Equipment Spotlight: Medicine Balls
If when you imagine medicine balls, you visualize dusty old boxing gyms, with faded posters on the wall and a few 100 watt bulbs spotting the place, then it’s time to bring you up to the present.
Forget those huge old leather medicine balls (although you can still get them), think small plastic versions.
I bought a 3kg one about 4 years ago and it was not much bigger than a melon.
Hard wearing and versatile, a modern medicine ball can be used for a variety of exercises, working not only for your core workouts but also your legs and shoulders.
The best place to look for exercises and routines is, of course, the Internet.
Start with a few simple exercises and increase the amount over time. I also recommend starting with a 2 or 3 kg ball until you feel much stronger. Unlike traditional weights, you will be throwing this around and 2 kg can have a lot of momentum.
All you need to do now is start singing the Rocky theme!
Go get’em Tiger!
Hit at 80% your Maximum Power during Matches
Set aside at least 2 minutes every solo or group training session to hit the ball as hard as you can for as long as you can.
During the match, you will probably be hitting the ball at 80% you maximum most of the time. The rest will obviously be either faster (less often) or slower (more often).
What’s important is building up your power but a power that can be sustained for all of the match.
But power alone is useless without control and that’s why you should be hitting at 80% most of the time because that power level allows you to still control the ball.
With your practise sessions of hard hitting, over time you will be able to hit the ball harder WITH control.
That 80% might eventually be more powerful than your current 100%.
2 minutes might not sound long but I guarantee that you WILL be tired.
Over time increase that to 3 then 4 minutes etc.
One of the most versatile pieces of equipment is the resistance band. It’s inexpensive, easy to carry and can be used for a huge range of exercises.
There are three main types of resistance bands: short closed loops; often used for the legs, tubular bands; often with handles and can sometimes be used in different resistance combinations and plain old narrow sheets.
I am not going to be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each type or even suggesting which exercises you should do.
All I want to do with this article is encourage you to try them.
Squash players need power and agility and while using weights won’t cause you to become “muscle-bound”, having a better way to get or stay strong is always preferable.
Resistance bands allow you to use the full range of motion at speeds that won’t injury you but reflect what happens on court.
They allow you to use them as part of your warm up or training and even for stretching.
The problem is that they seem to have had bad press in that they are seen by men as only used by women or you won’t be able to build muscle mass.
Both are misconceptions but squash players don’t want or need muscle mass anyway!
Being able to use them almost anywhere is a great feature and I remember a few years ago using them in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 lounge while getting a few funny looks, but I managed to get a short workout while I waited for my delayed flight.
For less than 10 Pounds, Euros or Dollars you can buy a piece of equipment that could improve your squash.
I challenge you to buy a set and use them for one month.