Squash – The Ultimate Cardio Workout
Squash is an indoor racquet sport that can be played by two or four players in a four-walled court. Squash combines speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, aerobic and anaerobic fitness. With squash targeting all of these elements makes it an ideal sport to improve ones fitness. The intensity and speed that squash is played at makes it a great cardiovascular workout. When players reach a certain level in squash they are able to hit the ball with precision and power, they are able to start playing tactically and placing the ball all over the court in order to wear down their opponent and hit winning shots. This is when squash becomes very addictive, and the more we play squash the fitter we get. To be fit for the game of squash makes an individual fit for many other sports. Of course other sports use different muscle groups and techniques but the cardiovascular fitness we achieve through squash is certainly transferable to other sports. A game of squash can be incorporated into a cross training schedule and is highly recommended for individuals who wish improve their cardiovascular fitness that little bit further.
Calories burned per hour: 890
Muscle groups targeted: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, and Forearms
The following equipment is an essential before playing a game of squash
- Racquet – either buy you own racket or hire one from a squash centre. Weights of racquets can vary from 110g – 220g.
- Ball – the type of ball you use is best determined by the level you play at. The colour of the dot on the ball indicates its speed and degree of bounce. Double yellow dot is recommended for general play.
- Clothing – squash requires a lot of movement, so light clothes like t-shirts, shorts and skirts are recommended.
- Squash court – you can hire squash courts at a squash or fitness centre for around $15–25 an hour.
Preparing for squash competition or tournaments is the same as any other sport, practice makes perfect. We need to condition our body’s muscle memory to perform efficiently and consistently. The more we train towards improving our squash the easier competition matches will be. Both aerobic and anaerobic fitness needs to be at a suitable level to ensure muscle fatigue is avoided especially during the first 3 sets of a match. The more conditioned a player is allows them to make better shot selection during the match. Knowing you are prepared for a match physically gives the confidence to play to your fullest potential. The following table shows training schedule that is ideal to prepare for a squash tournament 4 weeks prior to competing. The reason for the weights being included into this training schedule is to improve power, speed and injury prevention. Keeping in mind that this is a schedule for an A-grade player so adjustments can be made depending on your abilities e.g. including more rest days, less weights, less/more cardio etc.
|Week 1||Comp Match||Weights: Chest & Triceps||40mins Drill Training||Comp Match||Weights: Back & Biceps||Hill Sprints
|Week 2||Comp Match||Weights: Chest & Triceps||Hill sprints & Light Jog||Comp Match||40min Drill Training||Weights: Legs & Shoulders||Rest
|Week 3||Comp Match||Hill Sprints
|Weights: Full Body Mixture||Comp
|40min Drill Training||6km jog or 30min bike||Rest Stretching|
|Week 4||Comp Match||Light weights:
Full body mixture
- Focus on caloric intake to match physical activity, too much will put on weight, too little will cause the body to fatigue quicker when exercising. Aim to eat between 800-1500 calories each day depending on how much physical activity is performed.
- Eat main meals 2-6 hours before matches to avoid playing with food in the stomach.
- High protein foods on weight lifting days (chicken breast, steak, fish, etc.)
- High carbohydrate foods on match days
- With meals try and include vegetables, fruit, whole grains to ensure starch, fibre, and essential vitamins are used by the body.
- 3 x 30g whey protein shakes, ensure 1 is taken directly after exercise, and 1 before bed.
- 2 x 5g Creatine, 5g pre exercise, 5g post exercise
- Decrease consumption of refined sugars, saturated fats, and salt.
- Magnesium tablets are useful if continuous cramping occurs
Videos on squash drills and tactics will be posted soon.