If you want to become even stronger tennis player, you need to do some tennis fitness training as well. It is just inevitable. The older and less fit you are, the more you need it. If you are guilty of years of neglect of fitness training, you would really benefit a lot and you would be surprised how fast you will improve. Not just in the fitness (and looks) department, but also on the tennis court.
Count all the hours you practice on the tennis courts, and you should give at least the same amount to your tennis fitness training. It includes strength, power, flexibility, balance and coordination. You want to have strong legs and glutes, strong core, and a lot of explosive power. It may feel too complicated to find all the time for fitness training, but it is a matter of priorities.
If you decide that something is really important (and your tennis fitness training should be) you will make the time.
Get up 30 minutes earlier. Turn off your favorite show on TV in the evening. Turn off Facebook or Instagram for one hour a day. You will see how much more time you suddenly have and you can do your training.
Make time for your tennis fitness training
Like with everything in life, with every goal, every accomplishment, every new healthy habit, it’s all about consistency and a compound effect of small acts. You can easily apply this to your tennis fitness training. Just a little workout after each tennis practice, maybe 20-30 minutes and another 10-20 minutes for stretching, and over a period of one week it adds on to 3-5 hours of tennis fitness training. It is 150–250 hours per year. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
You can train after your tennis practice when others talk or go for a beer. You can train early in the morning when everybody still sleeps. Or late at night, instead of watching TV or going to a bar. Yea, yea, I know, you don’t go to bars :-)
You don’t even need to do any fancy workouts. Choose a few intense exercises that work the legs, hips, core and shoulders and just repeat them in sequence for several small circuits. It will be fast, intense, and even challenging. Using your body as a resistance is often one of the harder things to do, especially when your body is a bit on the heavier side. But that’s a good thing, the body will be motivated to become light so you don’t need to struggle and you will drop (fat) weight faster.
Try this simple circuit several times per week and watch the results happen within not too long time.
Start doing the squat “froggie” jumps from one side of tennis court to the other. Or if you are in the grass or sand, do about 20–30 deep, powerful jumps. Perform the squats as deep as you can. Your joints will get used to it, and you train the muscles in the full range of motion. Make sure you always keep your chest and head up so your upper body doesn’t collapse. I always like to say that if you had a sign on your chest, let other people read it in the bottom squat position and on the way up and down.
Shake off the lactic acid from your legs (you got some, right? If not, do more of the jumps!) for a few seconds and perform walking lunges back to the starting position. Again, about 20–30 lunges. Focus on going really deep low and keep your body erected. Focus on driving the movement from the butt cheek of your front leg. It’s all about the booty (in tennis, and life, ha ha) and we want to get it strong and powerful.
(And of course, beautifully round and shaped)
Everybody’s favorite (NOOOOT) exercise. It is super intense, and trains the entire body. Squat down and put the hands on the ground. Jump your feet out away from your arms into a plank position. Keep your core firm and solid, don’t let your hips sink. Do a beauuuuutiful push up and then jump your feet back to the starting position, towards your hands. Land gently. The last part of the burpee is to jump up as high as you can and softly land back into deep squat. That was one burpee. Now repeat 15 times. You gotta love burpees!!!
Now give your legs a little break and get down on our feet and elbows into the plank position and hold it for at least 1 minute. If you feel strong, hold it for 1.5–2 minutes. If you are already strong in your core, you can do the plank on your hands instead of the elbows and with alternating lifts of the opposite leg and arm (see the picture). This will be challenging not just your strength, but balance and coordination as well. Each time you lift your limbs up, hold the top position for 1–2 seconds so you feel you have a good control of the movement and good balance. Then switch the side to lift the opposite limbs. Keep going for one minute, at least.
Repeat the entire circuit of these 4 exercises 4–6 times, depending how much time you have for your training. It should take you about 20–30 minutes. And you have addressed all the legs, hips, core, shoulder stabilizers, chest, arms, power, balance and coordination. How cool is that!
If you still have some time left, do a little static stretching routine, so you would even out the imbalances in your body that tennis (unfortunately) creates. We cannot stop playing, but we don’t want to be forced to stop, that’s why we have to stretch, right?
Do this workout a few times a week, which means 3–5 times, and you will notice how much stronger your legs will get and how much easier it will be to move around on the tennis court. You will run down balls that you haven’t dreamt about before, and you will have more power as well, because your core will be more stable, you will have better balance and you will also be in better position to hit, because you will get to the spot faster.
Then it will become so much fun and you will become even more motivated to do more tennis fitness training. If you would like to have more inspiration for more different exercises that you can put together in different circuit, you can find many in “Tennis Fitness for the Love of it“, a tiny little book that fits your tennis bag and that can inspire you into new routines each time you put an eye on it.