Squash – Don’t lose your match before you step on the court
Curiously, squash players, novice and advanced alike, will invariably warm up the ball they play with, and yet, these same players often neglect to warm up their most important equipment – their bodies!
Modern squash is a great workout. It is also notoriously hard on the body. The quick stop and start movements can stress the groin, knees, achilles, ankles and feet; while the low, lunging motions actively engage the hamstrings, gluts and lower back. It is important for your performance, and for your ongoing health, to warm up your body before playing; not afterwards, or with the onset of an acute injury.
Typically, a player will spend most of a match at 80% of their maximum heart rate. You wouldn’t start your car in -35° temperatures and expect immediate performance. Your body is no different. However, court time can be precious. Fortunately, at One Health Clubs, our squash members have access to our full service gym facilities. The next time you are at the club for a match, try some of the following:
- Steady aerobic exercise to elevate you heart rate. You can use our state of the art equipment; or, keep it simple by spot running, doing stride jumps etc.
- Wake up your squash muscles with some plyometric exercises. Lunges and Speed Skaters are a few excellent options. For added benefit, try lunging onto a BOSU balance ball. It will engage the large muscles of the leg, as well as the small, stabilizing muscles of the ankle and the foot. Don’t be afraid to ask our expert trainers for some tips.
- Stretch from head to toe. Stretching during your warm up phase is not meant to increase flexibility (save that for your training sessions). Make sure you stay within your range of motion and get your body ready to perform. It is particularly important to stretch the achilles and the arch of the foot to deter the onset of a myriad of leg and foot related squash injuries like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, shin splints etc.
- Warm up with some agility exercises such as line-touches (from the “T” to the wall) and front court to back court runs (try running forwards and backwards).
- Work through some “short court” on-court hits such as mini squash tight to the wall or ladder drills.
When you walk through that door, make time for a court warm up routine. Stretching and warming up can become contagious, and will spur others to do the same. It can also prolong your playing career and improve your overall fitness for the future.