Whether you’re a Marine or a spouse trying to keep up with your Marine, you may be asking yourself “why should I incorporate agility drills into my work out?” Not only does agility work improve the acceleration and deceleration going into and out of a cut, but it also develops better coordination, reduces your risk of injury, and increases stabilization of your lower body joints.

Ready to add agility work to your fitness regimen? Here are a few ways to get started.

3 Things to Focus on When Cutting/Juking (changing directions)

  • Maintain control – Decelerate until you are almost at a stop, but maintain control so that you are still able to move in any direction. If you feel like your upper-body is leaning too far forward, that means you’ve lost control and stability, which increases your chance of falling over or injuring yourself.
  • Get low to the ground – Whether you are about to cut, juke an opponent, or slow down, always bring your body’s center of gravity (COG) closer to the ground. You can accomplish this by lowering the height of your hips and upper body, but make sure you’re not hunching over. A low COG is important for reducing your risk of injury. If you try stop quickly or change direction while your body is still upright and high your upper body will be thrown out of alignment which could cause you to topple over or injure yourself. Continue to keep your body’s COG low even when you are coming out of the cute/juke. This will help you accelerate and push-off more effectively.
  • Halt arm movement – Are you struggling to maintain control? The culprit may be your arms. While you’re slowing down and getting low to the ground all arm movement should stop. When you’re running your arms help propel you forward, right? In the same way stopping arm movement will make it easier for you to slow down. Holding your arms at the side of your body (out and away, not pressed against your hips) can help you decelerate and assist with rotating your body in a new direction.

Now that you’ve mastered these three skills it’s time to take your workout to the next level. Follow these guidelines to progress through any agility drill:

  • 50% of full speed – This will help you get used to the motion and feet-work of the drill. Your first goal should be getting the motion down properly. This will help with coordination and will lower your chance of injury.
  • 75% of full speed – Increasing your speed (intensity) will prepare your body for absorbing the force that will be applied when cutting/juking. Even though you are now working out at a faster speed your main focus should still be on performing the movement properly.
  • 100% speed (maximum effort) – Run your drill at full speed while maintaining the proper form. Correct movement and proper form is critical at this speed because risk of injury increases as velocity and force increase.

To locate a Marine Corps fitness center near you, click here.