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Increasing stamina

Published: 14 Mar 2007 - 08:34 by Viper

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:54

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I cannot get to the club for an extra session to improve my stamina on court, will running 5/6 km once a week help build my fitness/stamina for squash, or is there a better work out  ?

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From hagesy - 17 Mar 2007 - 10:31

ADZ wrote

I guess the key to everything must be balance. You have to have good explosive power, a good level of cardio fitness, a fair amount of strength, suppleness and everything else that makes the perfect squash player. If only it were that simple to attain..........

If one is willing to put the work in, anything is attainable.




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From adam_pberes - 17 Mar 2007 - 09:29

Okay, Your msucles are built of muscle fibre cells, and there are two types.

The Muscle which is used isdependant on how long you are exercising. Muscle fibres are defined by how quickly they burn up some type of triphosphate, which is an energy source for your body.


Slow twitch muscle fibres use up triphosphates slowly, which enbales you to go longer, while fast twotch muscle fibres burn it up quickly, which allows higher intensity.

To build up leg STRENGTH, you do not need to do long runs... As this will develop muscular endurance, not muscular strength.

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From Daren - 17 Mar 2007 - 09:19

Jahangir recommended in his book that FIRST you have to build strength in your legs by going on long runs. (I think he mentioned an hour, but that is pretty long)


Personally I think you have to build up to sprints/interval training by doing some running/jogging first, to get your legs/body used to it( build a good "base"). Crawl before you walk - build up slowly.


Pros already have a good "base"



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From aprice1985 - 17 Mar 2007 - 06:34

so far as i am away the number of muscle cells you have is the number you are stuck with but they can become bigger or smaller depending on your use of them but i will try to find out more.

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From Adz - 16 Mar 2007 - 19:43

Or if not slower, is it going to make them less explosive with their power?


I cannot and will not disagree that long distance runs will improve endurance in athletes, but I will have to say that I disagree that long distance is the best way to train for squash fitness. In a sport where the movements are short and sharp with lots of stopping and starting, I cannot believe, nor have I ever seen an improved benefit of distance over explosive training.


I don't ever remember distance training being endorsed by the Khans, nor Geoff Hunt, nor Jonah Barrington, nor Chris Robertson. I do however remember reading various interviews from, or talking with, all of these people or their charges, saying that they focused on the time they spent perfecting their fitness through court drills, 400s and star routines for hours at a time.


This isn't meant to be a "You're wrong" post, as I guess it takes all sorts for different types of people and body types, so what works well for one won't work well for another. And I have known of players who were very fit from distance / marathon running who could play all day long at slower paces. But as soon as the pace was pushed to something faster than they could cope with, they just used to burn out. Also I've seen players who have great explosive power and recovery time that were completely killed off by a series of long, drawn out rallies.


I guess the key to everything must be balance. You have to have good explosive power, a good level of cardio fitness, a fair amount of strength, suppleness and everything else that makes the perfect squash player. If only it were that simple to attain..........





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From rskting - 16 Mar 2007 - 15:26

this is a good topic/questions. Intuitively, I also think, but empirically have no studies that show long distance training builds a good "base". I guess the question is are you in really really bad shape to begin with? If in real bad shape,  long distance running will hep so you can stay alive for 40 minutes on the court, so that might be good idea. on the other hand, if the 'base' is fairly good, meaning the athlete does not get out of breath in the 5'th game of competitive match, then perhaps exercises which emulate real squash is better.

One thing I never understood where some physiologist or doctor may enlighten me with is the question of whether the ratio of fast and slow twitch muscles will change. I heard it cannot, but training muscles build up the absolute number of both fibres, so you have more of both, but in the same ratio. I am not sure. For example, if a track and field sprinter starts training like a marathon runner, will they lose their fast twitch muscle but gain long distance muscle? Is it going to make them slower?


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From hagesy - 16 Mar 2007 - 08:32

"A.  Submaximal Aerobic Training

One of the most important and fundamental training methods for developing squash fitness at the elite level is submaximal Aerobic work, since the dominant energy source is aerobic.

Running or jogging commonly referred to as long slow distance running is the most appropriate form for squash players since the movement pattern best simulates that utilised when playing squash.

Important benefits from submaximal Aerobic work include:-

-Increased capacity to utilise oxygen due to increased oxygen carrying blood cells and aerobic muscle enzymes

-Increased central and peripheral circulation

-Increased ability to utilise fat stores (free fatty acids) and thus spare muscle glycogen levels

-Improved progressive development of connective tissue strength  that enhances a greater rate of adaptation to higher intensity training such as anaerobic and strength work.

A minimum of 20 mins work is recommended to adequately stimulate the aerobic energy pathways and thus cause a training adaptation. This quantity would be suitable for a squash player returning to training after an extended break or a squash player with very little running experience (junior).

At  the opposite end of the scale up to 1 hour or more may be appropriate for highly trained squash players but generally 30-60 minutes is sufficient once the biological system has progressively adapted."

The above information was taken from "Squash Coaching - Level Two Manual" Edited by Jeffrey R. Wollstein, Level 4 squash coach. Jeff is currently at the AIS.

Of course there are various forms of training for squash and depending on what phase you are in:  General Preparation, Specific Preparation, Competitive, Transition, will influence what intensity and what type of training you do. 


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From stevo - 15 Mar 2007 - 22:06

I do hill runs for interval training. I find I can get a really good workout in 20 minutes with this. They build up strength in the legs and are really good for your recovery in between rallies. I guess it is the same as courts sprints fartlek etc., but the incline makes it that bit tougher.

For stamina I do longer steady runs, about 35-45 minutes. But if I did just them then I think I would lose some speed as others have said.

Having said all that, it is really difficult to find the time to do all these things when you are playing 4 - 5 times a week. If I can get one hill session in a week I am happy.

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From Viper - 15 Mar 2007 - 20:59

Thanks everyone.

I just cannot spare the time to get to the courts for another session / or a pool, but I can walk across the road to the park for half an hour.

So it seems short sprints combined with about 5kms max will help.

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From Adz - 15 Mar 2007 - 19:56

Hagesy Wrote:

Long slow distance running is imperative to build a strong base in which to do other such training like mixed interchangeables (400m's etc).  Squash players use long distance running all year round as part of their training, however it is more used in the general prepatory phase of training.

Hagesy, where did you get this information from? Whenever I've read interviews or talked to professional players, they tend to only do distances of up to 3 miles (5km) for their distance training. When Simon Parke returned to fitness recently he work on 2 mile runs, interval training and on court work. The professionals tend to work heavily on interval and Fartlek training to build up their stamina. Longer distances use slow twitch muscle fibres which surely can't be useful for an explosive sport like squash?

Everything I've seen and read so far recommends that you should train as closely to how your sport operates as possible. If you want to be a great swimmer you don't go for a 200 mile cycle: You get in the pool and hit the lengths. If you want to be a squash player you get on courts and do court sprints and heavy intensity ghost routines. By all means suppliment this with some longer distance work and interval work off the court, but it will never be a substitute for the actual actions of playing squash itself.


Viper, if you can't get to the court find an open space about the same size as a court and lay out some markers. Use this for shuttle runs, ghosting work and various other fitness routines (there's some in the archives I believe). Mix this with some short, sharp track work to boost the explosive power and you're away!



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From mike - 15 Mar 2007 - 10:33

I second what Sleave said about swimming. I play squash 3-4 times a week and generally don't get too exhausted in the process. I run 3-5km without massive difficulty, so I was interested to see how unfit I was when it came to swimming. I only do 3-4 laps of a 50m pool, with a fair rest between each lap and I'm done! :)

The pool forces you to have better breathing and rhythm because you can't breath underwater. You can get away with much sloppier rhythm out of the water because you can take a breath at any time.

Also in my experience how strong you feel on the squash court has a lot to do with how efficiently your energy is used. If you step, run smoothly and generally stay on your toes you will fatigue far less than standing flat footed and putting on wasteful sprints to retrieve the ball. I haven't been swimming long enough to know for sure, but I expect it will help me learn to use my energy in a better way. I still intent to jog, cycle and gym though

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From hamburglar - 15 Mar 2007 - 09:57   -   Updated: 15 Mar 2007 - 09:57

I like plyometrics and squats for building up anaerobic strength. I find I use a lot of energy just getting moving and changing directions, which plyometrics can help with. Aerobic exercise is quite helpful too as are core exercises that strengthen the midsection and helps prevent back injury.

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From hagesy - 15 Mar 2007 - 08:42   -   Updated: 15 Mar 2007 - 08:47

Long slow distance running is imperative to build a strong base in which to do other such training like mixed interchangeables (400m's etc).  Squash players use long distance running all year round as part of their training, however it is more used in the general prepatory phase of training. The mixed sprints is more for specific prepatory and competitive phase of training.  But i suppose any form of training will help.

Sleave maybe right with the swimming part, although i myself have always been a runner and not a swimmer, and therefore prefer running.


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From drop-shot - 14 Mar 2007 - 18:02


I do not want to outsmart anybody on the forum and I think it is up to you what will you choose, but according to my experience - swimming is far better than jogging/running. Swimming helps you to work out your breathing and I found it helpful on court. What helps to generate more leg muscles is definitely cycling.

Regarding running - instead of running constantly for 1 hr or more, use variations recommended by hagesy. Looks more like squash training. I used to do 400 metres speed-run, then 90 second rest and then 200 metres run, then 60 seconds break and so on.

Keep in mind that rallies in squash do not go longer than 90 seconds and your heart must get used to the rapid start and stop situations.

  Best of luck

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From hagesy - 14 Mar 2007 - 11:07

Hey there viper.

Yes running will help.  Squash is a predominantly aerobic based sport, however it does have need for anerobic training as well of course.

When you are running you will be working on your submaximal aerobic energy system.

this energy system is on of the most fundamental training methods for developing fitness or stamina.

When you are running your heart rate should be between 130-170 (70-85% intensity).  Your total work time should be between 30-60mins.  I myself do a 40 min run at the  covering on average 9km.  But depending where you are at with your fitness, maybe you should do more, or less.

Variations on the run include variable and fartlek.  Variable is a run where say for the first 5 mins go at a light intensity, next 5 medium intensity, next 5 high intensity, next 5 medium, and so on. 

Fartlek is another variation.  You should begin your run at your usual intenstiy, then for a 1minute burst put in a very high intensive effort, then next 5 mins go back to usual etc.

The variations on these runs helps maintain interest level.

Other things you could do are cycling, swimming, aerobics, resistance training, versa climber (at the gym).

Try and maybe do this twice a week if you can at least if your schedule permits.

Good luck


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