Strength training wasn’t always a part of Tennis. Until the 1980s, players lived without it, and they did well, like the extraordinary John McEnroe.
He was the exception though, and the next player to reach that level of success, Ivan Lendl, was the ultimate gym rat.
Building muscle power is essential. Tennis workouts with weights improve ball control, stability, and agility. They also offer more protection against injuries.
In today’s tennis, talent alone doesn’t win. A good player becomes better with strength training, and a diligent one becomes a champion.
Do This for Optimal Strength Training
Get a full physical checkup before starting a weight-lifting program. It’s always good to be sure that everything checks alright.
Always warm-up before a workout and cool down when you’re done. About 15-20 minutes should do and then start your routine.
Make sure to learn the basics well if you’re just starting a weight-lifting program. It doesn’t take more than an hour and saves you a lot of pain.
Practice good form and proper posture at all times to avoid injury, and adjust the weights so that the final repetitions are taxing but doable.
Add aerobic and endurance exercises to complement strength training. Take an integrated approach to your program for best results.
The Best Tennis Workouts with Weights
The best training programs are those tailored to the player’s specific needs, fitness goals, and availability of training resources.
These are some of the workouts that improve players performance and give good results later on in a tennis game.
Strength Training for the Shoulder
The first critical joint to be primed is the shoulder.
Recommended exercises include shoulder presses, lateral raises, forward raises, horizontal external rotations, internal rotations, and external rotations with position variety.
Strength Training for the Elbow
This is to protect the elbow joint from the more frequent injuries and improve the stroke.
It’s good to include bicep curls, tricep extensions, forearm pronation, and forearm supination. This is usually sufficient.
Strength Training for the Wrist
Start with grips and move on to wrist curls, extensions, and rotations. It’s important to train both hands equally, not just the one you use.
Strength Training for the Core
The core muscles are the powerhouse of a good serve, and a smashing forehand or backhand. They’re the abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back muscles.
These exercises are great to train them well: Crunches, twisting crunches, barbell squats, dumbbell bent-over rows, superman exercises, and standing Russian twists.
Strength Training of the Upper Body
The chest and upper back muscles are taxed in a tennis match, and they need both power and flexibility. Stability is also crucial for safety and success.
These exercises are recommended: bench press, push-ups, single-arm dumbbell rows, pull-ups, and lat pull-downs.
Strength Training of the Lower Body
The proper stroke starts with good balance and a powerful base. A good lower body mechanism also provides remarkable footwork and stability.
These are some of the exercises that enhance lower body power and strength: deadlift, bent over rows, barbell squats, and machine leg presses. You can add to that the regular lunges, knee extension, hamstring curls, and calf raises.
When? and How Much?
Professional tennis players usually have playing seasons and off periods. It’s optimal for them to train according to that schedule.
Before the Playing Season
Players should prepare for the game season after the break period. They gradually build up muscle and target agility.
As the playing season closes in, they should also maximize strength. The goal is to have power, endurance, and speed.
Pre-season is a time to let the muscles take form, so regular training is quite sufficient. It should be about general fitness not building muscle.
During the Playing Season
This is a time to show off results in the court. Players put in all their effort in their matches, so it’s not advisable to overload them with strength training.
The gym is used mainly for maintaining muscle strength, nothing over the top.
After the Playing Season
This is a time to unwind, so it’s mostly light activity. It’s essential to provide rest and recovery for the muscles, without becoming too relaxed.
A sudden halt or discounting of workouts tend to unravel months of diligent training. Still, pursuing a high-intensity program is counter-productive at this point.
After a time of renewal, both physically and mentally, players can resume a serious strength and power building program.
Strength training and building muscle power are crucial for success in any sport. The hours spent at the gym payoff at the tennis court. There are a few things to remember though.
Muscle soreness is normal but joint pain isn’t, so take care of yourself and be safe. Training should build you up.
Go easy on the muscles that’ll be taxed outside the gym like the shoulder, arm, and wrist. You want them to become strong, not fatigued.
Alternate the days of strength training and court practice, you don’t need to cram everything in one day, and if the time is too tight, give priority to technical skill training.
Tennis comes first.