Ironically (or not depending on your level of sexism – still highly evident in squash) women’s fitness magazines made the move to the new wave of core and functional training well before mainstream sports and health book publishers (e.g. Human Kinetics, the largest sport book publisher in the world) who were continuing to operate on the bodybuilding and football/basketball strength paradigms. It turns out that all the little “girly” exercises like side leg raises are actually a key part of getting our squash bodies to function correctly.
In magazines like Women’s Health (pictured above) the programs usually feature lots of squash applicable exercises like lunges, and squats, abdominal twists – why? Because the legs and stomach are the prime area of cosmetic concern for most woman (here is the link to the workout pictured above). For those of us who coach woman, these magazine’s are also a great source of information about the training and lives of famous sportswomen – tennis’ Williams sisters are featured regularly (sorry squash pros – you are unlikely to be featured in the world’s top magazines).
Application for Squash Coaches:
One of the most important factors in avoiding staleness or a plateau in squash training and performance is to vary both the volume, intensity, and variety of exercises in order continue to put a sufficient training load on the body for adaptation to occur (this is the “training effect”). A good, practical rule of thumb is to change a squash strength training program (the change can be slight – it does not have to be dramatic) every two weeks. It would not be a bad idea to bring a women’s fitness magazine to practice occasionally to see how your squash athletes (male and female) react to the workouts!
Images of fit athletes can motivate your squash players to train harder. Here is a image of Serena Williams from the now defunct Jane Magazine (although the replacement Glamour Magazine features lots of fitness articles).