Whether you’re training for strength, endurance, or a combination of both, the benefit of adding speed, agility, and quickness drills to your fitness routine can take your game to the next level. All athletes can benefit from improved balance, quicker feet, and a faster reaction time, and this is exactly what Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) drills help you achieve. While SAQ drills are often thought of as interchangeable, it is important to recognize how these components are related, as well as how they differ.
General refers to the speed of which you’re able to move your arms and legs, in a way that allows you to move as fast as possible in a straight line. This is often referred to as linear speed. If you notice you have difficulty keeping up with or breaking away from your teammates and competitors, you will likely benefit from adding speed drills.
While speed refers to moving in a straight line, agility is the ability to change direction quickly and effectively. If you struggle moving side-to-side, or find yourself off balance a lot, agility training will help improve your performance.
While speed and agility rely on a combination of core and lower-body strength, quickness refers to your body’s reflexive reactions. Quickness measures your instant and rapid responses, and drills to improve these abilities usually only last several seconds. If you have trouble getting your body into position quickly or lack explosiveness in your first few steps, adding quickness drills to increase your reaction time will help you be a quicker athlete.
Speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) training is too often associated with sports and other physically demanding activities. Upon closer observation, we realize we have missed the everyday events and activities that can greatly benefit from SAQ training. You never know when you’re going to run after your kids, play a pick up game of basketball, or cut through the trees during your next ski trip. This method of training can help with the previously mentioned scenarios, but will also enhance workouts for anyone who is involved in recreational sports, exercises on a regular basis, or simply enjoys activities such as walking a dog or playing with their child.
As fitness professionals, we see so many people that come to the health club or gym to run on treadmills, climb on elliptical machines, or pedal away on bikes almost every day. Traditional modes of cardiorespiratory work lend to repetitive motions with little, if any, emphasis towards the frontal or transverse planes of motion. In order to cater to the body’s need for stability in all planes of motion, the fitness professional should integrate movements at varying speeds and body positions into their client’s training plan. This can be made possible with SAQ training, in addition to adjusting exercise selection and techniques.
Speed is defined as the ability to move the body in one direction as fast as possible. Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize, and quickly change directions with proper posture. Quickness is the ability to react and change body position with a maximum rate of force production (1). All three components will enhance the client workout experience, satisfy the need for cardiorespiratory work, and provide variety in movement direction and position.
A gradual and structured progression is highly recommended for a client that has not incorporated a regimen for speed, agility or quickness. The following SAQ moves can be implemented 2-3 times/week into an existing workout or as a stand-alone workout with a warm-up and cool down.
A change of workout regimen will break up the monotony of the typical cardio routine. SAQ training, when implemented after a KCA, will complement the assessment results and more importantly, prepare the client for activities that they participate in, both occasionally and on a regular basis.
JOIN OUR SAQ WORKSHOP
Active Education regularly conducts workshops in SAQ training, open for all coaches and athletes that would like to learn more about what SAQ is and how to implement it into their training regimens. Have a look at our recent workshop in the Norwegian capital – Oslo – below: