When it comes down to it, we all want to be the best version of ourselves. We want to move through our days with coordination and ease and maybe a little bit of poise, and to do that, we have to train our bodies so that they can perform all of the activities that make life such a joy.
So what can we do when we realize we want to keep up when playing with our kids, try our hand at surfing for the first time, or just move better while we’re doing our daily activities like bending over the sink to do the dishes?
One way is with SAQ training, which begs the question… What in the world is SAQ training?
What is SAQ Exercise Training?
SAQ stands for speed, agility, and quickness training. The term has been around since the 1980s. It’s a type of functional training, which means it supports your body both inside and outside of the gym.
To get familiar with SAQ workout training, let’s break it down into its respective categories.
Speed, of course, refers to how fast you can move in one direction unhindered.
The classic example of speed in motion is in track and field: watching a runner barrel down a track at maximum speed is an incredible sight to behold. Training your speed is important because it works your muscles as they express a full range of motion. This ability to maintain strength within that full range of motion results in the flexibility and power that we all need to have to achieve peak performance.
A great move to improve your speed is with a falling start drill. In this movement, you’ll stand in an area with lots of space (a track or field is definitely preferable). All you have to do is lean forward and let your body start to fall. Once you feel like you’re going to faceplant, bring a foot forward and start sprinting. Try sprinting 10 yards at first and work your way up to 25 or 30.
Agility is the ability to move fast and with ease.
When it comes to the A in SAQ drills, changing direction is the key. This type of movement is one that we see in sports all the time—a soccer or basketball player faking out an opponent, a boxer working their feet in a hyper-fast dance to get ahead of their opponent, and a football player avoiding a tackle are all examples of agility exercises at work.
An example of an agility conditioning exercise could be a classic grapevine drill. For these, you’re going to start standing up in an area with lots of room around you. Step to the right with your right foot, cross your left leg in front of your right and step on to that, bring your right foot back around and step onto it, then cross your left leg behind your right foot and step onto it. From there, you’ll repeat for a few yards and switch to the left side. Try to move faster and faster as you practice.
Quickness is all about optimizing your reaction time.
Reaction time is both straightforward and incredibly nuanced – we all know what quickness is, but in a game of baseball, fractions of a second as a player runs to first base while others try to get them out come down to reaction time.
Whether or not you’re stepping onto a baseball field anytime soon, quickness can come in handy when we catch an item that is falling off of a table or jumping out of the way when a kiddo on a bike rides past you on the sidewalk.
A great way to improve your quickness is with a single leg hop drill. If you have cones or mini-hurdles, line 5-10 up about 2-3 feet apart (the closer together, the easier). Now, hop over each hurdle on one foot, swinging your arms to help you move faster. Once your foot touches the ground after your last hop, break into an explosive sprint for about 5-10 yards.
Contrary to traditional strength training, SAQ training is all about finding movements that combine these key elements because each is powerful on its own, but together they support spatial and body awareness. Having this type of awareness not only helps you get stronger and move better, but it also protects you from injury.
When we are speedy and agile, and quick, our bodies make improvements to our movements in a way that makes them feel innate and instantaneous. Have you ever slipped on a smooth surface, managed to catch yourself before any damage happened, and found yourself shocked at your ability to stay upright? That is the type of movement we are seeking to support with SAQ training!
Any good workout routine is well-rounded and functional, and incorporating a SAQ training session into your regimen is a guaranteed way to improve your physical fitness. All of our locations have ample space for you to practice. You can also try SAQ workouts on our digital fitness platform, iExtra Care Tips. Try it out today for free!