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Jahangir Khan’s Training Regime – The In-Depth Guide

The jury might be out on whether Jahangir Khan is the best player to ever step onto a squash court or not.

Depending on when you were born or when you played, there are one of two other names worthy of your attention. It really is a generational thing. Some squash fans are more impressed by his compatriot Jansher Khan, while others even think the recently retired Ramy Ashour should feature more prominently in the discussion.

Jahangir Khan had the most rigorous Training Regime in the squash community. He was faster, fitter, stronger and more disciplined than any of his contemporaries. It took a long time before anybody could match him for off court preparation.

As it so happens the player who did match him was not only from Pakistan but he was also a Khan. Sportsmen are of defined by what they achieve on the court but it is the impact that Jahangir Khan had off the court to will define his legacy.

Jahangir Khan – A Career Overview

The story of Jahangir Khan is fascinating because instead of being limited by his physical problems, he defied them. He defied the advice of family and he defied the advice of doctors.

It is important to try and understand how a player with so many physical limitations – in his youth – blossomed into the finest player of his generation and blew all of his opponents off the court with total disdain.

The thing you need to understand about Jahangir Khan is that throughout his career he didn’t just outwit and outplay – although he did that a lot – but he often outlasted his opponents. Those who followed his early development insist that Jahangir Khan was ahead of his time when it came to training and preparation.

One commentator even ventured to say that Jahangir Khan was the fittest athlete in the world at the time. An athlete with enormous discipline and a tremendous sense of purpose. So, we think it is perhaps prudent for all of us to venture into the mind of Jahangir Khan and figure out what it was made him tick.

There is the famous anecdote on how Jahangir Khan countered what was a physical nightmare at the Toronto World Squash Championships in 1981. He encountered a shoulder problem during his earlier rounds and it persisted for the remainder of the tournament until he had to play against defending champion Geoff Hunt of Australia.

Australians are generally known for their grit and the absence of genuine fear. However, it was Jahangir Khan who hogged those headlines in Toronto. Playing through the pain and the trauma, and eventually lifting what would be the first of many World Championship titles.

A filmmaker who followed Jahangir Khan’s training regimen very closely during the early years was a fellow called Stuart Sharp, who actually dropped everything else he was busy with the document what he felt was a once in a lifetime player.

A lot of what Jahangir Khan did was all really standard stuff, if we are truly honest with ourselves. However, it is the intensity with which he trained which was something to behold.

Spring Training

A common routine of Jahangir Khan’s as that of kneeling down at the back of the court and at the instruction of his coach he would then burst out the blocks and sprint to the front wall. Once he touched the front wall, he would then get back down in a starting position and take off for the back wall.

It was a both a rushed routine, which didn’t provide ample opportunity for the Pakistani great to catch a breath.

His cousin Rehmat Khan, determined to help the young fellow realise his full potential, was always on court forcing Jahangir Khan to push the limits. The fact that he was physically very week as a young boy should not be lost on us.

He did the spring training without fear and without caution.


We have all done these in various capacities on the sports field. Whether it is while training for cricket, rugby or even tennis. Sit-ups are the staple diet of any outstanding sportsman or woman. Developing a strong core is important in almost every sporting code but more so in a racket sport – or any other code like it – where body rotation is a key component.

Again, we need to bear in mind that Jahangir Khan had a series of abdominal issues before he decided to seriously pursue a career in squash.

Strengthening The Backhand Drive

An element of squash often lost on many is the need to pay as much attention on your weaknesses as you do on your strengths. Jahangir Khan, with the guidance of his cousin, was fully aware of this. It was never as complicated for him, as it has become for the younger generation.

Rehmat Khan would opt to stand right up along the sidewall, while Jahangir Khan would stand nearer the T-line. His coach and cousin would feed to Jahangir Khan off the front wall and he would then in turn hit a solid drive back to Rehmat Khan.

Now, ordinarily, you would probably have two options for this drill. If you, like Rehmat, are confident that you can feed accurately regularly without having to stop the rally then feel free to do so.

Jahangir Khan thrived on quality repetition during his training regimen.

Frog Jumps In Squash

Nothing was ever complicated about the Jahangir Khan regimen. Nothing beats the good old frog jump in training. The one defining feature is that he leaped very high when carrying out the routine, which is significant.

The man, at his peak, was hugely enthusiastic about his preparation – at a time when money didn’t feature as prominently in the game. Every jump was a serious action.

Drop Shot Training

For this routine, Cousin Rehmat would stand midway between the service box and the front wall. Jahangir Khan would station himself on the T-line, almost exactly. Cousin Rehmat would then feed hard into the front wall and Jahangir Khan would make a drop shot return.

They key was him constantly picking out the right spot on the wall, where he wanted the ball to ricochet and the focus would be on hitting that same spot every time. Critically, if Jahangir Khan found the right spot every time (which he did) Rehmat would not exactly where to retrieve the ball and return the feed without having to stop the rally.

There are few better signs of consistency and accuracy.

Gym Work

Jahangir Khan spent hours in the gym, making the most of the equipment at his disposal. The interesting thing about all of his other intensive fitness work is that most of it was conducted on the squash court, which would be followed by an intensive technical training.


Jahangir Khan did a considerable amount of running and at a very intense level too. A lot of that running would be done on the softer surfaces like grass, much of it was road running and then there was the intensive work that he did on rugged terrain and at high altitudes.

For a protracted period it looked and felt like he would never stop running, like something out of a Forrest Gump movie.

Jahangir Khan was not conventional off the court, by any stretch of the imagination. When resources are limited you have to be creative. Among his many returns was that of chopping wood – a practical thing to do really.

Hard Ball Squash

Much is often made of that fact that Jahangir Khan, who has dominated the soft ball circuit for so many years, still managed to find time and energy to compete on the North American hard ball circuit. As the name of this North American would suggest, the sport is played with a harder ball, that travels faster and the game is played on smaller courts.

Khan played in 13 hard ball tournaments during his North American experiment, just to prove to all and sundry that he was the undisputed champion of squash. As it so happens, he pulled that off with very little fuss. He won twelve of those tournaments and beat the Premier hard ball player at the time on ten occasions.

While it does speak to Jahangir Khan’s technical ability and mental fortitude, the hard ball experiment also proved to every that he was simply the fittest and most physically superior squash player in the world at the time.

To be able to compete at that level in North America and on the traditional PSA World Tour is remarkable – a story that needs to be told over and over again. In a series of interviews about his hard ball experiment, Khan consistently spoke about how he simply had to work harder than everybody else on the professional circuits.

It is sometimes said that the higher you go the harder the wind blows. Well Jahangir Khan did a lot of his training at very high altitudes. Nothing thrown against him by Mother Nature could thwart his efforts.

One commentator, reflecting on Jahangir Khan’s North American experiment, once told audiences that the Pakistani legend operated like a non-tiring machine. The modern squash fraternity calls Nicol David – another legend of the game – the Duracell Bunny.

Jahangir Khan might have been the conqueror to most and while it might be particularly masculine to suggest, we think he might have been the original Duracell Bunny.

The Man Behind The Squash Machine

Rehmat Khan was the man behind the Jahangir Khan success story and that had a lot to do with preparation off court. Having mentored the most successful squash player of all time, Rehmat recently presented a seminar to a group of young people at Grantham Squash Club.

The message, before continuing with the training element of the seminar, was very clear. He said fitness, ball control and the will to win were more important than anything else – before you even think about assimilating a match like situation.

Among the more prominent routines that he has used over the years, even with Jahangir Khan, is the angled corner, continuous volley routine.

As the phrase firmly suggests, the routine involves hitting the squash ball into the right – or even left – sidewall. Getting it to ricochet off the front wall and returning it with the alternate shot. So, that would be hitting it into the front wall and getting the ball to ricochet back to you off the sidewall.

So, to be clear that is one short off the forehand win and then one shot off the backhand wing.

Double Boast Squash Routine

Next on the agenda will be the boast off the left wall – or off the right side wall – and then retrieving it at the other end of the court. Rehmat insists that the drill is more about control than anything else but it is also a movement and a fitness drill.

Three-Shot Two Player Routine

PLAYER ONE will play from the right back corner of the court. He will hit the first shot as a drive straight back to himself. The second shot will then be a boast crosscourt. It is then his job to charge forward – on the left side of the court – and retrieve the boast himself.

That shot should be directed back to where the rally started. PLAYER TWO, who had idling on the left side of the court will then slip across to starting position, like the scarlet pimpernel.

Squash Sprints

Just to highlight how simple yet effective the Khan training regimen was, Rehmat then introduced local squash players to the flat tummy routine. So, you could have a group of players lined up at the back or you could just be working with one player. It really doesn’t matter.

When the layer is prompted – for many years that player was Jahangir Khan – he will lift himself up off his tummy and sprint to the front wall. Touch the wall then run back and lie flat on the tummy again. This could be a really popular routine for the youngsters.

Stick To The Squash Rules

Rehmat also stressed that rules are more important when training than when they are in a match situation. He explained that without there being any rules, there would be no discipline. The phrase often bandied about in sporting circles is that of practising how you would play.

It is true that practise doesn’t make perfect….only perfect practise makes perfect.