Strength Preparation of the Tennis Player

Strength Preparation of the Tennis Player

Strength Preparation of the Tennis Player

by Prof. Angel Spassov, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Here are four excellent exercises for strength development of the tennis player. These exercises concentrate on the legs, since the upper body can be strong enough simply from the nature of the sport. The legs can be an endurance problem because the matches last for many hours and there are several matches in each tournament.

Exercises specifically appropriate for tennis are:

  • the back squat with weights, squat on one leg;
  • the half squat with weights;
  • the jump squat, from full squat position (with two legs);
  • and the basketball drill.

These exercises are for explosive power, which is necessary for tennis. So, each set should last 10 sec, unless you are training for endurance.

Back Squat
Perform this squat with a weight equal to the bodyweight of the player. Using one leg, try to make it as fast as you can in each 10 sec set. After that, let your body recover.

Use the heart rate to judge recovery. When you start new exercises, your heart rate should be 17 to 18 beats per 10 seconds. Although that would be 102 to 108 beats per minute (bpm), check at 10 sec because you only check at 10 sec while playing. It is possible to start a new set when the heart rate is 120 during endurance exercises.

However, in all kinds of strength training with weights, heart rate should not exceed more than 108 bpm (18 per 10 sec). If you are doing more than that, your recovery is not enough and the results are not as good as what you need.

Half Squat
Again, squat with a weight equal to the bodyweight of the player, also for 10 seconds, and me to reach your best - a bigger number than before. The motivation of the player is important. If you ask him to jump as far as he can, sometimes he tends to hold back.

The exercise is very important, because if you have little chance to train with weights, this will be enough to keep the legs in good condition. This includes the lifters if they train without weights for longer than one month. There is no other exercise to replace squatting with weights.

The exercise is very simple, but difficult when you are making recovery from the deep squat position, which is the critical point when the angle of the knees is about 120°. Normally, if you are making recovery without weights from a deep squat position, you have to be slow in the critical point. However, you have to increase the speed at that point if you want to jump. This is the only difference. But, it is a big difference because it engages a bigger part of the working muscles to make the maximal jump.

Jump Squat
Jump squat with 25% from the bodyweight, i.e. one fourth of the weight that we work with in the half and full squat. Make the jump with two legs, as high as you can, up to the maximal point that you can touch, again down and again up, in a deep squat without stopping. The set should be 10 sec long.

Now understand, the number of reps is not a question, because in 10 sec there can be 100 reps (for example). After a training period of approximately six weeks, the athlete will fix the number of reps but he will increase the height of what he can jump. This is the goal. The athlete can jump on one leg only for another variation. Remember, after 10 sec, change legs.

Basketball Drill
The coach stands in the basketball crouch position, the player stands opposite him. The coach moves to the left side, the right side, backward and forward; the player is obligated to fix the distance between the coach and himself by a half meter, and to keep that distance always, regardless of how sharply the direction of movement changes.

The knees should be bent at approximately 45°. When starting, the angle will be in a higher position, but ultimately the load should be more over the calves rather than the thighs. If we want to give him an equal load over both parts of the legs, he has to be around this mentioned critical point. The angle is not so important for the coach or another player (who can switch roles).

But what is important is to go from the heaviest exercises to the lightest exercises because when we train with weights, we train with heavier exercises. The lighter exercises should be faster than the others and very close to what the player does during a typical game. In our country, we always base our training as close to the actual competition of the sport as possible.

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