It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of steady state cardio. If you really enjoy the monotony of pounding the pavement, then sure go ahead and run. But unless your goal is to run a marathon, steady state cardio is doing you no favors. 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.
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. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary set of Profect Sports agility cones. This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission.
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What is agility training?
Whether you’re just looking for a more challenging cardio workout, or you want to work on SAQ (speed, agility and quickness) for sports. Then agility cone drills can help. But what is speed, agility and quickness training?
- 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
Agility training can be an important part of fitness routine if you play sports like football, soccer, tennis or basketball. There are many ways to encompass agility training from speed ladders, cones, squares, lines or hurdles.
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 previously 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?
- 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!
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.
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.
The first drill is a simple and easy one, called the 5-10-5. This drill only requires 3 cones ,placed in a line. Each cone needs to be 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 run, sprint, 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” shape. Keeping 5 yards between each cone. Start this time at the bottom of your “T”, and sprint to the top center.
Just as with the 5-10-5, 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 for the box drill. Take four cones and place them to form the corners of a square. Have 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.
Once back at the start you have options. You can rest here, then repeat in reverse order. Or immediately reverse everything sprinting forward, shuffle right, back pedal and shuffle left. Resting once you’ve done both directions.
Zig Zag drill
This zig zag drill is a little more involved, and requires more cones. Set the cones in 5 foot intervals along 2 parallel lines that are 10 yards apart. How many cones you use is entirely up to you.
The idea is to move laterally from cone to cone in a zigzag diagonal fashion. I like the following:
- back pedal
- side shuffle
- side shuffle
Upon reaching the last cone you have options: You can rest, reverse the zig zag working backwards, or spring around the start ready to begin again. The latter version works well if you have a workout buddy who you can tag.
Quick Tidy Drill
This is a drill I used to do with the kids when I taught fitness camps. Place ALL 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 (and stack it). If you have group of kids you can choose to call individuals.
This works mental fitness, quickness, speed and agility. But, it also tidies all the the cones away simply and quickly, with no complaining. 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. Set a timer at 45-60 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
The folks at Profect Sports sent me a complimentary set of their agility cones to try. After using cheap dollar store cones for a while, the Profect set get an enthusiastic 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 a client accidentally stepped on them. The Profect agility cones folded, then popped right back into shape. Very durable!
If you want a fun way to workout outdoors, that is a break from your usual cardio HIIT then I highly recommend agility cones. Along with agility ladder workouts they are a great way to add a little something different to your fitness routine. If you have a budding sports star in your family, these are a must for fitness training. Plus if you have kids, agility cones are a great fun way to spent an hour at the park.
- Have you used agility cones in a workout?
- What’s your favorite way to get in cardio?
- Do you like to workout outdoors?