Core training beyond crunches and planks

Legs and upper body synchronization for sports

These drills are used for squash players however the exercises are great for many other sports as well. All the exercises are skill-based- they develop agility, they are great for tempo and they help the body to work in harmony by developing connectivity through the core!

Here at 4 Core Fitness we are looking after athletes training with Elite squash Bristol, they come from all over the world to train here and each of them has different issues, strengths and weaknesses- everyone is different and with different skill sets they have different abilities.


Core training in Bristol

Syafiq Kamal Pro Squash player, Highest ranking:84 – Elite Squash Training Bristol

However there are common problems that we see time again with these athletes, the first big issue is a synchronization problem between the upper body and the lower body.

Further more even when they do have a good rhythm and connectivity through the muscle slings we still find other dis-connectivity issues.

For example- just having a good connection at the hips area doesn’t mean they have a good connection between the ankles and the hips or from the hips to the shoulders!

The 2nd biggest issue with athletes is their centre of gravity is kept too low through their movements!

It is not an immediately obvious issue but I liken it to an oil tanker being overloaded- sitting deep in the water and looking like it might sink, imagine how this limits movement and the ability to quickly change direction.

Moving fast and being dynamic with a low centre of gravity is not only difficult but it consumes unnecessary energy; this alone could play a pivotal role in a competitive match of squash.

Do you want to be the best? You need to stay loose, relaxed and only invest the minimum energy to get more power output or get from A to B. Economy of movement is vital!

When we start teaching how to keep the centre of gravity where it belongs we immediately see improvement in the movements and sometimes they become, and look, effortless.

In this case study we will look at some exercises that help to overcome the two issues identified above and as well as looking to improve range of movement at the same time!

Medicine Ball Single Leg BOSU smash with swap under

Now of course we have easier and more simple exercises but let’s get straight into it! As you can see on the first part of the video, during the single leg squat there is no glute activation or support for the lower back. Is it a problem? Not really but it is not efficient. We can refine the movement to expend less energy and also provide better support for the lumbar spine!

If we speed up the execution of this exercise it will really help improve the dynamics between the upper body and the lower body through the core!

You not only working on the deceleration and acceleration phase through balance but you are also developing timing through the movement!


Bosu Ball Skiing

Keeping the hips in alignment and parallel with the ground isn’t easy. As the name suggests it it is a great exercise for skiing but it is applicable to so many sports as it really challenges the legs to keep a good tempo and maintain control! Lots of lactic acid and burn. It’s a great workout!


Tempo drill with core synchronization – level up 1-2-3

This drill is really useful to make the legs more dynamic and with a good tempo we help to improve transition between all three planes of movement- from saggital to frontal and frontal to saggital through the transverse plane. We are able to add multiple variations to this exercise.


External hips rotation with Hamstring stretch

You are probably thinking- what is the use of this exercise? The aim with the FreeForm Board here is to maintain the hips’ natural position and only utilise external rotation from the femur so the head of the femur in the socket behaves like a corkscrew and the muscles around the hip joint are working hard on hip stability. In the video the glute on the left side is working really hard to create the external rotation without hip rotation, stretching the adductor muscles. The left side is almost like a single leg squat, keeping the knee in alignment with the hips! This is a great way to combine strength and mobility and learn how to maintain control of your posture.


FreeForm Board – Full circle with mountain climber

Same mission as the “External hips rotation with Hamstring stretch” exercise but here we are looking for more knee extension and glute activation with a nice lumbar spine stability. Adding the mountain climber with hip flexion and extension will give an overall great workout for the hips!


Rotational exercises section

Most sports include some sort of rotation but if we look at squash or any racket sports rotation is vital and is one of the most important areas to continually challenge and develop during training. Traditional weight lifting only strengthening through the saggital plane will not help us improve the power or timing of hitting a ball with a racket!

Medicine Ball rotational side throws with hops on ladder

We have so many versions of this medicine ball agility training system but this clip provides a general idea. How can we challenge the body and connect from the ball of the foot all the way up to the top of the head?  The throwing part of the exercise actually has nothing to do with the arms- the throwing is executed from the core, however to perform this correctly you will need a very strong single leg base. As you can see there is so much room for improvement but it is never easy the first time you do one of these exercises!


Resistance band reaction drill from T

This is more relevant to the squash game itself- reaction timing whist loading the rotation and executing the strike when you reach the ball. This is a great drill for creating a connection from the ball of the foot all the way up and working through your muscle slings.  You can increase or decrease the amount of steps you do before your twist!


Synchronization between legs and arms with russina twists Level 2

Finally the biggest challenge of all- how can we create a tempo game with a cable machine and a deck? This exercise creates a real connection and the perfect timing, if you make a mistake of any essentials of the movement you will lose control and you need to start all over. As you can see on the video it was not easy, but this is the type of training which will help you move so much better.

When you are able to master all these exercises there is still much more to come!

You can also try the free version of this training session. I removed the ‘Freeform board’ element from the session as I understand that not everyone has access to the device. However, I highly recommend that you invest in this amazing device because it is extremely versatile and works wonders for your core!



Test our training plan here: Core training for Racket sports

For core training plans version 2 and 3 you must register with us by opening an account. You can do this by clicking there link below.

Register for our 8 Week online course. Version 2 and 3 can be found under session 7 and 8.







We really hope you find this blog post useful and if you have any further questions or you need advice please do not hesitate to get in touch by completing the form below.

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