Pro Tip: The Warm Up

Julie Hisey and Elka Markus face off at the 2016 Ontario Masters Championships at Executive Squash & Fitness.

The season is now in full swing! Unfortunately this means that it’s starting to get cold, but what’s better then a good game of squash on a snowy night? The cold weather not only chills us, but many courts are colder then they are in the summer. This means the ball doesn’t bounce as much so we have to be ready to run!

When we arrive at the courts frozen in our boots it can be very tempting to jump straight on court and get warm as you go but you should always try to make time for a quick warm up before getting on court! Rushing onto court when we aren’t ready can lead to injuries as our bodies are cold and our muscles are tight and inflexible. We want to make sure our bodies our warm so that our muscles are stretchy and flexible. This not only means we’re ready to chase the ball into the corners but also that we’re less likely to pull/tear something.

Everyone has a different routine for warming up, I suggest trying different things to see how you feel both before and after playing. Don’t be afraid to make changes! A good warm up is about recognizing your own body and it’s needs so that you can stay fit and healthy to enjoy your game.

QUICK TIPS

Taking a warm shower/sauna/steam before you play will easily get rid of your chills and get your muscles loosened up and ready to go!

When playing T&D try to arrange it so that you can fit in a quick warm up before you play without delaying the evening!

If you’re going to warm up on the court, let your body get used to hitting by starting out with shorter shots. If you start off trying to hit hard you can pull a muscle as you are trying to push a cold muscle too hard!

ACTIVE STRETCHING

Active stretching just means you’re moving and doing light exercises to get your body going instead of pulling on your muscles while staying stationary (static stretching).

You want to avoid static stretching prior to playing. Static stretching before playing can actually make you weaker in your match! Static stretching does have its place after your match; 30-60 second static stretches will keep your muscles from contracting and getting sore after playing.

When warming up you want to build up to motions that you would be doing in a game, here are a few warm up activities that I find get me going. The number and repetitions are up to you, and involve a bit of experimentation to find what works best for your body.

  1. Jogging on the spot – High knees and Butt-Kickers. Mix them up and get those legs moving!
  2. Side to side jumping – feet together jump/hop side to side, forward and backwards. This will prepare you to explode off the T.
  3. Twist Jumping – Turn your upper body in the opposite direction of your lower body while jumping. Get your lower back and core engaged to hit the ball.
  4. Lunging – Lunge forward and back up to a standing position, alternating legs. Go slow to let your legs feel the lunge. Makes sure your front knee is not going over your foot. *Bonus Lunging: Twist your upper body with each lunge. This simulates hitting as you lunge!
  5. Side Lunging – Focus on keeping your body facing one direction, your legs solid and your knee in line with your foot. Go slow and see how deep of a lunge you can get while still being balanced.
  6. Arm Circles – Channel your inner pre-schooler and let your arms go! Start small, get bigger, go small again, switch. This will warm up your shoulders and loosen up your arm for your game.

 

spencer robitaille

Spencer Robitaille, Mayfair Lakeshore Assistant Squash Professional

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