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Playing a sport is extremely rigorous and involves a lot of stamina, strength, and agility.
While some of this can be accomplished simply by practicing the sport, many athletes also have a training regiment outside of regular practice to help them be in the best shape for games.
The problem is that there are so many choices of exercise regimens that it can be hard to choose what is going to work best.
The most important thing to consider is that the exercise you are doing to prepare for games should be relevant to your regular game play.
Lifting heavy weight is impressive, but if your sport primarily requires stamina for running, being able to lift heavy is not the most useful skill.
As a result, when trying to decide how to improve squash fitness, it is important to focus on exercises that are relevant during game play.
This will maximize your efficiency and allow you to build up the kind of strength and endurance that you need to help you play your best on the court.
If you’re looking to improve or track your fitness for squash, this article will help you get in shape and sharpen your game.
Choosing a squash workout program
A fitness program that is specifically designed for squash will include exercises that target the knee, ankle, shoulder, and elbow extensions, fast lunging actions, and core exercises for stability.
If there is a specific area you are wanting to work on, it is going to be the most beneficial if you try to carry that out as close as possible to the way you would use it in the game.
For example, if you are looking to build up your stamina through cardio, running on a treadmill would help you do that, but it would not be very applicable to squash.
Instead, you can build up stamina through on-court sprinting drills that will be more relevant to the skill set you will need during a game.
While it is not necessary to do your entire workout on the court, it is certainly beneficial to complete some of it this way so that you are building up those specific skills and muscle memories.
Squash drills are extremely relevant forms of exercise that you can complete on the court.
Drills allow you to run through some of the movements you will use during a game without worrying about a ball being in play.
They also help you build endurance and power that will be useful during a game.
Ghosting is practicing movement on the court without using the ball.
This drill involves moving from the T at the center of the court to the six hot spots on each side at the front, center, and back of the court.
Start by running between the T and the hotspots in a sequence and then move into running them randomly.
As you move through the drill and feel comfortable with it, you can start lunging, squatting down, or jumping when you get to each spot; this will allow you to practice the various motions you may have to make to hit a return.
If you would like an example of what this drill looks like in action, you can check out this video.
Plyometric jumps are quick, high intensity full body movements that build both power and endurance.
You can use plyometric jumps as a squash drill by performing single jumps and changing the direction of your body and the direction of travel after each jump.
Standing in the middle of the court, bend your knees and jump forward, sideways, and diagonally at least four times in each direction before changing.
To avoid injury, make sure that you are landing with slightly bent knees and that both of your feet leave the court and make contact with the court at the same time.
This drill will help increase your stamina and build the power in your legs, and it will also allow you to practice sudden jumps and soft landings which will be relevant during a game of squash.
While you can practice lunging during a ghosting drill, it is also important to practice deep, slow lunges to help build up the muscles in your legs.
Sink as deep as you can into the lunge while still keeping safe form; your front knee should stack above the ankle and your hips should be square with your shoulders.
This exercise is beneficial for preparing your legs for stooping low to the ground for a return.
How to improve squash fitness
The best way to prevent injury is to strengthen the parts of your body that are more susceptible to injury during a game of squash.
When working your lower body, ensure that you are strengthening your ankles, knees, hamstrings, and quads. Exercises you can try include squats, lunges, and leg circles.
You should also work on strengthening your wrists and elbows because these areas can often suffer injury due to overuse.
For example, to strengthen your wrist, you can do wrist curls with a dumbbell and wrist rotations with a racquet.
You also want to make sure you are improving the strength and flexibility of your shoulders.
One exercise you can try is a thumb down arm raise.
Extend your hands to the side and slightly in front of you with your thumbs pointing down; have a partner apply slight pressure to your arms while you try to raise them above your head.
While you should try to target the previously mentioned body parts, there is not a specific correct combination of exercises you should use.
Look into exercises that target each area and choose the ones that feel the best for your body.
You can also prevent injuries by always completing a warm-up before any exercise and a cool down afterwards.
Before you exercise, complete a few minutes of light aerobic exercise such as jogging and then move into dynamic stretches that target the muscle groups you will be using most.
To cool down, complete about 5 to 10 minutes of static stretching; this stretches out the muscles that you just worked so that they are not tight later.
It also allows your heart rate to come down from the rigorous activity you were just performing.
Strengthen your core
Core strength is vital, not just for squash but also for everyday life because your core is the main muscle group that supports your movement when you are going about your day.
Strengthening the core involves focusing on the abs, the hips, and the lower back.
A stability ball is a valuable piece of equipment when it comes to strengthening your core, as there are many different exercises you can do with it.
For example, you can complete crunches, back extensions, and bridges all using the stability ball.
For crunches, lay on top of the ball with your lower back on the ball and your feet on the floor at 90 degrees.
Cross your arms over your chest and crunch upward.
For back extensions, get in a kneeling position and lean your hips on the ball; with your arms behind your head, slowly extend your back without arching too much.
Finally, for a bridge, sit on the ball and slowly walk your feet out until the ball is directly under your shoulder.
While engaging your core, return the ball to the starting position.
You can also work on your core using a medicine ball. You can perform push-ups with the medicine ball under your hands, causing you to engage your core in order to keep your balance.
You can also slam the medicine ball against the wall or down on the floor and catch It on the rebound, which will end up engaging several different muscles groups in your body.
Build speed and power
You can work on building speed and power through the drills that were discussed earlier.
Additionally, there are also some additional sprints you can try to work on your speed.
One such example is called Sprint and Go. In this exercise, you run in place and then at a previously decided signal, sprint forward 3-6 steps as fast as possible.
Similarly, you can also try the Jump Jack Sprint where you do 10 jumping jacks before sprinting forward 3-6 steps.
These type of sprinting drills will help you build up speed that will aid you in your game.
One of the most important things you can do with any workout routine is make sure you are giving yourself time to recover.
Exercise puts a lot of strain on your body because the muscles are breaking down and building back up again.
Include recovery days in your schedule so that your muscles and joints have a break.
If you increased the intensity of your workout, make sure you give yourself an increase in recovery time as well.
In addition to taking days off, make sure that you are getting enough sleep and fueling your body with proper nutrition.
You can also add some muscle recovery to your routine as well, such as foam rolling or massage to help release the tension in your muscles and keep them loose and relaxed.
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