T Nation

Agillity Drills


#1

In my late fifties. Looking for suggestions on how to move better. I already do a bunch of mobility work, but looking to add some appropriate agility work.

Any suggestions? Thanks


#2

Sprints, plyometrics…those are pretty good. I should do more of both.


#3

Try some kettlebell movements. The simple swings do a lot for mobility, as well as the more advanced stuff.


#4

Do you have a goal in mind?


#5

Thanks for the suggestions. My main goal is to be able to move fluidly, have good balance, etc until I die. Don’t want to be the 80 YO guy shuffling around.


#6

[quote]biker wrote:
Try some kettlebell movements. The simple swings do a lot for mobility, as well as the more advanced stuff. [/quote]

I am on the basic swings. Would love to do Turkish get ups. I’ve had 6 shoulder operations so I’m trying to get the mobility/range of motion back so I can.


#7

I love pressing the kettlebell, bottom up style. My shoulder has to get really “packed” and tight, and locked in place to finish the lift, even with pretty low total weights.

1 arm presses in the half kneeling position could be a good regression, to work on stability before you jump into the get-ups.

Clam Shells and seated abductions( bad girls) have been great to open my hips and help me squat down between my legs instead of just leaning over.

Are there any specific movements or positions that you have particular trouble with?


#8

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
I love pressing the kettlebell, bottom up style. My shoulder has to get really “packed” and tight, and locked in place to finish the lift, even with pretty low total weights.

1 arm presses in the half kneeling position could be a good regression, to work on stability before you jump into the get-ups.

Clam Shells and seated abductions( bad girls) have been great to open my hips and help me squat down between my legs instead of just leaning over.

Are there any specific movements or positions that you have particular trouble with?[/quote]

Good suggestions. I’m doing some similar moves that are really helpful. I have a real hard time getting overhead range of motion.

I was wonder if many “old guys” did agility drills something like this, cones ladders, shuttle runs, etc?

http://www3.nd.edu/~ndsc/agility.html

I’ve done a lot of lifting over the year, but unfortunately not enough explosive type work. I’m wondering if many older guys do this stuff. I’d like to feel more athletic.


#9

I personally believe adding mobility work and static stretching greatly augments all aspects of training, agility included. I love Defranco’s Limber 11 for the lower halve. Static stretching, which I’ve always hated and still do, has also greatly benefitted my all round performance. Combined, you just move better as well as feel more confident under the bar, in front of the sled, sparring, etc.


#10

Personally, my mobility in the hips and shoulders was the worst when the muscles of my hips and back were weakest. My body just didn’t want to move into some positions, because the muscles it took to get there were weak. My body would find ways to “cheat” to cover for the weakest muscles, and the result was moving really badly. So if I did something complicated like shuttle runs or cariocas, I would just move through them in the worst way, and not get much out of them.

For me, the most “useful” or “productive” part of the shuttle run would be that deep sideways lunge and rapid change of direction. The best part of cariocas is keeping the spine neutral, and upper body in position while the hips swivel and shimmy.

So I just made an effort to focus on those “pieces,” and “activating” the muscles involved in them. I tried the Agile 8 and Agile 11, but I had the same problem. The moves were too much. The “groiners” or “mountain climbers” especially. My hips weren’t ready, so I cheated my way through, and actually did the reverse of what I was trying to accomplish.

I had to regress that stuff all the way to clam shells, seated Psoas holds, hip hikes, and Peterson Step Ups. By doing easy stuff I was able to get those lagging muscles going. I still do the same moves, but now I use bands and dumbbells for resistance.

I thought I would need explosive, low to high, dynamic rotational moves like I was a track and field guy. What I’ve really been doing is anti-rotational stuff. 1 arm farmer’s walk and sidebends. Pallof Presses in the half kneeling position. Step ups on the right leg, with a dumbbell in the left hand. Lunges and 1 Leg Calf raises, loaded the same way. At first I would twist and lean and fall all over the place doing these. As I got better at this boring junk, my hips became more stable, everything else got better too. With my pelvis under control I got a lot more out of hamstring and oblique work.

1 arm kettlebell swings alternated with standing leg raises are good for this. Really hinging, and feeling the hamstring on the swing. And feeling the off leg drive, and “twist the foot into the ground” with the off hip on the leg raise.


#11

Arms overhead was the same way. Find the easiest move to activate what isn’t working. For me it was just getting on my hands and knees, and moving my scapula all over the place. Then band pull-aparts. And shoulder dislocates with the band. Once I was good with my arms parallel to the ground, I got on Inverted rows and face pulls. In these moves, the arms aren’t all the way overhead, just like halfway. I could start pulling to my chest or chin, and gradually work my way up to pulling to my face or forehead as my back strength and shoulder ROM improved.

Pull aparts and rotator cuff stuff, leaning forward, or kneeling are good too. Sometimes it’s easier to get into that “thorasic extension” that you need to get your arms up, leaning over instead of standing straight up. Then shrugs, and other stuff for traps.

After months of this awful, awful stuff I got a 20 pound medicine ball to throw around to get more explosive. I just do pretty basic stuff. Swing the ball between my legs and throw it forward or backwards, over my head. Or put 1 Leg forward, then shuffle-shuffle chest-pass. Then other leg forward and try to move the same way. Deep squat into jump and overhead throw. Shuffle-shuffle shot put. The ball is cool because there is no impact. And the more coordinated and explosive your movement, the farther it goes, so you get instant feedback. Plus its really hard to over do it.

I’m working on getting back into different jumps now. Box jumps before squatting in the gym, and skipping and hopping around the backyard.

Next, I’m looking forward to squatting to a box, then jumping off onto another box. Then hitting some jump squats, with the medicine ball held between my legs.

And eventually throwing the 56 pound weight over bar.


#12

Thanks for all the suggestions. My shoulders/thoracic spine area and hips are really screwed up from 30+ years at at desk job and the associated commute. Had 6 shoulder operations the doctor said were related to being hunched over a keyboard.

I’ve been to a physical therapist/strength coach which has helped me tons. Appreciate the thoughts/reality check on regression. I probably need to work on the basics more before adding a quick movement component. I also like the Limber 11, but have a ton of trouble doing the mountain climbers.

Never heard of the Peterson set up. Is this a pretty good explanation of how you do it:

Guess the key is to step back to step forward.


#13

Yes, that’s the same video I first saw describing them.

And yes, start “up” on the toe, and as you press through, you get that forward motion. I try to make sure my knee travels over my toes. To really make sure my knee is working correctly. My right side is OK, so on that side, this move doesn’t feel like much. Its much harder and more useful for the left side.

If your knees feel pretty good, you may not get much out of them. In that case, move to something more challenging.

I do these with hip hikes, clam shells and seated Psoas holds, 2 or 3 times a day at home to stay “lined up.” The step I use is just like 2-3 inches high. Also, some band pull-aparts or face pulls and band dislocates. Low intensity, high frequency, just to maintain good alignment. Staying on top of this stuff helps me feel better day to day, move better, and sleep better. Also, it’s easier to warm up in the gym before real workouts.

Mountain climbers were a joke when I was in high school, but now they are like torture. The seated Psoas hold, and the same move standing work much better for me these days.

The desk is bad, but the commute is the real killer! I swear I’m going to get a mini van so I can sit upright, and not have to get down into the car.

Have the PT/Strength Coach taught you any useful drills or exercises? I swear, I have to try like 5 of these therapy moves to find 1 that does what I need it to.


#14

The PT I went to worked with me on some techniques from the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) in addition to some more standard PT moves. Couple of the main theories the PRI addresses is we tend to be asymmetrical (we tend to put more of our weight on our right side) and this being stuck to the right impacts our breathing, not using the diaphragm as intended.
This article gives a brief description.

This has some more discussion:
http://www.jtstrong.com/articles/2014/05/01/the-scapula-and-thoracic-spine-a-classic-love-story-to-improve-your-overhead-position/

Check You Tube for some sample exercises, I found searching “postural restoration institute exercises” will bring up a good sample.

Here is one of the thing he has me doing:

Interesting you mentioned the car. I have 250k miles on a '06 Civic couple (with sunroof cutting headroom) I bought new. I’m 6’2", 205 pounds. Might be time for something bigger.


#15

BodybuildingRev on YouTube has a fantastic workshop on squat mobility. Remember mobility is not the same deal as flexibility. I was astounded at how many guys squatting well over 400 for reps didn’t have enough power in their glutes and cores to lift themselves up off their asses.

Have a look, it it an hour long and subtitled (spoken in German) but well worth it. You’ll get some nice tips that will translate to your training


#16

Could your being 6’2" and fitting into a Honda Civic possibly explain your 6 shoulder surgeries?


#17

Great stuff John. Thanks for those links. Some junk that comes to mind;

-It’s cool how it call comes down to breathing. Maybe all that stuff about centering you chi isn’t mumbo-jumbo.

-For training the back, it seems like it’s important to row, chin or pull down, and shrug with a variety of grips, every week. If any “section” of the back is weak, some other section or muscle group will over-arch, or over extend to pick up the slack.

-For years I was afraid of “butt-wink” when squatting. I think I overdid it with the “arch your back” and “sit back” cues. My squats degraded into an ugly squat-goodmorning hybrid. Too much back, not enough legs.

On that breathing exercise with the balloon, Doc made sure the hamstrings were “on,” and that the hips and spine were lined up, like under the shoulders.

To reinforce this posture, I take a flex band, and loop it over my lifting belt. Then step through the ends of the band. I have to really inflate my abs and drive my hips in to keep the band from folding me over. Walking around this way was pretty good for my hips. Using the back squat machine with the band through the belt was great though. It was like an ultra upright, Olympic style, quad dominant squat, with no possible way to “cheat.” And because the band deloads at the bottom, it was easy not to push too hard With just the right side, or not to twist or turn in the hole.


#18

Also, if there is a Power Lifting style gym anywhere near you, I would 100% check it out. Those guys have the specialty bars, power racks, boxes and blocks, bands and chains you need to “costumize” your lifts.

The reverse hyper extension machine, and the inverse curl machine are the truth.


#19

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
Also, if there is a Power Lifting style gym anywhere near you, I would 100% check it out. Those guys have the specialty bars, power racks, boxes and blocks, bands and chains you need to “costumize” your lifts.

The reverse hyper extension machine, and the inverse curl machine are the truth. [/quote]

We belong to what some would call a family friendly fitness center. The facility I go to though, aside from the 2 machines you mention has pretty much anything you could realistically think of. Power racks that would not be out of place in an NFL weight room, lifting platform with bumper plates, prowler sled, battling ropes, plyo boxes, assorted bands, chains, etc.


#20

[quote]biker wrote:
Could your being 6’2" and fitting into a Honda Civic possibly explain your 6 shoulder surgeries? [/quote]

I did question that. I had 4 different physical therapists look at my position in the car and all told me it wasn’t an issue.

Since fuel is cheaper now than when I bought it, may go for something a bit bigger next time though.