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Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ)

SAQ focuses on biomechanics of movement, movement efficiency, coordination and reaction training. Agility in boxing is the ability of an individual to react to changes in direction without loss of speed or accuracy (Hoffman, 2002), By working on SAQ drills will increase your athletes ability to move around the ring like Naseem Hamed or Muhammed Ali. Think of the scenario, when evading an opponent, your quick reactions and effective footwork can be the difference between getting hit and creating an opening in which to counter. An example would be a boxer using a step back as a defensive measure to a jab, then moving forward to counter the opponent with their own jab. This skill requires a combination of strength, power, speed, balance and coordination to accelerate then decelerate backwards to evade the punch, then project themselves forward to land the counter punch.

The Science behind Speed, Agility and Quickness.

One of the basic objectives of speed and agility training is to increase impulse production, by generating greater force in a given time (see RFD graph on the power page). Many functional movements have a ballistic nature, even when from a static position. For instance, when throwing the jab, most boxers have a slight counter movement, increasing the leverage to generate force. Without such preparatory counter movement, the jab would lack power and speed.  This eccentric concentric coupling phenomenon is known as the stretch shortening cycle (Baechle and Earle, 2000) and can be trained using not traditional boxing training methods.

According to Hoffman (2002), SAQ training has been shown to improve muscle motor recruitment through several mechanisms:

  1. Increases in the synchronisation of motor unit firing.

  2. Efficiency of the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs.

  3. Muscle hypertrophy.

  4. Muscle fibre type conversion.


Safety Considerations

It is important to remember that SAQ training is designed to supplement resistance training, as SAQ exercises are performed at high intensities and put significant strain on the body. A novice boxer or someone who is introducing strength and conditioning to their training for the first time, should complete six months of traditional resistance training first (Brown and Ferringo, 2005, and Schoenfeld, 2016).


Double Feet Ladder Drill, In and Out Explosive Vertical Jump

Forward Lunge with Unstable Kettlebell Carry

Single leg Deadlift with Straight Arm Reach

Box Jump On, Drop Off and Vertical Explosive Jump

In and Out Ladder Drill, With Punches

Single leg Deadlift with Dumbbell Back Row



  1. Baechle T,R., and Earle R,W., (2000) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. National Strength and Conditioning Association. Human Kinetics.

  2. Brown, L,E., and Ferrigno, V,A., (2005) Training for Speed, Agility and Quickness. Human Kinetics. 

  3. Hoffman, J (2002) Physiological Aspects of Sport Training and Performance. Human Kinetics. 

  4. Schoenfeld, B (2016) Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy. Human Kinetics 

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