How to Stay in Shape When You Can’t Get to the Squash Court

Staying fit and in shape is a breeze when you’re doing your favourite sport that you have developed a decent ability for. So what happens when you can’t practice that sport? Let’s take a look what you can do when you can’t get to the squash court but you want to stay in shape.


The first thing to do is acknowledge that you may not enjoy a new sport as much as squash. This shouldn’t stop you however, it isn’t forever. What matters is being able to perform at your best when you return to the sport. You also want to stay in shape while you don’t have access to your favourite form of physical exercise.


The first thing you miss when you aren’t able to perform your favourite sport is the intensity of the exercise. A swimmer who is stuck with running is not going to be able to achieve the same levels of intensity in the workout. If you want to take up other sports for variety and pleasure while you’re not playing squash then this is fine but you need to add in intensity somewhere. If you don’t do this you will lose your fitness and not be at your peak when you get back to playing.


To get intensity you need to be able to get your heart rate up. Unless you have another sport which you are sufficiently proficient at you need pure cardio. Where you get this will depend on your situation and why you can’t get to the squash court. Are you travelling and stuck in a hotel? Have you got a big project to work on and now divide your time between home and office?


Look around your environment and work out how to use it to achieve a cardio intensive workout. Most buildings have stairs that you can go up and down on your breaks. Everyone can squeeze twenty minutes out of the day. The quicker you ascend and descend the stairs the more intensive the cardiovascular workout will be. Another option is uphill walking. Identify the steepest hill in your neighbourhood and walk up and down that for an hour rather than taking a meandering walk that involves a hill now and again. Put on a weighted backpack or just carry your shopping home to turbo charge your intensity. You may even find it quite exciting and refreshing to use your environment to generate a workout in this way.


Don’t forget your strength training. Some weights on the side of your desk can replace that chocolate bar at break time. Divide some leg day exercises such as squats and lunges up into sets and perform one set every break you take. If you have time you can do the whole workout. This will make sure you don’t lose muscle, especially that all important strength in your legs.


Even if you add in exercise while you’re not playing squash you can’t outrun a bad diet. Don’t let the break from your routine mean you eat badly. Don’t slip into thinking you can splurge in a few bad meals and make it up when you return to playing squash. When people make this decision inevitably something always goes wrong and they’re away from the sport longer than they ever thought they would be.


If you’re unable to get to the squash court then in all likelihood you’re not as active overall. Even with all your efforts to fit in exercise you will probably find you’re putting in less time and, as discussed, less intensity. In this case some of the things you normally eat or drink without a second thought might end up on your waistline when you never had a problem before. Take it easy on alcoholic drinks, juices or large portions. When you’re exercising very intensively you not only don’t feel the bulge when you eat these foods but you probably need the extra calories. Try to eat as clean as possible while you’re not playing squash. If you start to feel that you are gaining some weight it will be in the things you’ve got used to eating to give you the extra energy to work out. Think about what calorie and nutritional level is appropriate for your current activity levels. This should keep you trim while you’re waiting to get back to playing squash.




Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to staying in shape while you can’t get to the squash court. Take care of your diet and avoid any extra treats you allowed yourself when you were playing squash. Squash is a great and enjoyable game; you may find that you were burning off way more calories than you realised. Now you’re doing exercises you may not find as enjoyable it will be much more laborious to burn off extra calories. This presents you with a straightforward choice; eat less or get bigger!


Make the effort to do as much exercise when and where you can.  Find the best treadmills for the money, elliptical reviews, and many more here. Pay particular attention to the higher intensity cardiovascular exercise you do. This high intensity exercise will keep your lung capacity and cardio fitness as high a possible. When you go back to playing squash you want to enter at the same level as far as possible. If you slack off while you can’t play squash because you think you’ll make up the difference you may get a shock. You may not be able to play as well on your return if you do nothing in the interim.


Many people fall into a trap where a time away from their favourite spot ends up resulting in giving up completely. This is because when they get back to playing squash they are disappointed at their performance level and become discouraged. Stick with your diet and exercise for now and you’ll be ready to blast off when you’re back on the court.

Beginner’s Guide to Playing Squash

Learning Curve


Some things carry over from other racquet sports. Movement and some of the racquet control and timing of the ball are similar to badminton or tennis.


Many other things and tactics are unique to squash. For an experienced badminton player, new skills to learn include , gaining and maintaining control of the court, and occupying the same court space as your opponent, and having to get out of their way!


Hard Hitting


It may be tempting to smash the ball as hard as you can in squash, particularly if transitioning from badminton where placement is everything. But brute force won’t get far in squash either. It’ll use more energy and take longer to recover from each hard shot, and it may rebound and give the other player more than one chance at returning it.


In squash, a delicately placed winner that uses the side wall and just reaches the front before dropping can be much more effective.


Where Next?


Always return to the tee after the shot. That’s the classic advice for squash – but it bears repeating, particularly late in a match when a player is tired, thinks they’ve no chance of making the next shot, and the last thing they want to do is turn around and sprint back.


But it saves energy – from the tee a player is likely to be prepared for the next shot, and so will make a better shot. And more often than not it means the other player will have to move around the one occupying the tee – and move further.


Up The Wall


Having walls at the side introduces a whole world of tactics and shots that will seem counter intuitive to the badminton or tennis player.


One basic wall shot to master is hitting the ball at the nearest side wall, so it goes across the front wall using the angle to play it onto the wall.


Another is the looping upward shot over both players’ heads, from the front of the court into the opposite rear corner. It’s a useful defensive shot that can be difficult to return due to the height, and will buy time to get back to center court from the front.


Getting Kitted Out


Most folks buy the racquet first and play in some sneakers or sport shoes they’ve already got. Better to do it the other way round and get the footwear first as the best racquet in the world’s not going to get you there if you slip.
Good squash shoes have excellent support for the feet and strong grip all over the sole, for all those short sprints, stops and changes of direction. The soles must be non marking too. Gym shoes and cross trainers from Adidas or Nike won’t be up to the job. Specialist brands including Yonex, Victor, Forza and Wilson all make good quality court shoes.

Advanced Tips for Playing Squash

Once the fundamentals of squash have been learned, practised and used with some confidence, it’s time for intermediate players to develop their game. Given a good level of fitness and some experience of movement, shot selection and control and a solid repeatable swing, here are some steps to move a good basic squash game to the next level.


Build Your Attacking Volley Skills


Hitting volleys between hip and shoulder height is a common skill most players learn. Not so many are confident cutting in and attacking shots higher or closer to the body. Practising those skills is a sign of a more advanced player.


Adjust Your Grip


Once a solid repeatable shot is learned, progress to moving the hand up and choking down the handle slightly. Opening or closing the face a little can also add variety in rally, for example to hit a very hard shot flatter.


Hit With Spin


Developing the variations for attacking shots, a change of swing path can produce a flatter faster shot, or a slight topspin that helps the ball die faster off the back wall. Either gives the opponent less time to return the ball. Upgrading to a lightweight racket and high quality strings can help explore this area further.


Build Defences


Defensive shots, in particular the lob, usually receive less attention than the attacking ones. A good range of effective lobs can relieve pressure straight away and get a player back on the attack during a rally.


Serve Variations


Watch many players, even at the highest level, and they’ll hit the same serve again and again. A little variety with flatter shots, spin and angle can keep an opponent guessing and nab an easy point.


Build Experience


There’s no substitute for it, and experience comes from playing as many different opponents under various conditions. Take every opportunity to play in different competitions, surroundings, temperature and humidity, and learn how to deal with all the varieties of crowds, referees, courts and balls the game of squash has to offer.