves body awareness
- Decreases risk of injury
- Uses more muscles than steady state cardio
- Increase calorie burn with shorter duration workouts
- It adds variety and interest – It’s fun!
- Great for kids!
5 Agility Cone Drills
So you got a set of agility cones, now what? Let’s talk about 5 ways to use those cones, improve your cardio and get you a workout that’s going to torch calories. It’s important to note that these drills should be done with rest intervals. So do one drill, rest for 30 seconds and repeat. The idea is that you go AS FAST AS POSSIBLE while maintaining proper form and posture during the exercises. Movements include sprinting, back pedaling, side shuffle, and carioca. [If you aren’t sure of a carioca it’s a continuous grapevine, crossing the legs in front and behind as you move sideways].
This drill requires 3 cones placed 5 yards apart. Start at the middle cone and sprint to the left cone (5 yards). Then to the far right (10 yards), and back to the start cone (5 yards). You can side shuffle or carioca the 10 yards. Rest, and repeat this time going to the right cone first.
Setting up similar to the 5-10-5 drill simply add one more cone for a “T”, keeping 5 yards between each cone. Start this time at the bottom of your “T”, and sprint to the top center. Side shuffle 5 yards to the left, then carioca 10 yards to the far right, side shuffle 5 yards to the center cone, and back pedal 5 yards to the start. Rest and repeat this time sprinting forward then shuffling to the right cone first.
Super easy set up. Take four cones and place them at the corners of a square, approximately 10 yards between each cone. Starting at the bottom side shuffle to the right, sprint forward to the top of the box. Side shuffle to the left, and back pedal to the start. You can either rest here or immediately reverse everything sprinting forward, shuffle right, back pedal and shuffle left.
Zig Zag drill
This drill is a little more involved and requires more cones. Set the cones on a zigzag pattern 10 yards apart laterally as shown above. You can choose a variety of options to move quickly from cone to cone in a zigzag diagonal fashion. I like the following:
- back pedal
- side shuffle
- side shuffle
After reaching the last cone you can rest, or reverse by sprint, back pedaling, carioca, carioca, side shuffle, side shuffle, sprint, back pedaling. I like to use the colored cones so I know that blue = shuffle, white= carioca, etc.
Quick Tidy Drill
This is a drill I used to do with the kids when I taught fitness camps. Place the cones in square or circle and stand in the center. Call out a color and sprint as fast as you can to that color cone and bring it back to the center. This works mental fitness, quickness, speed and agility, but it also tidies all the the cones away simply and quickly. I’ve done a few different variations of this with larger groups of kids (20+) and it’s always fun. If it’s just you on your own, then set out 10-20 cones, use a timer at 20-30 second intervals. Hold a plank or squat and when the timer sounds, go grab a cone and bring it back, then reset into your plank/squat. It’s killer.
Profect Sports Agility Cones
Profect Sports sent me a set of their agility cones to try out and I can definitely say they get two thumbs up from me! The cones come with their own stand, a bag and in a variety of colors. There are 50 cones in this set, which means you can get a heck of a workout! This bumper set also makes them great for fitness coaches like me. One thing I really liked about this set is they are durable. A few of my other cones broke when I client accidentally stepped on them. These folded, then popped back into shape. I used the Profect Sports agility cones in the agility cone drills above and was very impressed, and would recommend!
On a side note, get used to seeing more park workouts from me. We have a new park by us and it’s so freaking quiet there. I love it. I’ve done my cone workouts, walked, hiked, used the volleyball sand for a ‘beach workout’ and took my yoga mat for my outdoor yoga practice. It’s been so much fun working out outdoors again. More outdoor workouts coming soon!
Have you used agility cones in a workout?
What’s your favorite way to get in cardio?
Do you like to workout outdoors?