Episode # 57

Best Methods for Improving Sport-Specific Agility

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Released on April 14, 2016

In this weeks episode, Joe sets the record straight regarding the REAL way to improve an athlete’s sport-specific agility!


6:30 – Joe talks about the common things you’ll find online when you search “agility training”

9:55 – Joe begins to explain his history with agility training and how he used to train his athletes [and how that impacted his philosophy today]

                        Essential tools for improving agility… NOT!!!

15:15 – Joe reveals the 2 fastest NFL athletes of ALL TIME in the Pro Agility Drill and their connection to “DeFranco’s Training”

17:00 – Joe clarifies the purpose of this podcast [which is to reveal the 2 most overlooked methods for improving an athlete’s on-field agility]

18:25 – Joe gives an example of “his” version of a productive agility drill and how it differs from almost every other common agility drill you’ll find online

24:00 – Joe verbally explains the specifics of an agility drill he uses with his NFL running backs

29:05 – When/How cone drills CAN be effectively incorporated into an athlete’s program [They’re not always “bad”]

33:30 – Joe talks about the benefits of playing “tag”

36:10 – Joe reveals THE SINGLE BEST WAY to improve your true sport-specific agility

39:00 – The importance of developing eccentric and isometric strength

43:05 – Joe explains his favorite isometric strength exercise for athlete’s looking to improve their agility

47:10 – Joe gives an example of how he adds an unpredictable “verbal stimulus” to one of his favorite strength exercises

50:20 – Joe shares his favorite eccentric strength exercise for athlete’s looking to improve their agility

52:45 – The importance of incorporating unilateral exercises into your strength program

55:00 – Joe talks about improving athletes’ sprint and shuttle-run times through strength training methods alone!


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  1. Hello Coach Joe,
    Awesome article, I really like the idea of a visual and audio stimulus used in agility training. I am in US military Special Operations, we have S&C coaches that run my team through speed and agility days. We do use the ladders for warm ups and most of are drills are a football based agility drill. i plan to discuss with my coaches maybe adding in a visual and audio stimulus to our drill, but also if you had any idea for drills more military specific? It is important in our job to make those split second decisions, move from cover to cover, change directions quickly and react on visual and audio cues. Any info or thoughts will be much appreciated.

  2. Hi Joe,

    How many sets and reps would you do for the stop and go deceleration farmer’s walk? How many times a week would you do it? How much weight would start off with? Example: I’m 170lbs. Would you do this before a lower body workout or after? Thanks!


  3. Hey Joe:

    Loved this episode, just like the others. My son is a soccer player (attacking midfield) and speed and agility are important for his position. Many of the things you spoke about in the episode seem to apply more to football (though I realize that the Bulgarian Splits are applicable to all). Can you point me to any soccer-specific training methods that might benefit him? Not sure if anyone in your membership site has this skillset or not. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us each week.

  4. JD,
    Thanks for the kind words…I’m glad you’re enjoying my podcast content. Regarding the younger, less skilled athletes…. Your thought process is CORRECT. I DO use ladders with younger, less skilled athletes to help with their general “conditioning”, coordination, body awareness…and it’s FUN for them. I also use it to incorporate COMPETITION within each workout (which I feel is important for overall development of the athlete). So you are on the right track!! SIDE NOTE: I also use the ladder with my older, advanced athletes within my warm-up. I really like incorporating (barefoot) single leg ladder drills (straight hops, sideways hops, fwd/bwd hops, etc) into my warm-up. It’s been one of my “staples” for years. Also, it’s great as a “conditioning” tool (both aerobic & anaerobic). To break up the monotony of our aerobic/recovery days – I started having guys do ladder drills at a low intensity while wearing a heart rate monitor (and keeping their heart rate in a specific range). I’ll write 8-10 ladder drills on the board and have them cycle through them for 10-20min. (If their HR gets too high, they rest until it comes back down to the desired range and then continue performing the drills.) The time goes MUCH faster when you do your aerobic work in this manner, compared to sitting on an exercise bike or going for a jog, etc. Hope this helps!!

  5. Coach Joe,

    First off, another great show! I’ve been a listener since episode #1, and appreciate all the time and effort you put into sharing your knowledge and experience with the world. I couldn’t agree more about the value of unplanned agility training versus conventional “agility” drills (ladders, planned agility). But I wanted your thoughts on something. I do use ladders for my younger, less skilled or experienced athletes occasionally. I don’t look at it as training to improve their agility, but more so coordination and body control in a controlled environment. What are your thoughts on using ladders, if at all, and what do you feel is a right reason to incorporate them into your programing?

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