Why You Should Never Chase 2 Rabbits

I’m based at Edge Gym in Leeds. It’s so far removed from your average chain gym, I prefer not to call it a gym. It’s a performance facility. Because of this, we get a lot of athletes from various sports and of varying abilities.

Now, when you ask most guys in the gym “what are you working on today?” you’ll most often get “back and bi’s today” or “chest and tri’s”. On the odd rare occasion you might even get “legs and shoulders.” These are the classic body building split routines. Great at preparing for a body building competition and helping you move like a cheap toy robot, no good for sport.

But (most of) our guys are a bit more up to date than that. However, last week I asked this question to one of our full time rugby players. Here’s his answer.

“A bit of SAQ and then some power work.” 

This guy’s really into his training to improve his rugby and on the face of it, his response is a step in the right direction from the body building routines. Or is it?

At least the guys with the bodybuilding style routines know what they’re trying to achieve. They want to make their back and biceps hurt like crazy. And if they can feel the burn in the right places then it’s goal achieved for the evening. 

But SAQ? What does that really mean? 
What are you trying to achieve from that session? 
How do you know if it’s been successful?

You can’t train speed, agility and quickness at the same time. They are different qualities. My good friend Tom Little proved that with his PhD study on professional footballers. 

Not only that, but you can’t just train speed OR agility either. There are too many different skills and situations involved. Accelerating from different positions, decelerating, open steps, cross over steps, plyo steps, hip turns, body position, posture, fakes, the list is endless. 

If there are 2 rabbits in a field, you can’t chase them both. But if you just aim for one and lock on to your target with laser-like focus, you’ve a much better chance of success.

You won’t get faster by training SAQ. Instead, spend a month to 6wks focussing on one or two sport specific speed skills 2-3 times per week. That way you can incorporate the physical requirements into your gym and warm up routines, as well as in your game situations. By the end of the month you should have noticeably improved your side step and acceleration away from the side step. 

By noticeably I mean other people will be able to notice.

Yours in Speed

Rob Gascoyne

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