Jukić I. et al.
EQOL (2009) 15-18
CAN AGILITY TRAINING AFFECT ATHLETIC POWER
PERFORMANCE?
Igor Jukić, Goran Sporiš, Luka Milanović, and Daniel Bok
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Abstarct
Propose of this study was to determine effects of agility training on athletic power performance. Eighty
healthy college-age men (age 19 ± 1.1 years; body mass 77.2 ± 7.1 kg; height 180.1 ± 7.1 cm; body fat
percentage 10.8 6 1.6) participated in this study. Subjects were assigned randomly to 2 experimental
groups (EG) and 1 control group (CG). The EG groups were required to perform 3 sessions per week on
alternate days
(i.e., on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for 10 weeks. There were no statistical
significant differences between CG and EG in initial measurement, also there were no differences found
between CG in initial and final measurement. The main result of this study is associated with the aglity
training-induced changes in athletic power performance.
Keywords: agility, training effects, power performance
Introduction
For high level competition efficiency it is necessary to have adequate motor and functional abilities.
Importance of all abilities vary from sport to sport, in fact abilities need to be in correspondence to
demands of given sport. As any training regime, physical conditioning has its own way to transform an
athlete from initial state to another desirable final state (Gambetta, 2000). Majority of sports have in their
structure different changes of direction. The ability that is used in such movement patterns is called
agility. When it comes to conditioning agility is defined as an ability of quick and efficient body transfer
through space in terms of quick stops and changing direction of movement (Harman et al., 1990; Hess et
al.,
2001). Same authors represent agility as ability which makes it possible for an athlete to change
directions, quick stops and perform fast, smooth, efficient and repetitive movements (Miller et al., 2006).
When we look at the same problem in wider context agility can be called speed coordination. In terms of
specific situational conditioning some sports use term specific agility, because it has specific movement
patterns. Basic methodology of agility training makes learning of basic walking technique, running
technique, change of direction, jumps and landings
(Wroble and Moxley, 2001). These are basic
movement structures which are of vital importance for successful dealing in any sport. If movement
technique is better athlete is more effective in competition and effects of training. Knowing the
complexity of agility training the Propose of this study was to determine effects of agility training on
athletic power performance.
Methods
Subjects
Eighty healthy college-age men (age 19 ± 1.1 years; body mass 77.2 ± 7.1 kg; height 180.1 ± 7.1 cm;
body fat percentage 10.8 6 1.6) participated in this study. The study was carried out at the beginning of
the 2003/04 during summer semester. It was a two-week testing period in both phases and it was done by
experienced professionals, members of the Sport Diagnostic Centre at the Faculty of Kinesiology. The
study was a randomized controlled trial. Subjects were assigned randomly to 2 experimental groups (EG)
and 1 control group (CG).
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Table 1. Plan of experiment and testing
Initial testing
2
5 week of training /
3 Control testing
5 week of training / 3 times Final testing 2
wk
times a week for 60 min
1 week
a week for 60 min
wk
Training procedure
The EG groups were required to perform 3 sessions per week on alternate days (i.e., on Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday) for 10 weeks. The program entailed 30 training workouts for each subject in
both experimental groups. One unloading week was introduced between the two 5-week cycles (see also
Table 1). Training sessions in both experimental groups lasted 60 minutes and began with a standard 15-
minute warm-up: 5 minutes of jogging, calisthenic exercises, and stretching. All agility training were
performed on an indoor athletic running track. The training program employed by each experimental
group is outlined in Table 2.
Table 2. Agility training program for the experimental group
Week
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
Duration of training
Inic Inic
60
60
60
60
60
60
60
60
60
60 Fin. Fin.
Learning movement technique of
+
+
+
+
direction changing task
Frontal agility
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
Lateral agility
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
Agility with changing direction of
+
+
+
+
movement up to 900
Agility with changing direction of
+
+
+
+
movement up to 900 and more
Horizontal and vertical agility
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
Agility in random reaction tasks
+
+
+
+
+
+
Statistical analyses
Measures of centrality and spread are shown as mean _ SD. Effects of training within each group were
assessed using Dunn’s multiple comparison procedure incorporating the Bonferroni correction to
maintain the family-wise type I error rate at
0.05. By using the Bonferroni correction, the
0.05
significance level was divided by 3 (3 t-tests), yielding a type I error rate of 0.0167 for each t-test. The
within-group ES is defined as the difference between posttest mean and pretest mean divided by pretest
SD (Thomas et al., 1997). The between-group ES is defined as the difference between experimental group
posttest mean and control group posttest mean divided by control group pretest SD.
Results
There were no statistical significant differences between CG and EG in initial measurement, also there
were no differences found between CG in initial and final measurement. Statistical significant differences
were determined among EG in initial and final measurement (p > 0,001) and CG vs. EG in final
measurement (p > 0,001). Changes in the 2 measures of athletic performance are depicted in Table 3. EG
significantly (p > 0.001) improved in all sprint tests, SP5, SP10, and SP20, these improvements were
significantly (p > 0.001) In all the countermovement tests (p > 0.001) and standing long jump tests (p >
0.001) significant improvement was detected in EG.
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Table 3. Differences between experimental and control group in initial and final measurement
Variable
Initial measurement
Final measurement
CG
EG
CG
EG
SP5
1,12 ± ,13
1,09 ± ,12
1,11 ± ,11
1,06 ± ,03‡
SP10
1,87 ± ,14
1,86 ± ,13
1,87 ± ,23
1,77 ± ,09‡
SP20
3,14 ± ,16
3,15 ± ,17
3,09 ± ,19
3,02 ± ,09‡
CMJ
43,27 ± 5,30
43,17 ± 5,20
43,17 ± 5,22
43,01 ± 3,22‡
CMJ1L
29,76 ± 4,04
29,74 ± 4,00
29,66 ± 4,13
29,12 ± 3,00‡
CMJ1R
28,98 ± 3,83
28,96 ± 3,82
28,77 ± 3,67
28,11 ± 2,63‡
SLJ
187,28 ± 13,53
187,18 ± 13,43
187,16 ± 13,48
186,58 ± 9,22‡
SLJ1L
172,07 ± 14,33
172,12 ± 14,24
172,06 ± 14,14
171,37 ± 8,11‡
SLJ1R
167,69 ± 14,97
167,58 ± 13,88
167,66 ± 14,87
166,29 ± 9,34‡
*Values are expressed as mean ± SD
‡ Statistically significant at p < 0.05 for experimental (EG) and control group (CG) in final measurement
Discussion
This study evaluated the selective effects of 10-week agility training on athletic power performance in
physically active men. The main result of this study is associated with the aglity training-induced changes
in athletic power performance. In particular, we demonstrated that 10- week agility training significantly
improved leg extensor strength (Table 3). Hence, our data represent a rather novel finding that could be of
considerable importance for improving training methods aimed at enhancing athletic power performance.
Information regarding the effects of agility training on muscle function and athletic performance is
generally lacking. Few studies showed significant improvements in sprint performance as a result of
short-term sprint training (Callister et al.,
1988; Young et al., 2001; 2002; Markovic et al., 2007),
supporting our findings and the well-known principle of training specificity (Sale, 1992). When it comes
to training it would be best to implement agility training at beginning of training session or beginning of
the main part of training because nervous system is ready stimulus of that type (Bompa, 1999). Volume of
agility training depends on given sport and actual demands, training should be as intense as in
competition (Brittenham, 1996). Therefore agility training directly effects on nervous and muscular
system and needs certain time to regenerate (Buttifant et al., 1999;). This is one of the reasons why
improvement in power performance of athlete was detected as positive effect of agility training (Table, 3).
Because of that agility exercises are usually used at the start of main part of training session when body is
at full work rate. Training should be formed out of short intervals of intense workload (3-10 sec) and
appropriate intervals of rest. Intervals of rest provide good basis for quality of work. Agility training with
specific task that combine reaction on a specific signal resulted with improvement in athletic power
performance. In particular, it appears that the improvements in jumping (but also in sprint and agility)
performance as a result of agility training could be partly the result of improved leg extensor strength and
power. Therefore, it is possible that the agility training used in this study could have improved subjects’
jumping performance primarily by improving muscle coordination. However, this is only an assumption,
because the recorded parameters do not provide the bases for a more specific interpretation of the
obtained results. Highest improvemet was detectied among EG on SP5, CMJ1L and SLJ1L. We can
concude that aglity training has positive effect on movement technique (Sayers, 2000) and ability to
produce force in leg muscle more efficiently (Rimmer and Sleivert, 2000). Single leg movement improve
intra and inter muscle coordination which result with better athletic power performance in sprinting and
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Jukić I. et al.
EQOL (2009) 15-18
jumping tasks (Adams, 1984; Paterno et al., 2004). This is one of the reasons why subjects in EG had
better results in SP5, CMJ1L and SLJ1L tests.
To enhance explosive muscle power and dynamic athletic performance complex agility training
can be used. The findings of this research indicate that agility training also can be used effectively as a
training method for improving explosive leg power and dynamic athletic performance. Therefore, in
addition to the well-known training methods such as resistance training and plyometric training, strength
and conditioning professionals may well incorporate agility training into an overall conditioning program
of athletes striving to achieve a high level of explosive leg power and dynamic athletic performance.
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