With a brilliant display of fundamental, defensive squash, Canada’s Shahier Razik fended off Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly last month to retain his crown at the National Capital Open in Washington. The Professional Squash Association now ranks Razik the top player in North America. He gave Canadian Business some pointers on how to perform, and what gear to use on and off the court.
Conditioning: Razik recommends interval training. “In squash, you’re working at high intensity for 30 seconds to a minute, and the recovery between rallies is 10 to 20 seconds. Emulate that on the track, the bike or the elliptical.”
Warming up: “The main muscle groups to warm up for squash are the glutes, the hip flexors, and especially the groin, because squash involves a lot of lunging. A good warm-up is getting on the court, doing a little stretch, then running from one corner to another, and back to the T. Start slowly, then gradually speed up until you can do some harder lunges.”
Grip: “Don’t grip the racket too high. Beginners always choke up because it feels like you have more control. But that takes away from power, accuracy and reach.”
Positioning: “Squash is all in the feet. Most amateurs focus too much on the racket, but if something’s off, it’s because your movement’s off and you’re not setting up early enough for the return. Get to the ball early.”
Swing: “Don’t take too big a swing on the volley. Your power really comes from the follow-through, not the swing. And keep a firm wrist for better control.”
Head Xenon 135, $195
The No.1 thing Razik looks for in his racket is its weight. This midweight model gives him a balance between control and feel.
Eva Foam Rollers, $16.95
Essential to Razik’s pre-game stretching routine, these help him loosen up and iron the knots out of his body.
Asics Gel Blast 2, $159.99
Because squash is all about sudden stops and changes of direction, you need a shoe like this one — low, wide and stable.
Head Pro Tech Goggles, $24
Everybody should wear eye protection on the court. This stylish model keeps you safe and lends your game some retro swagger.
Timex Digital Heart Rate Monitor, $169.99
Away from the court, Razik focuses on interval training, using this to track his cardio rates.
Nike Sparq Heavy Resistance Band, $15,50
Resistance bands are a key part of Razik’s speed and explosiveness conditioning.