Side-to-side, front-to-back, up and down. These are all different planes of motion, and being able to move swiftly and powerfully between them is one of the ways you can prevent injury and respond to unpredictable moments in everyday life.
This is called agility, or your body’s ability to be “quick and nimble while maintaining control,” Corey Phelps, a Washington, D.C.-based fitness trainer, previously told Well+Good.
Agility combines the ingredients of speed, control, and balance. It also requires building strength so that your muscle fibers can spring into action on a dime.
A new full-body agility workout from certified personal trainer Elisabeth Akinwale, who is leading Well+Good’s ReNew Year movement plan this month, will help you strength train with this goal in mind. The 9-minute session is all about maintaining control and then building up to increasing the speed.
“Focus on quality over everything else,” Akinwale says. “And then we start to push the intensity where we can.”
You’ll begin with some muscle-activating and joint-opening squat open ups, which combine a deep squat with a spinal twist and arm raise. Next you’ll move into the full-body work, which include moves like extended V crunches, Supermans, and more. This section will also have you imitating the fast footwork of a football player with some ladder X jumps (no ladder required), and will prompt your body to repeatedly recruit your muscles in changing directions with moves like plank side steps.
Take it at your own speed until you feel confident enough to pick up the pace, and you’ll soon be as nimble as the agility goals mascot, the cat.