Ickey Shuffle Ladder & Drill For Runners – A Complete Guide
There are many reasons why runners include agility workouts in their training. They not only provide a different movement pattern but also help to increase stride length and speed.
One of these agility drills is the Ickey Shuffle Ladder, and in this article, we will look at why this is one of the best agility drills for runners and other endurance athletes.
Ickey Shuffle Ladder & Drill – A Complete Guide
Named after the former NFL Player Elbert “Ickey” Woods, the Ickey shuffle Ladder has been widely used among athletes around the world. Although it takes time to learn, if you can master the drill by using the correct footwork, it can help improve speed, agility and strengthen the lower leg muscles.
While this drill is mostly used for football, NFL, and hockey players, it is a great addition to a runner’s strengthening and agility program.
By including such drills each week, it can help strengthen your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. However, what is most beneficial is the cardiovascular power, coordination, and focus it helps develop.
Unfortunately, as a runner, we often forget our body follows a singular plane when we train. That means we often lose balance and coordination from the repetitive motion of running. That is why many runners struggle with injuries.
Spending two or more sessions a week focusing on your balance and coordination can help you become a stronger runner and help your body become more balanced.
How To Do The Ickey Shuffle?
If you are looking to incorporate this agility drill into your running training, first you need to know how to do the Ickey Shuffle.
Like any agility drill, it is important to start slow and focus on the technique first. As you get the technique dialed in, you can then start to increase the speed of the drill.
Before starting the agility drill make sure your focus is on your forefoot and toes. The drill requires you to be fast and if you are landing flatfooted, this will just slow you down and make the drill make more difficult.
To begin the start by laying out an agility ladder on a flat surface, if you don’t have access to one, you can also use ropes or painted lines to mimic a ladder.
How To Do The Ickey Shuffle:
1. Start by standing on the left side of the ladder.
2. Step into the first square with the right foot. Then Immediately after move your left foot to the same position.
3. As your left foot enters the square the right foot should move laterally to the outside of the square.
4. Directly after, your left foot should immediately enter the center of the square ahead of you, followed by the right foot.
5. When you reach this position, you should be one square ahead.
6. Continue this movement until you reach the end of the ladder.
While performing this drill, keep bent knees and a slightly forward upper body position. Doing so will increase the speed of your movement while eliminating any impact on the lower legs.
When you first practice the drill, keep the number of repetitions below 5. Then allow a long recovery period (2-3 minutes) until you are comfortable that fatigue doesn’t affect your technique.
Once you’re at this point, you can start to increase the speed of the drill and reduce the recovery time.
Ickey Shuffle Exercise – Getting Started
To get started with the Ickey Shuffle exercise, you will first need to purchase an agility ladder. These ladders are widely available online and in sports stores. Below are some of the cheapest and best agility ladders on the market.
Yes4All Ultimate Agility Ladder
The Yes4all agility ladder is one of the cheapest ladders available on the market ($11.99). Although cheap is not always good, it is a good product for someone starting with agility exercises. Since it is an 8 step ladder, it’s more beginner-friendly than 12 step ladders.
Teenitor 13 Rung Agility Ladder
Another widely popular agility ladder is the Teenitor 13 Rung Agility Ladder. This ladder is for an experienced person that does multiple drills a week. Slightly longer than the above ladder, it gives you an extended platform to practice your drills. Made from premium PP material, the ladder will be durable for years to come.
Although slightly more expensive than the Yes4All Ultimate Agility Ladder, the durability more than makes up for the price increase ($16.99).
Mantra Sports Agility Ladder
The longest out of these, the Mantra sports ladder provides a complete package to perform any type of agility drills. This package includes a ladder plus cones and hooks to stabilize them to the ground. Although recommended for more towards tennis players or footballer’s it can still be beneficial to the runner. ($23.97)
Ickey Shuffle For Runners – What You Should Know?
Since endurance athletes spend most of their time working out their body repetitively, you need to develop the coordination to offset the singular plane the body performs.
Ickey shuffle for runners helps to use all planes of motion. That means by including this exercise into your training schedule you can improve coordination and stabilize the body better.
By doing short bursts of coordinated movements each week through drills, you can increase lower leg and ankle strength.
However, if your an ultra runner or trail runner, this exercise is one of the best drills to improve your lower foot stability off-road without even running.
While the Ickey shuffle is a great addition to your training schedule, you must be careful in the beginning. Often runners aren’t used to the lateral movements of agility drills, and if performed too much, it may cause minor injuries.