11 Points on Fitness Q&A: Adrian Grant

28th August 2013

Adrian has recently returned from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where he and Nick Matthew teamed up to win silver medals in the men’s doubles, narrowly missing out on adding a second gold to the ones they won in Delhi in 2010. Adrian has also been a key member of several of England’s European and World Championship winning teams while reaching a career-high no. 9 in the PSA rankings and claiming a number of the tour’s most prestigious titles.

For more on Adrian and his aspirations to provide a lasting legacy for mentoring future champions coming up through the same challenging avenues that he did, check out his great short video here.

1) How important do you think fitness/conditioning is to the modern game? In your opinion, have the fitness requirements changed at all with the transition to PAR scoring?
It’s an essential period. Not only does it give you the tools to physically compete, but it also helps injury prevention and longevity in the modern game.
With the change to par scoring, the emphasis has become more explosive power – with shorter scoring and every rally counting, it can become very fast.

2) How many dedicated fitness/conditioning sessions do you complete in a standard training week?
It varies really. in the off-season, this would be 6 days a week. During the season it’s about maintenance, so 1-3 times a week plus my playing/technical work.

3) How long do you spend warming up before an on-court practice session and/or match? Do you pay special attention to any certain areas and if so, why?
I warm up for around 30-40mins, regardless of if it’s practise or a match. Keeping that continuity is important, particularly for areas such as hips, glutes, thoracic spine, & ankles that take a lot of punishment.

4) What is your all-time hardest off-court training session? How often do you perform this session?
400’s* and vo2 max sessions are always up there if performing these at your very best physically 1-2 times a week in the off-season.
Mentally you probably know you could do maybe 1 or 2 more, but can you really get the same or quicker time, or go faster?
(*400m laps on the track)

5) In the aforementioned session, how do you keep up your motivation to not only finish but perform well? Do you use any particular mental strategies?
Good question… I use various strategies, maybe a match scenario I played in, or sometimes I go through the pain by not even thinking about what I’m doing but just going on to autopilot.

6) Do you use any particular type of training session as a ‘test’ to measure your fitness levels?
Not really. It’s an accumulation of aerobic/anaerobic and stamina, so it’s hard to pinpoint 1 session to measure your fitness levels. In squash, you need so many elements of fitness.

7) Do you incorporate any gym-based weights/resistance sessions into your training programme? If so, what are your main goals from this type of training? (i.e. endurance, power, injury resistance etc.
I can’t remember the last time I did weights! Everyone is genetically different. If started doing weights I would bulk up too much, losing my speed. I do a lot of bodyweights, plyos, leg jumps, pull-ups etc. that is all the strength training I need.

8) Are there any particular items of training equipment you incorporate into your sessions that you feel especially benefit you as a squash player? (i.e. bungee cords, agility ladders, weighted vests etc.)
I’ve tried all mentioned, but never on a consistent basis as I don’t own any. I like to keep to the fundamental facts of leg power work and ghosting – the only thing I need for that is my racket, but it is good to mix it with the other toys now and again.

9) Do you follow any type of nutrition plan? If not, how have you learned to fuel your body best for your sport’s demands?
My nutrition has changed over the years. I used to eat anything and everything healthy, but in large portions – just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s what I need to fuel my body though. Now I eat small but often, maybe 6 times a day – plenty of protein, good fats… minimal starchy and salty foods. I only eat carbs when competing or leading into an event, which helps me maintain lean muscle.

10) Do you use any supplements/vitamins etc. as part of your diet/nutrition?
Nothing out of the ordinary. A good bit of cod liver oil, multi-vit, and glucosamine to help maintain healthy joints.

11) Do you utilise any recovery techniques in between tournament matches? (i.e. specific foods, drink, treatments, ice bath, etc.)
What works for me doesn’t work for everyone. it was a trial and error process – I’ve come to realise that nothing beats compression tights and an ice bath while sipping a protein recovery drink to fuel up the muscles for me!

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