Squash preseason fitness testing protocol

squash greg

Why test pre season?

The simple answer is to find out what kind of shape you are in physically before you start the season and identifying any physical weaknesses that may need addressing. The problem with trying to work on physical attributes during the season is that they can often be time consuming and tiring. If we can identify these problem areas quickly we can work on them when we don’t need to be worrying about fatigue during matches. It also allows us to have something to compare against at a later date to gauge progression/regression or maintenance.

Fitness testing background-squash

To see an advanced fitness program used by professionals follow the link below to the Squashfit homepage

=>Click here

It has been suggested that squash players require a mixture of speed, agility, and power combined with medium to high aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Thus, successful performance cannot be defined by one predominant physical attribute; more like an interaction of several physical components and metabolic pathways.

It is important that the player/coach/team obtain objective information about physical performances to clarify the objectives of training, plan short- and long-term training programs, provide objective feedback and motivate the player to
train harder.

Matches will provide the best test for an athlete, but in an athletic activity as complex as squash it is difficult to isolate the various components within the sport and get objective measures of performance.

Thus, fitness testing can provide relevant information about specific parts of the sport .Moreover, specific training programs can then be designed based on the players’ fitness testing results. From a practical point of view, the goals of testing are to enhance a player’s performance (i.e., providing individual profiles of their respective strengths and weaknesses), reduce the risk of injury and design an appropriate training program.

To see an advanced fitness program used by professionals follow the link below to the Squashfit homepage

=>Click here

The tests (these are basic so that we can do them simply and safely)

*get a check up if you have an underlying medical condition which may be aggrevated by intense physical work. Warm up before undertaking any of these test and you are undertaking them at your own risk.

Do not under any circumstances do all of the tests at once. The best way to do them is to choose either 1. 2. or 3. and maybe then a couple or all of the others with a 5 min break in between. The idea being that you get a feel for how your cardiovascular system is functioning and then some agility/power or muscular endurance test which tax a slightly different system.

  1. 50 end to end court sprints. Record the time taken to complete all 50. The front and back wall must be touched with each repetition.

 

Image result for court sprints

 

2. 3 km run. Get on a treadmill and run the 3 km as fast as possible record the time   taken to complete and a finishing heart rate if possible.

 

Image result for treadmill sprints

 

3. 3 km row, as above really- row the 3 km as fast as possible record the time taken to complete and a finishing heart rate if possible.

 

4. Max number of press up completed in 2 minutes. Record the number at the end.

 

5. Hold the plank for as long as possible. Record the time until you can no longer hold this position with good form.

Image result for plank

 

6. Max number of squats completed in 2 minutes. Record the number at the end.

 

Image result for bodyweight squats

 

7. The star drill. Mark out 8 points in the court touch each point moving as quickly and economically as possible (you may want to ghost a shot at each point before moving on) try and go around twice or more times if you like and record the time taken to complete total repetitions. ignore the 5yards!

Image result for star agility test

 

8. The Burpee test. Complete as many as possible in 2 minutes and record the number at the end of the test.

To see an advanced fitness program used by professionals follow the link below to the Squashfit homepage

=>Click here

Test record sheet (remember to choose which tests you are doing and dont do all of them).

 

Below are some basic averages done by county standard players.

Row 3 km 11-15 mins

Court sprints 18-22 per min

Run 3km 9-16

 

Test 1 2 3 4 5 6
50 end to end court sprints
3 km run
3 km row
Press ups completed in 2 minutes
Plank for as long as possible
Max number of squats
The star drill
The Burpee test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Functional core training for racket sports players

Image result for greg gaultier full stretch

Core stabilization is an essential component of any athlete’s total fitness, but it may be particularly important for squash players. Squash is not a one-dimensional game; players are constantly shifting their bodies from side to side or rotating their torso when striking the ball, lunging, twisting, turning ect.

Core strengthening and stabilization training helps to increase functional strength and dynamic balance, thereby promoting a more consistent shot production during performance and helping to prevent injury.

Core muscle activation has been documented during performance of specific squash shots, such as the forehand/backhand drives and volleys whilst a full stretch and lunging forwards at full extension during shots. There is essentially a lot going on around multiple joints at any one time.

THE CORE INCLUDES the lumbopelvic-hip joint complex and its surrounding musculature, which function synergistically to produce force, reduce force, andprovide dynamic stabilization throughout the kinetic chain during shot production.

abdominal muscle: Illustration of the anatomy of the male human body isolated on a white background

The quality of these actions during functional movements such as experienced during lunging, moving, twisting, turning and rotating requires optimal neuromuscular efficiency and control normally acquired through a core strength and conditioning program.

Keep your core strong and your hips loose.

Keeping this area strong and more importantly balanced facilitates maintenance of optimal mechanics in the lumbopelvic-hip complex during functional kinetic chain movements, optimal neuromuscular efficiency throughout the entire kinetic chain, optimal acceleration and deceleration, dynamic stabilization of entire kinetic chain during functional movements, and proximal stability for efficient lower extremity movements.

The purpose of this article is to share some dynamic and controlled core stabilization programs that can be appied to squash. see youtube videos below:

Alternatively a brilliant book that I purchased has some excellent routines and exercises in that provides comprehensive functional movement training programs. This can be view here

New Functional Training for Sports

See recovery nutrition for additional  info on post squash nutritional strategies

and See how the Pros do it with this squash fitness tracker.

Squash performance nutrition and recovery

 

The game of squash by definition, regardless of level, is a high intensity intermittent activity. Heart rates of competitive elite players can reach levels exceeding 90 % of their maximal values and VO2 scores in excess 0f 85 %. Matches at any level can last from 40-90 minutes with recovery between points (10-20 secs) and games (90secs) relatively short.

Fuel substrates utilised during matches tend to lean toward carbohydrate metabolsm see image below for fuels used at different exercise intensities:

Fat-and-CHO-use-with-ex-intensity1

Intensity % HRmax % Carbohydrate % Fat
65 to 70 40 60
70 to 75 50 50
75 to 80 65 35
80 to 85 80 20
85 to 90 90 10
90 to 95 95 5
100 100 0

Carbohydrate stores, muscle and liver glycogen ect, will directly effect performance during matches so there are definite strategies we can employ to maximise our performance on court.

There are also so some extra little nutritional tricks we can take advantage of to delay the onset of fatigue or speed up our recovery from matches and training.

I will outline 3 key areas and what to consume during each

1. pre match

2. during match

3. post match

Pre match

Leading up to a competition, you should be tapering your training (doing less training) and continuing to eat foods rich in carbohydrate with moderate protein intake. On the day of competition, if you’ve followed the above instructions, all the work will be done and your food intake won’t need to be particularly tailored. The most important rule is to keep fat intake low on the day of competition and only to use high GI carbohydrates during exercise.

Breakfast should be wide-ranging in carbohydrate, so breakfast cereal is a good choice, or something like beans on toast without butter on the bread. If you have to eat something in the hour approaching competition, make sure that it’s an energy bar and not a gel or energy drink, because the latter products will lift blood sugar levels and drop them low just before you compete. High GI products are for use during competition/training only.

During match

 60-90grams of carbohydrate per hour using any combination of  gel, bar or energy drink.

Frequent consumption of Exceed energy will provide some fuel, but just as importantly it will provide hydration, because every 1% of bodyweight lost through dehydration will result in a 5% decrease in performance.

Exceed is pretty good choice for an energy drink during see it here

These gels have been well used and reviewed highly see them here

Post match 

Ingest an appropriate measure of Hurricane recovery within 15 minutes of finishing exercise read more about it here  at Myprotein

This will ensure that you are fully restocked with carbohydrate and provide enough protein for muscle damage repair.

But also adding these

Additional 2 products to really drive home your recovery

D-ribose      see it here

D Ribose occurs naturally in all living cells. It is a simple sugar that begins the metabolic process for ATP production. D Ribose works synergistically with creatine and may improve the benefits of this.

D Ribose has been proven to help increase muscular energy, boost stamina, and help recovery. D Ribose is also a very efficient way to improve your energy when working out. It is involved in the synthesis of ATP in the muscle cell giving you greater energy production for longer.

Beta Alanine      see it here

Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid. Beta Alanine works with L-Histidine to increase Carnosine concentration in the skeletal muscle and reduce lactic acid formation.Ideal for anyone participating in sports that require explosive actions such as sprinting, weight training or boxing and those involved in prolonged endurance exercise

If you fuel yourself properly during training, you’ll be able to train harder and stimulate greater physical adaptation.

Additional products can enable you to fuel yourself whilst you’re exercising, thus preserving your valuable carbohydrate stores and a well-timed recovery drink after exercise will re-stock those stores and re-build damaged muscle tissue significantly more effectively than ‘normal’ food. This will mean that you can finish a hard session still feeling fresh and then go out the following day and do it again.

Poor nutrition would result in a degradation of the quality of your training sessions and accumulating tiredness.

All product links are listed below

Exceed drink

Energy bar

Hurricane recovery

Beta Alanine

D Ribose

Energy gel
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