All Eyes on Wimbledon: How to Train Like a Tennis Ace
Wimbledon is just around the corner; another brilliant sporting extravaganza to get the nation on their feet and to inspire the amateur players to dust off their rackets, head down to the courts, bask in the precious rays of summer, and... well, play tennis.
Maybe you’re training to be the next international tennis icon, or maybe you just want the satisfaction of beating all your friends in a weekend game and rubbing it in for the next 12 months. In either case, there are some things you can do in the gym — not just on the court — to up your game.
Tennis requires endurance, speed, and explosive power. Here are some workouts that can help give you the winning edge.
Barbell or Dumbbell Thrusters
Thrusters are a savage exercise, combining a front and overhead squat with an overhead press. The movement begins by holding the weight in a neutral position — as if you were going to do a front squat, if using a barbell, and as if you were going to do a shoulder press if using dumbbells — and then going into a squat.
From the bottom of the squat, you “explode” up in a controlled manner, and press the weights over the top of your head simultaneously.
Thrusters will challenge your core muscles like nothing else, while giving your legs, shoulders, and arms a good workout. When done for high reps, they will not only improve the endurance of all these muscles but will also work the heart and lungs hard.
Thrusters are, in other words, a perfect full-body athletic workout for improving your tennis game.
Cross Trainer HIIT
A major aspect of tennis is the ability to cross the court in quick bursts, in order to catch your opponent’s serves and to return them effectively.
If you become winded and slow mere moments into the game, and your arm turns to jelly as you raise your racket, you can’t realistically expect to pull off a good performance.
For developing muscular power and cardiovascular conditioning, there’s not much that competes with HIIT.
Instead of doing your HIIT on a treadmill or bike however, opt to use a cross trainer. It will give both your arms and legs a workout, boosting endurance, and will likely take you to exhaustion faster and more absolutely.
Well-conditioned muscles and a powerful cardiovascular system are all very well. But like any good martial artist — or tennis player — will tell you, in order to generate snapping explosive power, you need to be loose and relaxed.
No matter how well-conditioned you are, your tennis performance will be poor if you’re as stiff as a board and flex your entire body as you patrol the court.
To improve your flexibility and muscle relaxation, so that you can use the “rubber band” effect to whip your serves past your opponent like blazing meteorites, you need to add a stretching regimen to your workout.
Yoga is a good, time-tested system for doing just this. Hatha yoga tends to be accessible for beginners, but you could always take a leaf out of the book of tennis legend Andy Murray and try a hot yoga class as well.
For more workout ideas, check out our free workouts page.