Taking your tennis game to the next level requires more than just spending hours practicing your backhand, forehand, or service technique. Improving your strength, power, speed, and cardio will give you not only a physical edge on your opponent, but a mental edge as well knowing that you have what it takes to wear your opponent down. With so many different types of training programs out there it can be difficult to decide what to do. Here at Beyond Motion we analyze the athlete and the sport to make sure that what you do off the court carries over to how you perform on the court.
Tennis has been long regarded as an aerobic sport because of the length of time a match can last and the time between points. A more detailed and accurate analysis of the sport reveals that it is primarily anaerobic, with aerobic fitness only playing a role between points. This means that a cardiorespiratory training approach that utilizes long distance runs will not adequately prepare your body for the demands placed on it by a match of tennis. A more appropriate approach is to utilize high intensity bursts of effort lasting approximately 8 seconds (the average length of time for a point) with rest periods of 16-40 seconds (the approximate time spent between points). This can be accomplished through interval sprints or various cone drills that emphasize technical ability as well. Another advantage of this type of training is that it encourages adaptations in your muscles to become explosive and powerful.
The approach you take to resistance training is just as important as the one taken for cardiorespiratory training. Exercises requiring maximal effort created in a short amount of time will have the most carry over to the game. Exercises that address power typically consist of low reps (1-5) and do not utilize a weight that causes fatigue. Your body will adapt by altering muscle fiber types to those that are best suited for the expression of power. Here at Beyond Motion, we are able to utilize the Keiser to replicate the desired type of muscle contraction, mimic movement patterns thus activating every muscle required for the movement, and monitor power output rep by rep to determine when your body has reached an undesirable level of fatigue. In addition to the Keiser, our knowledge and expertise of Olympic lifting will yield improvements in full body explosiveness that are hard to match.
The most important thing to remember when training for any sport is to recreate the demands of the game in your training regimen. Tennis is a predominantly anaerobic sport, which relies heavily on the expression of power to cover the court and return volleys with speed and accuracy. Get the upper hand on your opponent by using this information to train smarter than they do.
Chandler, T., Chandler, W., Kovacs, M. Tennis Training. Vista, CA: Racquet Tech , 2007
Zatsiorsky, V. Science and practice of strength training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1995