How to Improve Squash Fitness: Endurance and Interval Training

I am glad you are thinking about what squash specific training you can do to improve your fitness level. While there is an indefinite number of exercises you can do to develop your strength and stamina, we often don’t know where to begin.

Here I will explain a straightforward exercise that will pay dividends later on the court, and I promise you will feel the difference and begin to feel like Paul Coll.

How to Improve Squash Fitness: Interval Training

You will need a stationary bicycle with variable resistance settings. It does not matter whether it is an upright or recumbent type.

Interval training fitness Theory

The concept is to put your body through the same type of exertion that it would feel during an intense game of squash. For example, during a typical rally you usually move around the court with ease until your opponent plays the ball away from you and forces you to work hard to pick up and return the ball. When playing at high intensities at competitive levels of squash, it becomes necessary to have high levels of fitness. 9 times out of 10, if two players have the exact same level of skill, speed, strength, tricks, and experience, the fitter player will win.

In this 20 minute routine we simulate the effects of a squash rally on your body, with intervals of mild and extreme intensities.

training Preparation

Start by stretching your calves, quads, thighs, and glutes, the same muscles you will rely on for most of your movement around the court.

Spend 2 minutes on the bike at a minimal resistance to get your body warmed up.

Now reset the time to 0:00. The interval training routine begins now.

Start Interval Training for Squash Fitness

For 1 minute and 30 seconds, pedal at a comfortable rate with a comfortable resistance. Do not make the resistance so hard that you have to apply serious strength to push it. Keep it light and comfortable. You are playing a medium paced controlled rally and dont have to work hard yet.

At 1:30, increase the resistance by 2 points and pedal as fast as you can nonstop of 30 seconds. You opponent has deceived you and sent you scrambling to retrieve ball!

Pedal as fast and as hard as you can, as if you need to generate electricity for the entire country with your bike. Do not slow down. This will hurt, but that is the point. This is the climax of the rally where you must get that ball no matter what.

When 30 seconds lapse, reduce the resistance by 2 points and return to your natural comfortable pedalling speed. A new rally as begun and you are playing a calm and controlled game, for another 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Then, again increase by 2 points, and pedal for your life. You are allowed to scream. 30 seconds. Do not slow down.

Follow this pattern for a total of 16 minutes. By doing this, you will have completed 8 1 minute 30 second intervals of medium speed pedalling, and 8 30 second intervals of extreme speed pedalling. In summary, this will be your timeline:

Interval Training Breakdown

0:00-1:30 Medium Interval

1:30-2:00 Intense Interval

2:00-3:30 Medium Interval

3:30-4:00 Intense Interval

4:00-5:30 Medium Interval

5:30-6:00 Intense Interval

6:00-7:30 Medium Interval

7:30-8:00 Intense Interval

8:00-9:30 Medium Interval

9:30-10:00 Intense Interval

10:00-11:30 Medium Interval

11:30-12:00 Intense Interval

12:00-13:30 Medium Interval

13:30-14:00 Intense Interval

14:00-15:30 Medium Interval

15:30-16:00 Intense Interval

You will feel your legs burn, your heart explode, and sweat coming out of your teeth. How difficult you make the intense interval depends entirely on you. The objective is to max out your energy and fail.

You will find yourself unable to pedal with the same speed in the second half of the routine as you did in first half. Your body is getting tired, and thats okay. Just give it your best. Its a mental exercise in itself to commit yourself to the brutality you are bringing upon you.

Cool down

Good job, after 16 minutes of this torture, give yourself 2 minutes of medium relaxed pedalling to cool down. Do not jump off the bike as soon as your 16 minutes are up otherwise you will put your body in shock and get cramps.

Interval Training Complete

After your cool down is complete, get off the bike and walk around. Stretch your legs to avoid cramping and soreness later. If you want to go through it all again after some rest, the world is yours. Otherwise, even one session of this is good for the day.

How Interval Training Improves Squash Fitness

After 2-3 sessions of this squash fitness training, When you return to court and play a game, you will find yourself able to play longer rallies without breaking down. You will feel your stamina improve significantly and you wont feel the burn in your lungs that make you gasp for oxygen after a hard rally. You will be immediately ready for the next serve, or even the next opponent! This is the attitude of squash players with high levels of fitness.

Your legs will become stronger and less susceptible to cramping during a match. They have already endured much more pain than any rally can give you now.

Other than improvements to your squash, your overall well-being will improve. Your cardiovascular system is stronger, and you can maintain performance at higher heart rates. Your hair and nails will grow faster and you may even burn fat off your body due to the high levels of exertion. You would also build up your mental strength by flirting with your own willingness to let yourself fatigue.

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