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Agility in Physiotherapy- An Important Aspect

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Agility is a term used to describe the dynamic coordinated movements of the body. Read this article to learn the importance of agility in physiotherapy.

Written by

Dr. Kayathri P.

Medically reviewed by

Mohammed Wajid

Published At April 26, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 11, 2023

What Is Agility?

Agility is the ability to perform coordinated movements with the brain and the body leading to dynamic changes in speed, direction, stopping, and starting, such as in a soccer game. It is an important component of physical fitness for many sports players. It is important in combat and ball sports, such as football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. They are also used in patients who have some form of disability due to surgery or accidents to improve speed and balance.

How to Test Agility?

  1. Balsom Agility Test: It is similar to running direction while playing soccer, and it is designed for soccer players. Players start from point A and run to point B. From point B, they sprint to point A, and from there, they turn left to point C and run to point D. From point D, they sprint to point C, turn right, and sprint back to point B at the finishing gate. It can be used for comparing the players at different levels.

  2. Lateral Change Direction Test: This test is used for testing the agility of handball and basketball players. Three cones are placed in a line, each five meters apart. The player stands behind the middle cone and moves left or right based on the signal from an assistant. The player touches their designated cones first, returns to the middle cone, and then the far cone, touching each of them. Then the player will return to their original position behind the middle cone. This completes the test, and the shortest time is noted down to compare agility.

  3. Star Agility Test: This is designed for children in the range of eight to ten years of age. They are allowed to run inside a star-shaped field in forward, backward, and side steps from the center. Their agility can be measured by noting down the time taken.

  4. The T-Test: This test will measure the ability of the player to change direction even at higher speeds. In a T-shape, four cones, A, B, C, and D, are arranged. After a signal, the players start running from cone A to cone B, shuffle left to cone C, shuffle right to cone D, and shuffle back left to cone B. Then, the player finally runs backward to reach cone A. The total time taken is counted to assess agility.

  5. Illinois Agility Test: It is one of the many tests used to test agility. It is used in the training of tactical athletes. Adequate space, eight cones, and a timer are the basic requirements to conduct this test. Each cone is placed ten meters away and the individual starts lying near the first cone face down. The individual has to run from cone one to eight and then weave back from eight to ten. Time taken is recorded to measure agility.

Why Is It Important?

It is important to restore the lost form and function of individuals having significant disabilities through rehabilitation. Speed and agility training is incorporated into the rehabilitation to restore functional movements. In athletes, sports injuries occur, and these have to be treated immediately. To prevent recurrence and heal completely, agility training is important. Some of the conditions that may require agility training are:

What Can Be Done to Improve Agility?

There are many drills that concentrate on agility and speed drills to help treat patients and in training the athletes to change speed and direction. A few of them are:

  1. Static Balance: The individual is asked to maintain posture and has postural control while sitting on a stability ball. They can also be asked to stand on one leg to develop static balance.

  2. Dynamic Balance: The individual is asked to sit on a stability ball and do various arm and leg movements. They are also asked to do side steps, tandem forward walking, and walking while carrying some weights in their hands.

  3. High Knees Wall Drill: The individual is asked to stand near a wall with the arms and legs extended. The individual is then asked to alternate both knees to the hip up and down. This should be done in a fast manner. To improve agility, the individual is asked to perform an opposite arm swing with a slight change in speed.

  4. Weave in and Out: Place four cones at a distance of three meters apart from each other. The patient is asked to run from point one to a point present on the left side (midpoint A between points one and two). From there, the individual runs to point two. From there, the individual runs to midpoint B between points two and three, which is in alignment with midpoint A. Similarly, the individual is asked to run through all four cones.

  5. Box Drill: A square box is marked with points A, B, C, and D. At the midpoint of the square, a cone is placed. Taking the cone as a starting point, the individual is asked to run and reach the various points as called out by the instructor and return to the starting position. This exercise is repeated after 30 to 90 seconds.

  6. Walking and Sprints: The individual is asked to walk or run as fast as they can from a start point. Their agility is calculated based on the distance covered. Variations in the speed, turn, stop and pivot turns are included in this walk or sprint. Sometimes inclines and declines are incorporated to improve agility.

Guidelines for Agility Training Are as Follows:

  1. Allow time for an adequate warm-up.

  2. The players should have appropriate strength and conditioning to perform this training.

  3. It should be performed as the first sequence in a training session.

  4. It can even be done on separate days, concentrating only on agility to prevent overuse and avoid fatigue.

  5. Rest in between each set or repetitions.

  6. Two to five sets can be done in a single day, and two times per week is enough.

Conclusion

Agility is defined as the ability of an individual to run, increase and decrease the speed, stabilize, and quickly change directions without loss of postural control. Agility training is aimed at performing movements swiftly. The individual will require a strong core and good balance while doing agility training.

Mohammed Wajid
Mohammed Wajid

Physiotherapy

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physiotherapy
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