Trending Topics

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you for reading and supporting our efforts.

The importance of agility and change of direction training for law enforcement officers

Starting a training program will better equip officers to perform optimally during their shifts, enabling physiological adaptations to be called upon at a moment’s notice

Before beginning any new workout program, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider. This consultation is crucial to ensure the safety and suitability of the exercise routine based on your current health condition and medical history. Starting a new fitness program without professional advice may lead to injury or adverse effects on your health. Always prioritize your wellbeing by seeking guidance from a medical professional before engaging in any new physical activities.

Watch the video to learn beginner-level agility and change of direction drills. Domex Strength and Fitness recommends starting your exercise program with the following routine: perform 2 sets of each exercise, at least twice per week.

By Daniel Borowick

Why is agility needed in a law enforcement officer’s daily job?

Agility is one of the most critical skills that officers need to exhibit daily. The ability to confidently move in all three planes of human movement (sagittal, frontal and transverse) will aid officers not only in increasing their confidence to pre-emptively act to avoid dangerous situations but also in reacting more efficiently to stressors and mitigating musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries.

These multi-directional maneuvering patterns will enhance optimal human performance attributes and aid in career longevity. Without a fundamental basis in agility, an officer may find it difficult to perform pre-emptive or reactive movements when most needed, both for themselves and their colleagues.

What are agility and change of direction drills, and why are they necessary?

Both share physical and cognitive characteristics, yet they differ from one another.

Agility is the ability to move and react quickly, involving both a physical and a perceptual-cognitive component. It allows us to move with velocity and speed, thereby producing power at a higher output. A lack of agility results in slower movements, reduced reaction time, velocity and speed, compromising optimal performance while on duty.

From sitting idly in a patrol car to suddenly pursuing or apprehending a suspect, an officer needs elements of reaction, speed and power. To deploy from their vehicle quickly and efficiently, an officer requires agility, which provides the confidence to perform tasks such as arrests, foot pursuits or tactical entries into residences while carrying the external load of their duty vest, belt and weapon, which can weigh between 20-40 pounds. SWAT operators carry even more, including breaching tools based on their team role.

Change of direction is the ability to move in a new direction or pattern while decelerating, only to readjust and then reaccelerate.

This involves physical capacity and proficiency in technique. An officer demonstrating a change of direction might pursue a suspect straight-on only to abruptly redirect due to an obstacle like a wall or parked car.

Lastly, agility and change of direction training benefit officers by creating distance from suspects, as reaction time is critical in dynamic situations. Furthermore, agility and change of direction training will reduce the onset of MSK injuries. Weak ankles and tendons can lead to injuries in the ankles, knees, hips and lower back — negatively affecting walking and running gait.

Need agility training equipment? Check out these choices:

Start training

Although law enforcement officers and the general population often overlook agility and change of direction training, starting a well-devised training program in these areas will better equip officers to perform optimally during their shifts, enabling physiological adaptations to be called upon at a moment’s notice and reducing the onset of MSK injuries.

For additional program designs focused on agility and change of direction tailored to law enforcement officers and tactical athletes, contact Domex Strength and Fitness at

About the author
Daniel J. Borowick, MS, CSCS, and founder of DOMEX Strength and Fitness, LLC is a former DEA Special Agent who has over 27 years of tactical experience in federal (DEA) and state (New Jersey State Police). Currently, he is a strength and conditioning specialist serving in the U.S. Army’s (H2F) Holistic Health and Fitness Program. You can reach him through their website, via Instagram and Facebook or