Warming up before any sport or intense exercise is crucial, and in squash it is particularly important because of the massive strains you will put on your muscles and joints. So how should you be warming up?
Some simple stretches will help prepare your muscles for what they are about to go through. it’s important to start slow and smooth and build up your stretches to avoid injury and get the best performance from yourself. Here are some key areas to target as part of your warm up routine:
- Hamstrings: One of the easiest muscles to damage during exercise, this needs some steady stretching before match play conditions. Keep your legs straight and bend down towards your toes, slow stretching out the hamstring muscle. Do this a few times, going further down each time.
- Arms: Take some gentle practice swings (without a ball in play) to loosen everything up in the arm. Also try holding your arms out straight to the side of your body, and draw circles in the air with your hand to work everything up to your shoulders.
- Wrist & Grip: We recommend purchasing a hand gripper to help warm up your wrist muscles and also improve your grip on the racquet handle. This should be part of your regular training plan to make a huge difference to your grip strength, which in turn will greatly improve your racquet control. They are also excellent to use as part of your pre-match warm up routine.
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Lunges / Squats
You are probably familiar with the lunge or squat routine, and we emphasise how important this activity is as part of your warm up routine. You can do either squats or lunges, depending on your preference; but this exercise will quickly warm up your quadriceps and calf muscles, priming your legs ready for action.
The risk of not doing these type of exercises is first of course – injury. Cold muscles are more prone to tears so warming them up thoroughly beforehand helps prevent this.
Second, squash matches don’t tend to start slowly and ease in, they are usually full on and fast paced from the very first serve; and you need your muscles ready to react from the get go. These small routines can be the difference between winning and losing your matches, and only need to take 5-10 minutes of focussed effort.
Don’t forget to warm up the ball!
Once you have warmed up your muscles and joints, you need to warm up the ball! Trying to have a rally with a cold squash ball is pretty similar to having a rally with a rock, so make sure you give it a good warm up before starting match play. A few steady rallies will soon get it up to temperature, as well as topping off the warm up routine for your muscles.
AllSquash Top Tip: Try putting the squash ball in your shorts pocket on the way to the squash court and keeping it there during your warm up. This will help get it up to temperature a bit before you start warm up rallies