In this article, we’re taking a look at fitness assessments, and exploring some simple ways you can test your fitness to see where you are with your squash-specific conditioning.
One of the most popular elements on SquashSkills is our battery of both squash and fitness assessment tests. We’ve got a number of great tests available for you to establish your technical proficiency in certain shots, as well as to grade yourself in physical conditioning areas such as endurance, speed, power, and stability.
For those who like things a little simpler than our more in-depth measures of fitness assessment however, even those players who are happy just to train/play with a slightly looser structure, it’s still a good idea to periodically test your fitness to see what kind of shape you’re in.
After all, if you’re not actually testing yourself, there’s no real way of seeing if your training is actually enhancing your physical conditioning. Using some basic fitness tests is a good way to gain a basic objective measure of where you stand with your squash-specific fitness.
Outlined below then, are 3 basic tests of physical fitness that incorporate elements of speed, endurance, and power.
All 3 can be used by anyone of any level, and are simple to set-up and take no longer than a few minutes each to complete. Try testing yourself on each every few weeks or so to see where you are, and to challenge yourself to improve. Suggested goals for each are given, along with examples of what the elite players will typically score if you want a target to really test yourself!*
20 Court Sprint Test
A tried and true assessment of speed and the anaerobic energy system, the 20 Court Sprint Test is a great squash-specific test that is quick and easy to administrate.
Start standing with one hand touching the back wall, with either a partner holding a stopwatch or with a visual timer on your phone or tablet placed somewhere easy to see.
On the signal to start, simply complete 20 lengths of the court as fast as you possibly can.
SUGGESTED TARGET LEVEL – 52-55 seconds
PRO LEVEL – under 45 seconds
5min Court Sprint Endurance Test
With this test, the focus is more on endurance and the longer duration energy systems, to see how much work you can accomplish in a 5 minute period.
Similar to the 20 Court Sprint Test, the focus of this test is to simply run lengths of the court. This time however, you’ll be working for a 5 minute period and counting how many total lengths you can complete in that time.
You can either work the test with a partner timing and helping you keep count, or by just doing it by yourself if more convenient.
SUGGESTED TARGET LEVEL – 90-100 lengths
PRO LEVEL – +110 lengths
1000m Rower Test
For those with access to a gym, a great full-body fitness test to use that also brings in an element of power is the 1000m Rower Test.
Rowers are a useful modality to use for testing and fitness programming alike as the Concept 2 models are pretty much ubiquitous across the world, unlike bikes, treadmills, cross-trainers etc. where there are often dozens of different brands and variations.
Set your rowing machine up to a medium resistance level (5 on the Concept 2) to start, and then record your time taken to complete 1000m. Be careful to ensure you don’t compromise your form in your pursuit of a good score here, being mindful of keeping your core and lower back braced in particular.
SUGGESTED TARGET LEVEL – 4:00-4:20 mins
PRO LEVEL – under 3:30 mins
Have a go at the tests, and see where you stand – let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page what your best scores are!
*Always make sure before performing any of these tests that you warm-up thoroughly. If at any time you feel faint, nauseous, or experience any significant pain during any kind of physical exertion, stop immediately and seek medical attention where necessary.
B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director
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