Fit Tip: Become a Better Tennis Player
Professional tennis players are some of the best athletes in the world. Tennis involves strength, speed, agility, footwork and endurance to last the match. Getting more court time to practice your strokes is important, but even for recreational players, sports-specific conditioning is the key to improvement.
Strength Training: Strength training increases the power of your shots and minimizes injuries by protecting the joints that are subject to repetitive stress. Try a combination of dumbbells, resistance bands and cable machines. Focus on the whole body – legs, arms, back, shoulders and the core. Try a circuit style workout moving from exercise to exercise. Make sure to incorporate rotational movements and balance exercises.
Plyometrics: Speed and agility training are critical for tennis players to get to the ball faster and recover quickly for the next shot. Plyometric exercises like squat jumps, split lunges and box jumps can help prepare the body for those quick moves. Incorporate side-to-side lateral hops and jumping rope for improved footwork.
Cardio: In tennis, sometimes the only way to win is to outlast your opponent with greater stamina. Build your aerobic base through cardio workouts like a group cycling class or lap swimming. Tennis also involves bursts of intense physical activity followed by short periods of rest. Incorporate interval training, like suicide runs (sprinting between two or more predetermined points), to work on speed and endurance.
Stretching: Stretching after every game will help prevent muscle soreness and reduce the potential for injury.