NASM Chapter 12 Speed, Agility and Quickness Training

Concepts in Speed, Agility and Quickness Training

  • Quickness
    The ability to react and change body position with maximal rate of force production, in all planes of motion and from all body positions, during functional activities.
  • Speed
    The ability to move the body in one intended direction as fast as possible.
  • Agility
    The ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize, and change direction quickly while maintaining proper posture.
  • The Programming component of Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ) training is similar to plyometric (Reactive) training in which he individual reacts to the ground surface in such a way to develop lager than normal ground forces that can be used to project the body with greater velocity or speed of movement.
  • Agility refers to short bursts of movement that involve a change in direction, cadence, or speed.
  • Quickness refers to the ability to react to stimulus and appropriately change the motion of the body.
  • This program enhances client’s ability to accelerate, decelerate, and dynamically stabilize their entire body during higher-velocity acceleration and deceleration movements.
  • SAQ training may further help the nervous system to respond or react more efficiently to demands placed on it.


  • Stride Length
    The distance covered with each stride.
  • Stride Rate
    The number of strides taken in a given amount of time (or distance).

Proper Sprint Mechanics

  • Proper running mechanics allows the client to maximize force generation through biomechanical efficiency, allowing maximal movement velocity to be achieved in the shortest time possible.
  • Backside Mechanics
    Proper alignment of the rear leg and pelvis during sprinting, which includes ankle plantar flexion, knee extension, hip extension, and neutral pelvis.
  • Frontside Mechanics
    Proper alignment of the lead leg and pelvis during sprinting, which includes ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion, hip flexion, and neutral pelvis.



  • Agility – Ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize, and change direction quickly while maintaining proper posture. Requires high levels of neuromuscular efficiency to be able to maintain one’s center of gravity over base of support while changing directions at various speeds.
  • Proper agility training can help prevent injury by enhancing body’s ability to effectively control eccentric forces in all planes of motion as well as by improving structural integrity of connective tissue.



  • Quickness – The ability to react and change body composition with maximal rate of force production, in all planes of motion and from all body positions, during functional activities.
  • Quickness Involves ability to assess visual, auditory, or kinesthetic stimuli and to provide the appropriate physical response as fast as possible(such as hitting a baseball or swerving to avoid car accident).

Speed, Agility, and Quickness for Nonathletic Populations

  • Although Speed, agility and quickness training is a widely used and accepted way to improve sports performance in athletes, components of SAQ program also significantly improve physical health profile of apparently healthy sedentary adults and those with medical or health limitations.
  • The increased neuromuscular, biomechanical, and physiological demand for such training can aid in weight loss, coordination, movement proficiency, and injury prevention when applied safely and effectively as seen in OPT model.
  • Unlike the more common steady-state, moderate-intensity modalities (such as treadmill walking) often prescribed for nonathletic populations, SAQ drills require greater integration of a variet of the body’s biologic systems.
  • It is essential that personal trainers perform extensive client evaluations examining exercise experience, movement quality, health history and injury profile before beginning an SAQ training program.

SAQ Training Programs for Youth

  • Children are constantly growing, developing, and maturing until early adulthood. Children are programmed to develop progressively higher neuromuscular capabilities in line with their physical and mental maturation.
  • The environment must challenge children’s biologic systems; must learn through external measures how to adapt and apply appropriate movement patterns.
  • SAQ training for the youth is an effective way of providing a variety of exposures to various physiologic, neuromuscular, and biomechanical demands, resulting in the further development of physical ability.
  • SAQ programs decrease likelihood of athletic injury, increase likelihood of exercise participation later in life, and improve physical fitness.
  • Example games for youth training are:
    1.Red light green light drills
    2.follow the snake.

SAQ Training for Weight Loss

  • Interval training is highly effective in improving variety of health-related factors.
  • High intensity, short duration programs have been found to match or surpass results for functional capacity, muscular power, fat and weight loss, and other metabolic adaptations when compared with moderate-intensity, long-duration exercise protocols.
  • High intensity, short bouts of SAQ drills make them valid choice for interval training modalities with appropriate nonathletic populations.
  • When designing SAQ programs for weight loss, primary focus is to keep heart rate appropriately elevated to increase fat oxidation and caloric expenditure.- This can be done by creating small circuit SAQ exercise programs.
  • Example exercises include: Jump rope/cone shuffle circuit.

SAQ Training for Seniors

  • Primary function of SAQ for seniors is to prevent age-related decreases in bone density, coordinative ability, and muscular power.
  • SAQ training aids in prevention of injury and increase in quality of life.
  • Movement confidence and proficiency are essential in senior populations to aid in prevention of falls and maintain activities of daily life.
  • Sarcopenia, age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass, slowing sarcopenia are interventions requiring speed of movement and rate of force production.


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