Having a good base of physical strength is an important consideration for the squash player, as it provides a foundation for all of the other fitness components that are crucial to the game. Being strong will also help make you more robust, and thus better resistant to injury.
Some of the very best lower body strength exercises for all athletes are the big traditional movements such as squats, deadlifts, and leg presses. These multi-joint, compound lifts help build fundamental strength that is applicable to any athletic pursuit.
To address the unique demands of squash however, further specificity in exercise selection is recommended. With that in mind, here in no particular order are my top 5 leg strength exercises for squash.
The Single-Leg Squat is probably the hardest exercise on this list, but once got to grips with it can provide a fantastic boost to your power, stability, and hip/ankle mobility.
There are a number of progressions you can use to build up to the full movement if you lack the requisite strength or range of motion at first, whilst there is also an excellent further progression for those that have mastered the single-leg squat, in the form of the pistol squat.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
Providing a great posterior chain focus as well as a balance/stability stimulus, the Single Leg Romanian Deadlift is an excellent exercise that should definitely be a part of your strength training regime.
What are commonly termed as ‘hip hinge’ movements are an important part of our all-round foundational strength base, and the SLRDL is an excellent choice for this purpose for the squash player.
The Lunge Matrix is an exercise that has long been used in different forms by athletic conditioning coaches, but this is a variation developed specifically for squash.
The 20 movements that make up the exercise cover the full spectrum of lunge actions you undertake on court, and thus provide the perfect squash-specific training tool. It can also help you isolate and address which movements you most struggle with, to help iron out any weak spots in your game.
A tough hamstring-focused exercise, the Nordic Curl is one of the very best exercises to use to bullet-proof your legs and significantly reduce your injury risk in this area.
Studies have shown that including this challenging bodyweight exercise into your training program can massively enhance your resistance to certain common types of hamstring strains. Whilst a tough exercise to become proficient in, the payoff is certainly worth it.
Bulgarian Split Squat
An excellent movement to really help build single-leg strength and power, the Bulgarian Split Squat (or ‘Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat’) is one of the very best exercises you can add to your squash training.
The Bulgarian Split Squat not only provides a great unilateral stimulus, it’s also extremely versatile – the unloaded, bodyweight version is a great general circuit exercise, while adding resistance through the use of dumbbells or barbell allows you to more deeply develop that foundational strength.
B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director
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