Are you bored of attending the gym day in, day out, week in, week out and performing the same generic and monotonous exercises? Does your workout regime need to be spiced up a notch or two? If so, then speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) training could be just the thing you’re looking for right now.

Regardless of your chosen activity, whether it is gym work or rugby, nearly every activity you can think of at some stage requires a near maximal effort. If we use the same sporting examples once again, this might be a heavy bench press at the gym or forming part of the scrum in a game of rugby. There’s really no escaping it.

Maximal effort is a key feature of SAQ training, where you are required to undertake maximal force and efforts whilst working within a high speed movement.

This principle makes it an ideal training alternative to traditional strength training and as a result is becoming more and more popular in gyms up and down the country. For health and safety implications, it is important to note that you require a basic foundation and strength and conditioning prior to undertaking any form of SAQ training. It is not suitable for novices.

Let us now move on and take a look at each factor within the SAQ remit; those being speed, agility and quickness variables.

Speed, Agility And Quickness Training

This training variable focuses on the ability of an individual to move from a static state to maximal speed in the shortest possible time. In sporting terms, this can be best demonstrated by 100m sprinters initially moving out the blocks at the start of a race. Factors affecting acceleration include stride frequency and stride length.

Stride frequency can be enhanced through methods known as sprint assisted training, for example downhill running. Conversely, stride length is increased through sprint resisted exercises such as uphill running.


This training focus is all about stopping, starting and rapid changes of direction. If you can perform these three requirements efficiently and effectively then you are said to have good agility levels. In terms of sporting examples, agility can easily be noted within basketball where players are constantly required to exploit ever moving and changing spaces. Agility also makes reference to whole body balance and maintaining a state of equilibrium.

Exercise examples include shuttle runs and multidirectional sprinting drills to name but a few.


This training variable relates to the ability of an individual to perform the required action in as little time as possible. An example of this would be a fielder in cricket who quickly dives to catch a ball headed in his direction. The success of quickness can also be described and explained through reaction time; that is, the mental recognition and information processing to the physical act required as a result.

Quickness tasks should involve elements of speed, complexity, reactivity and unpredictability and include skipping and plyometrics.

Final Word

So there you have it, SAQ training in a nutshell. If implemented correctly and undertaken with the required intensity then SAQ training has the ability to transform your mental and physical capabilities. Surely something this good should be featured in your weekly regime?