Squash is a dynamic sport that requires a certain level of strength, stability, and aerobic fitness. Several key movements are repeated while playing. The muscles being used are at risk of overuse, and there are many that are underused that should be trained as a key to prevention.
Lunging has to be the most common lower body motion performed in squash. The hip, knee and ankle dynamically stabilize in the down position of the lunge as you are swinging the racket. This leaves the ankle susceptible to rolling, the knee susceptible to torque, and if the hip complex is not stabilized correctly, it can also be susceptible to hamstring, lower back and sacral issues. The major muscles involved that can be overused are the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and fascia such as the Illiotibial band (IT band).
During a forehand swing, the shoulder, elbow and wrist stabilize dynamically when making contact with the ball. This leaves the shoulder susceptible to strains and tears, and the elbow and wrist prone to tendonitis. Muscles that can become overused are the internal rotators, deltoid (anterior/medial), bicep, and flexors. The same susceptibilities are present during a backhanded swing as well. The rhomboids, external rotators, deltoid (posterior/ medial), tricep, and extensors are prone to overuse.
Functional analysis during a game shows the posterior and anterior oblique fascial lines to be most active (insert fascia strengthening and stretching blog link). Core muscles and spinal stabilizers are areas to focus on for strength, symmetry on both sides of the body, and ensure proper flexibility and recovery. Strength program development would work on activating the underused muscles involved in pushing, pulling, squatting, balancing and more isolated corrective work for the hip and shoulder. You can work on stabilization in a multiplanar lunge with an overhead press or the same multiplanar lunge with an overhead hold; to create the correct lengthening in the body. When working on the strengthening aspects of the program try weighted squats, chest press, and rows. During power with dynamic multiplanar movements remember to emphasize the lateral and transverse planes.
To prevent injury and perfect your game be sure to contact one of our squash instructors. For more specific squash program ideas or information on muscle imbalances please contact personal fitness trainer Amber Walz.