Effects of SAQ Training and Small-Sided Games on Neuromuscular Functioning in Untrained Subjects

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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The main objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of both programmed (speed, agility, and quickness; SAQ) and random (small-sided games; SSG) conditioning methods on selected neuromuscular and physical performance variables.


Twenty volunteers (21.1 ± 4.0 y, 1.71 ± 0.09 m, 66.7 ± 9.9 kg; mean ± SD) completed the study. The study design used two physically challenging periodized experimental conditions (SAQ and SSG conditions) and a non exercise control condition (CON). Participants engaged in 12.2 ± 2.1 h of directed physical conditioning. All participants had at least 24 h of recovery between conditioning sessions, and each 1-h session included 15 min of general warm-up and a 45-min exercise session. Participants completed a battery of tests (15-m sprint, isokinetic flexion/extension, depth jump) before and following the training program.


There was a 6.9% (95% CI: -4.4 to 18.3) greater improvement in 5-m acceleration time and 4.3% (95% CI: -0.9 to 9.5) in 15-m mean running velocity time for the SAQ group compared with the SSG group. In addition, increases in maximal isokinetic concentric strength for both the flexor and extensor muscles, with the exception of 180 °/s flexion, were greater in the SAQ than SSG condition. The SAQ group also showed 19.5% (95% CI: -11.2 to 50.2) greater gain in reactive strength (contact time depth jump) and 53.8% (95% CI: 11.2 to 98.6) in mean gastrocnemius medialis activity in comparison with SSG.


SAQ training should benefit the physical conditioning programs of novice players performing invasion games.

Polman is with the Centre for Applied Sport and Exercise Science, University of Central Lancashire, U.K. Bloomfield is with the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland, University of Ulster, U.K. Edwards is with James Cook University, Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, Cairns, Australia.