Squash fitness is more important than many people realize. After the basic strokes and movements have been mastered there is no better way to improve your game than to improve your fitness.
The saying goes “get fit to play squash”. You need to be flexible and supple so as to be able to reach the ball but you also must have the strength to be able to hit powerful shots. Throughout all this you need to maintain enough stamina so that you mind can remain focused on the strategies of the game.
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If you are serious about improving your game then you should aim to train for at least one hour three to four times a week.
Key focus areas to improve fitness are legs, arms and stomach.
Squash involves lots of reaching and stretching for the ball therefore good flexibility is essential. Start a fitness session with some basic stretches…
Neck: Move your head back and forth slowly so that your chin touches your chest and then reverse so that the back of your head touches the upper part of your back. Repeat four to five times. Next , move your neck slowly from looking left to looking right. Finally slowly move you head in a circling motion first clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
Arms: Loosen up your arms by spinning them forward and then backwards four or five times.
Touch your toes: Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and slowly bend forward reaching for your toes. Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes just reach as far forward along your ankles as you can. If conversely you find touching your toes relatively straightforward then hold your toes with your hands and pull gently backwards until you feel the stretching at the back of your legs.
Strength and Stamina
Squash is a game where speed and movement around the court is important so ensure that your exercise routine isn’t too weight intensive. You don’t want to overdo it and bulk up muscle. Muscle is heavy and will slow you down – so avoid heavy weight, low repetition, body builder type exercises.
Step ups: Find a step or platform approximately one foot or thirty centimetres from the floor. Step onto and off of the step for one minute leading with your right foot. Repeat for a further minute leading with your left foot.
Burpees or squat thrusts: Squat down placing your hands on the floor so as to take much of your weight then with a small jump thrust your legs out behind you. Use a further small jump to bring your legs back to your original starting position. Repeat this twenty times.
Press-ups or push-ups: Lie on your stomach with your hands at either side at approximately shoulder level. Push yourself up using your arms and keeping your body straight and rigid then return back to your starting position.
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Repeat this twenty times. If you find press-ups too difficult then make your body shorter by pushing up from your knees. To vary this exercise try placing your arms closer together, i.e. directly under your body and then try placing them further apart.
You may also want to read about squash stretches which are thought to be very important prior to going on court.