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Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for Best speed ladders

For many sports and other physical activities, having quick, agile feet can take your performance to the next level. From Crossfit workouts to football, the ability to pivot in an instant and change direction can mean the difference between success and failure. But sprints and other typical running activities aren’t always enough to improve your agility. A speed ladder can help you kick your footwork up a notch.

A speed ladder, also known as an agility ladder, is an ideal tool for athletes who are training for specific sports, as well as for anyone looking to add variety to their usual workout routine. It consists of a series of rungs at regular intervals and can be spread across a floor, field, or any flat surface. Speed ladders encourage you to move your feet quickly to clear each rung in your path.

Choosing the right speed ladder means figuring out the best length and width, number of rungs, and rung intervals that will help you meet your training goals. Making sense of all your choices can get confusing. Fortunately, our handy shopping guide provides all the information you need to find the ideal speed ladder for your next training session.

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Training with a speed ladder can improve your ability to turn, accelerate, and move laterally.

Key considerations

Length and width

Speed ladders are available in a variety of lengths, typically ranging from 6 to 32 feet, with 15-foot ladders being most common. While longer ladders obviously allow you to work on your agility for an extended period, they may not necessarily be the best option for your training regime. Some users find that shorter speed ladders actually allow them to focus more effectively on their footwork, since there’s less ground to cover.

Most speed ladders are 16 to 20 inches in width. When you’re trying to decide on the best ladder width for you, consider the size of your feet and how much space you need to comfortably land when you’re moving across the ladder.

Number of rungs

The number of rungs that a speed ladder features usually depends on its length. For the standard 15-foot ladder, however, you can typically choose between different rung number options to find the arrangement that best suits your needs.

In most cases, you can decide between 8, 11, 12, and 15 rungs. Keep in mind that a ladder with more rungs means that there’s less space between them, so you’ll have to move your feet more quickly. If you’re new to training with a speed ladder, it’s usually best to choose a model with fewer rungs. But if your footwork and coordination are already fairly advanced, a ladder with more rungs may be a better challenge.


It’s important to consider the materials that a speed ladder is made from so you know that it can hold up to repeated use, as well as outdoor training sessions. Most ladders feature durable plastic rungs that won’t break if you accidentally land on them. Nylon is the best material for the side straps because it’s lightweight but still strong, easy to clean, and resistant to UV rays, making it ideal for outdoor use.

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Expert Tip
Speed and agility ladders are not just for serious athletes. They are a great training tool for older people to improve their balance, speed, and agility. A simple exercise like lateral walking or running, in which the individual focuses on placing both feet in each square as quickly as possible and repeats for a desired amount of time, is an excellent way to improve overall cardiovascular health.
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Speed ladder features


To gain the most control over your speed ladder sessions, it’s a good idea to choose a model that allows you to adjust the spacing between the rungs. Adjustable ladders enable you to customize your workouts as you improve your agility, coordination, and footwork, so your training is always challenging no matter how long you’re working out.


While a speed ladder is designed to lay on the ground, it might move around as you jog across it — especially if you’re training on grass or dirt. Some models allow you to attach the ladder to soft ground with stakes, which prevents the ladder from shifting as you train, so you’re less likely to get injured.


Some speed ladders have snaps running along their nylon straps, which allow you to connect two or more ladders together to increase the overall length. If you’re training by yourself, this feature may be unnecessary. But if you’re purchasing a speed ladder for a sports team or a group to use, the ability to connect multiple ladders can come in handy.


If you train outdoors or work out in multiple locations, being able to easily take your speed ladder with you on the go is an important feature. Fortunately, most ladders are highly portable because they’re made of lightweight plastic and nylon and are easy to roll up.

For even more portable convenience, opt for a model with a carrying case or bag. Having some type of container for the ladder makes it easy to grab and prevents it from getting tangled. A carrying case or bag also makes it easier to store your speed ladder.

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Expert Tip
Speed and agility ladders are great tools for high-intensity interval training. My favorite exercise is lateral ladder running for 30 seconds followed by a 60-second rest and repeated for 5 sets.
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Speed ladder prices


The most affordable speed ladders range from 6 to 15 feet in length and cost between $10 and $25. These ladders are ideal if you’re new to agility training and are training by yourself.


Ladders that cost between $25 and $50 are usually 15 to 20 feet in length — a good option if you have some experience with agility training but aren’t an expert.


The most expensive speed ladders are usually between 20 and 30 feet in length and cost between $50 and $90. They work well if you’re an agility training expert or you’re looking for a ladder to use for team training.

Expert Tip
Speed and agility ladders are also a great tool to use for a warm-up prior to an intense exercise session since they can activate the major lower body muscles in all 3 planes of motion and elevate the heart rate and core temperature.
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  • Using a speed ladder can be an effective way to get warmed up for any workout. Aim to run across it for 5 to 10 minutes before you move on to your main activity.
  • When you use a speed ladder, make sure to move across it on the balls of your feet to really work on the speed and precision of your footwork.
  • When you’re running across a speed ladder, the goal is to improve your footwork; it’s not to raise your knees as high as you can. Lift your knees to a comfortable height — not necessarily waist-high.
  • Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle as your run across a speed ladder, but allow your arms to move with you as you would when you’re doing a basic jog.
  • Avoid looking down at your feet when you’re running across a speed ladder, especially if you’re working on your agility and footwork to improve your performance for a sport. You don’t want to get in the habit of looking down rather than out across the field in a game situation. 
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Some speed ladders can tangle easily, so take care when you’re rolling up your ladder for storage.
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Speed ladder drills can be an effective warm-up for your workout because they loosen up the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your lower body.


Q. What type of surfaces can you use a speed ladder on?

A. A speed ladder can be used on nearly any flat surface. You can use it on indoor surfaces, such as hardwood flooring that you might find in a gym. It also works well on tile and vinyl flooring, though you should make sure that your shoes have good traction so you won’t slip as you’re moving across the speed ladder. On outdoor surfaces like grass or dirt, it’s best to secure the ladder with stakes.

Expert Tip
Another favorite exercise of mine is lateral hand walks. For this exercise, start in a pushups position with both hands in a square of the ladder and take hand steps into each square with your feet following for the desired amount of time. This exercise promotes shoulder stability and strength while also recruiting significant core muscles.
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Q. What sports is speed ladder training suitable for?

A. Training with a speed ladder can help you with any type of sport that requires quick footwork, be it soccer, basketball, football, lacrosse, or even martial arts.

Q. Can I use a speed ladder to climb vertical surfaces?

A. Speed ladders are not meant to bear any weight. While the plastic and nylon components are durable and sturdy, they’re not strong enough to support an individual using it to climb vertically up a surface. If you try to use the ladder in that manner, you can expect to fall and get injured.

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