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Survival Fitness Plan Blog/General Health and Fitness/How to do the Illinois Agility Test

How to do the Illinois Agility Test

Learn how to do the Illinois Agility Test including Illinois Agility Test Tips for faster times

Learn how to do the Illinois Agility Test.

So what is the Illinois Agility Test?

The normal purpose of Illinois agility test is to assess speed and athletic agility.

The Australian Police use it in their recruitment test, which is how I came across it. My friend was joining the police.

In the Survival Fitness Plan, the Illinois Agility Test is a training tool as opposed to a test of agility. Being agile is great for parkour and other Survival Fitness Plan activities.

How to Set up the Illinois Agility Test

To set up the Illinois Agility Test you a space at least 5m x 10m in area and 7 markers. Athletic cone markers (witches hats) are ideal. You can get some here.

Have a baseline for your start and finish. Place the starter marker on the far left and the finish marker 5 meters to the starter marker's right.

In the middle of these markers place another marker, but put it a little above the baseline. You need to have enough room to run between it and the baseline. A 1/2 m gap is good.

Place another 3 markers along the same line vertically. Spread them out 3.3 meters apart.

Finally, 2 meters to the side of the top marker, place another marker. Also, place one on the other side.

The placement of the markers does not have to be exact. 4 or 5 natural steps is more or less 3.3 meters. The exception to this is if you want to compare times and/or are testing for some professional purposes. In that case, a long measuring tape. Get a sports measuring tape here.

Illinois Agility Test Diagram

I got this Illinois Agility Test diagram from sjosm.org but I see it all over the web so I doubt they drew it. I can only assume the creator has allowed liberal use of it. If you are the creator of this image and want me to take it off this website please let me know.

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Illinois Agility Test Layout

How to do the Illinois Agility Test

To do the Illinois Agility Test, start at the start marker lying flat on your stomach. Your hands are behind the start line. Start on your timers command.

  • Sprint up and around the first marker on the left, at the 10m marker.
  • ​ Sprint back and then weave through the center cones, up and back.
  • ​ Sprint up and around the last marker on the right, at the 10m marker.
  • ​ Sprint back and stop the timer when you cross the finish marker.

How to do the Illinois Agility Test Video

This video gives a good break-down of how to do the Illinois Agility Test. The markers are set up a little differently, but the actual test process is the same.

FYI. The maximum Illinois Agility Test time allowed for the Australian Police is 20 seconds. Try to be better than that so you can outrun the police if you need to ;) .

Illinois Agility Test Tips

Once you are. familiar with the Illinois Agility Test, you can concentrate on improving your speed. The best way to improve your Illinois Agility Test time is to focus on the individual elements. There are 3 basic skills you can improve in;

  • Get up and sprint
  • ​ Sprinting
  • ​ Slalom

Get up and Sprint

The most common mistake here is that people get up and then sprint in 2 distinct movements. Instead, work on exploding up straight into the sprint.

To do this, push up off the ground so you propel yourself forward, as opposed to pushing straight up. At the same time, lunge one leg forward so it is in position to push straight off into the sprint. Use your strongest leg to make the lunge so you get as much explosive power into your sprint as possible. For most people, this will be your right leg.

How to Sprint Faster

If you have a bad running technique improving it can make a big difference in your sprint speed.

Sprinting is also an efficient form of exercise. It is far more effective to do short sprints than it is to run/jog long distance. Sprinting gives the same health benefits in a much shorter time. It also has other benefits that jogging or running do not offer.

Unlike jogging or running, when you sprint you will be creating explosive power. This is very important in parkour, which is a big part of the Survival Fitness Plan. Also, sprinting is more useful than jogging when it comes to escaping from danger. If you do need to run a long distance then by practicing parkour you will have the endurance to do so anyway. More-so than if you went jogging every day.

Proper Running Technique

Proper running technique will enable you to go faster and longer while using less energy.

When running (sprinting) keep your elbows bent at 90º and move your hand from your pocket to your chin.

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Move your hand from your pocket to your chin

Move your knees and elbows in unison. As you drive your elbows back, bring your knees up. Then as your hand goes to your chin, drive your leg back down.

Be sure to bring your hand from your pocket to your chin. The further back your elbows go the higher your knees will go.

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The further back your elbows go the higher your knees will go

Keep your chin level, eyes focused forward, core engaged, and shoulders relaxed. Also, have your torso upright as opposed to leaning forward. This posture keeps your mass vertical. It means your feet will strike the ground with more force and hence you will produce more speed.

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A proper posture makes you faster

Even when you get tired, always keep correct running form.

Breathing

While running you use up a lot of oxygen which you need to replace.

Breathe Through your Mouth

This allows more oxygen to enter your body. It also prevents you from clenching your teeth together which may cause headaches.

Note: When breathing normal, breathe through your nose. Your nose is the body’s air treatment system. It filters, humidifies, and warms the air before it reaches the rest of your body. Also, breathe through your nose if you have to run in a high pollution area.

Use Belly Breathing

Learn this first by lying on your back. As you exhale use your stomach muscles to help expel all the air out of your lungs. To inhale, relax your stomach muscles and let the air come in.

Once you are comfortable with belly breathing use it while sprinting.

Breathe in Step

Breathing in time to your steps is the easiest way to regulate the rhythm of your breath. This is useful to track and control certain things while you are running.

At a normal run rate (not sprinting) stay at a 2:2 ratio. This means to inhale over two steps and then exhale over two steps.

During harder runs, you may need to change the ratio to 1:2 or 2:1.

When you go up a hill maintain the same ratio of breath as you were using before the hill. This ensures you use the same amount of energy to get over the hill.

To fix a side-stitch while running slow your breathing to a deeper 3:3 rhythm.

Another way to fix a stitch is to expand and contract your diaphragm in the opposite direction as normal. When you breathe in, make your stomach contract. When you exhale, make your stomach expand.

Note: Breathing at a 1:1 ratio or faster may lead to hyperventilation. Also, if using a 3:3 ratio or slower you may not get enough oxygen into your body.

Slalom Running (Weaving)

The act of weaving (running slalom) is itself an exercise used to improve agility. This means that there isn't much you can do to improve it other than to actually practice it.

Many beginners weave too wide around the cones. In particular when circling around the top one. Keeping your turning circle tight can help shave a second or two from your time.

Training in evasive running or doing other agility improvement activities to may also help.

How to Train in Evasive Running

Evasive Running is the ability to move away from an obstacle whilst running. Train to evade humans as they will be the hardest to outsmart. You want to go in whichever direction is hardest for your opponent to go.

When learning evasive running use a running speed a little slower than sprinting. You want to be quick but not so quick that you will get injured whilst performing the movement.

As you approach your opponent look him in the eye. It will make it harder for him to predict where you are going. You want him to think that you are charging straight at him.

If your opponent is square on with you but is not on the balls of his feet then it should be easy to pass him on either side. This is in the left picture.

If he has one side forward more, evade him by going to the other side of his body. It will most likely be his weaker side and will also be harder for him to maneuver in that direction. In the right picture, you would maneuver to her left since her right foot is forward.

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When learning evasive running use a running speed a little slower than sprinting

If he angles away from you then go the opposite way. In the picture, she has stepped to her left with her right foot. Evade to her right, to the outside of her.

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If he angles away from you then go the opposite way

You can practice this with a friend. Have your friend face you square on as you run towards him. When you are close your friend steps toward you and you evade in the best direction.

You could also practice against a stationary object. Run towards it and evade on either side at the last moment.

Illinois Agility Test Conclusion

So now you know how to do the Illinois Agility Test. You also have quite a few Illinois Agility Test tips to help you improve your speed times.

Once you get familiar with the basic test, concentrate on improving on each of the 3 elements. Pop up straight into the sprint, run with good form, and keep your turning circles tight. Above all, keep practicing.

Did you find this article about how to do the Illinois Agility Test useful? If so, please share it with your friends.

Article by Sam Fury

Sam Fury is the creator and owner of the Survival Fitness Plan.

He has had a passion for martial arts and outdoor pursuits since he was a young boy growing up in Australia.

As a young adult he joined the military and studied outdoor leadership in college. After that, to further his skills, Sam started traveling to learn from the best in the world in various fields related to the Survival Fitness Plan including various martial arts in China, SE Asia and Brazil, Parkour in Singapore, Surf Life Saving in Australia, and others. 

These days, he still enjoys learning new things, traveling and sharing what he has learned via the Survival Fitness Plan. 

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