This type of elastic bands can be used in a number of ways. I plan on using them mostly for kids to replicate their forehand and backhand swings. This is a good method for building up some strength training and improving their flexibility/rang of motion in their shoulders, trunk and core. Most people don't have very good core rotation and flexibility. This is a major role for maximizing power in your swing. Simply having your racquet back does not mean you are set. You still need to rotate your shoulders/core. For example, on the backhand your head doesn't move, but you rotate your shoulders so that your right shoulder is now facing the sidewall. This is the torque you need to produce power on the backhand side. If you're interested in this more go take a look at my previous post on the backhand slow motion drive here http://www.serioussquash.com/2014/12/slow-motion-backhand-straight-drive.html
I always see pitchers in the MLB use these bands to warmup in the bullpen before they start throwing. So you could also keep one of them in your bag and use them as part of your warm up routine.
The second set of bands I ordered are loops (pictured below). These bands are like giant elastic bands and are used for different exercises. I used these once at the Pacific Sport Institute here in Victoria and I liked them. We used them more for warming up and getting hidden muscles (like the hip flexors) to fire.
What I like so much about resistance bands is that you can reproduce squash specific motions. So you can work on technique along with moderate strength training. They are also extremely portable and you can use them at home or the office. Just a few minutes every second or third day and you'll feel the difference.
I do have just 2 concerns about this type of product. The first is if a band snaps or isn't fastened currently. Even though it seems like a harmless training tool, it requires proper precautions to ensure it's safe. I know some people pull or hold the resistance bands for one another as they do the exercises. This could be dangerous to do with kids as it can easily slip, so I won't use them this way. If you want to be extra cautious I recommend using this with your eye guards on. I know it may look silly at the office or at your house, but if a band does snap or come loose the last place you want to get hit is in the eye! Ok, have I scared you off them yet? Hopefully not, because I do believe these will be a great addition to the coaching tool box and can do a lot of good.
The second concern I have with resistance bands is the potential for muscle or joint strains. If someone is unfamiliar with the bands and overdoes it they are susceptible to a mild injury. Like every new exercise you begin you have to slowly build up your muscle endurance and the receptions. The good thing with ordering a set of variable textile strengths is that you can start with most elastic one and build your way up to the most resistance.
Make sure you tie the resistance band to something sturdy and be sure it's a good knot or two! These bands also come in handy during rehabilitation from a number of injuries. I've used them before when rehabbing a sprained ankle to increase the range of motion. You can also use them to stretch after your match. There's so much you can do. Pick one up online (I got mine at Amazon) or at a place like Sport Chek.
Do you use resistance bands or have you tried them before? Did you use them for squash specific movements?
Last thing..how are your resolutions coming along? Have you set or updated your goals for 2015? What are you going to do differently? A small subtle change adds up over time. Maybe it's adding a few reps with an exercise band to your weekly training that will get you that extra snap on your backhand!