In 1973, Blanksby, Elliot and Bloomfield conducted on of the first studies on squash. The study looked at the heart rate responses of various playing groups.
The specific categories analysed were middle aged sedentary males (mean age – 42.4yrs), middle age active males (mean age – 43.9yrs) and middle aged “A” grade squash players (mean age – 25.6yrs). There were 25 participants for each group. The heart rate was tracked for a total time of 30mins (three minutes hit up, 25 minutes playing and two minutes recovery period after playing). Results:
Middle aged sedentary males: Mean max heart rate: 174.8bpm. Mean playing time 12.6 minutes. Working at average of 85% of max heart rate from one minute onwards. Mean peak of heart rate max: 97.2%. One-minute recovery mean heart rate: 144.8bpm.
Middle age active males: Mean max heart rate: 153bpm. Mean playing time 13.6 minutes. Working at average of 73% of max heart rate from one minute onwards. Mean peak of heart rate max: 85.5%. One-minute recovery mean heart rate: 125bpm.
Middle aged “A” grade squash males: Mean max heart rate: 162.7bpm. Mean playing time 17.2 minutes. Working at average of 73% of max heart rate from one minute onwards. Mean peak of heart rate max: 83.6%. One-minute recovery mean heart rate: 133.1bpm.
Significant differences could be seen between the sedentary male’s comparative to the active and “A” grade males during match play as well as during the recovery period. Regardless of standard, all players exhibited a rapid increase in heart rate after the first minute of play followed by a gradual increase until peak heart rate occurred. After the initial increase in heart rate, only small fluctuations of heart rates were noted in between rallies with a reduction in heart rate of no more than 4bpm.
At the time, this study was a revolutionary step to quantifying the physiological responses of a game of squash which would allow for specific training to take place.
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