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SAQ - Speed, Agility and Quickness Training

I've spent a huge part of lockdown continuing my studies to further the interest into programme designs for fitness clients... the topic this week being SAQ. Not only is this type of training great for sportspeople, but also for sports novices looking to improve their overall health and fitness levels when they start training with me! The aim is to provide as many different training options to all athletes whether they train once per week, or several times per week to seek out what they find most enjoyable. Once a session becomes enjoyable then we will notice more adherence to a training programme and therefore more fitness goals will be met!

SAQ training offers variety to sessions, alongside core work, cardiovascular (long, steady cardio) endurance, strength training and flexibility training, to name just a few! It can be used for athletes looking to improve the speed of their runs, or the technique with which they are able to perform certain movements - for example, a netball player needing to move around a court in order to catch the ball whilst dodging other players. This requires great amount of control and good hand-eye coordination at varying speeds; they need to be able to accelerate, decelerate and even stop efficiently with as low risk of injury as possible. Runners looking to increase their speed of runs will need to improve their power output and levels of fast twitch muscle fibres to increase speed of movement whilst considering the different terrains they run across, again whilst lowering any risk of injury.

As previously stated, SAQ training is not limited to just the intermediate or advanced athlete; it proves very useful for a novice to include this type of training regularly within their sessions too. We come across situations in everyday life in which we may need to react to something in a fast-paced manner - crossing the road for example, then realising a car is closer than we may first have thought. We would need to be able to step back onto the curb without hesitation, right? Or consider that as we get older we are more likely to have falls if we have less muscular control than that of a younger person. Being able to react quickly to changes in terrain may save us a few falls in the long run.

Not only this, but the fact that as we use more muscles in a short amount of time, we start to metabolise more. A faster metabolism helps to burn calories and therefore helps clients whose goal may be weight loss...even if your goal isn't weight related, SAQ training will still help to improve your fitness levels, since the heart rate will be elevated and heart rate will have increased. With enough practice over time, we can soon increase the speed with which we move and improve the efficiency of the heart to provide us with enough oxygen to sustain longer bouts of exercise. Longer exercise duration in turn leads to an improvement in muscular endurance, strength and even power. Everyday movements become even easier and the fitness goals we first started with become the ones we once dreamed of.

Agility Ladder Lateral Drills - I have permission from client to post.

A lot of information with regards to the benefits of SAQ training so far... so what actually does it include? Short drills that use agility ladders, cones, boxes, steps and football fields among other equipment or sports facilities. Drills start at the very basics, and can progress vastly to lots of different variations based on the end goal. I worked recently with some of my clients to test out drills (see my instagram post here) in which we used cones and the agility ladder.We only worked for around 10 minutes of the session on these drills as an introduction to this training, but we will be sure to use them again since they not only helped to continue the warm up process, but provided some laughs along the way too. Movements aren't limited to just a forwards motion - my clients practiced moving sideways and backwards to further their understanding of movement patterns and improve their proprioception (moving in a direction in which you may not be looking for example).

T-Cone Drill - I have permission from clients to post.

I've loved being able to introduce SAQ training into recent sessions and have had some great feedback from clients too. I aim to create all-round programmes for my clients with something fresh each session - moving as many different muscles in as many different ways as possible helps to engage various body parts as well as the athlete's mind. All exercises are taken in a controlled manner to ensure both safety and efficiency for the client, as well as looking at the correct posture whilst moving - this soon translates into better everyday movement patterns and habits and always looks to reduce the risk of injury. SAQ training seems to be a win-win for everyone!

For more information about SAQ training, drills, or exercise sessions with a difference please get in touch! I have some availability for personal training sessions, whether online via Zoom or face-to-face around the Billericay area (Covid-19 measures in place where necessary). Additionally, please keep in touch if you have enjoyed reading this and let me know your thoughts - instagram @ajrpersonaltrainer

Keep moving,


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