The purpose of a warm up is to prepare the body for what is to come. Therefore, it should reflect the type of training session it precedes. On a high intensity training sessions should begin with a warm up whose instinsity builds. I like to include agility ladders towards the end of a warm us session before higher intensity training days.
Agility ladders have usually been the domain of court and field sports. Given the change of directions and numerous accelerations involved in these sports, agility ladders will help develop these qualities. So, why should a track and field athlete utilize agility ladders?
Coordination is a major component of athletic success. Sprinting depends highly on coordinating a sequence of movements at extremely high speeds. Then, if you add in a jump or throw as your limbs are moving a high speeds, coordination becomes even more important.
Rhythm and repetition is also a component of nearly every track and field event. Every trip down the track, runway, or through the circle involves the repetition of a cadence and rhythm.
Also, I purposely use the term agility ladder, not speed ladder. If the goal is develop coordination and rhythm, the mindset of getting to the end of the ladder as fast as possible defeats these goals. Rushing to end of the ladder, stepping/tripping on the rungs, and not being able to repeat the rhythm and cadence through the last rung does not develop athletic skills.
Here is an agility ladder warm up I use early in the GPP during a warm up on neuro muscular days during the GPP.
Below is my son going through this routine.