Tennis is all about conditioning. Although the average point lasts only 3-5 seconds, matches can last hours. Cardio exercises can help you to increase your endurance so that you can play more and spend less time on the sidelines. It doesn't matter how skilled you are at racket.
You can improve your endurance by practicing good tennis conditioning, both on and off the courts. Conditioning is beneficial for both performance and long-term health and wellness. Below are some tips to improve your tennis conditioning.
Please be advised that these exercises are best performed when monitored by a professional. Ensure your safety by getting in touch with a personal trainer who can reduce your risk of injury with one to one training.
Tennis Conditioning Before Playing
Tennis is more dangerous than most athletes realize, which is why it’s so important to work through exercises with a professional. Long matches involve explosive bursts and direction changes as well as rotations of the arms and legs. Repeated swinging can lead to lateral epicondylitis (tennis knee) and carpal tunnel if you grip the racket. Senior fitness enthusiasts are often more susceptible to these injuries.
It's important to not only use tennis as a way of getting fit but also to keep your mind sharp and focused on the finer details of your game. It doesn't matter if you're just starting to play tennis or have been playing for years, endurance training should be part of your daily routine. This will help you reduce injury risk and maximize your tennis conditioning.
Do 30 minutes of cardio 3 times per week. You could do short sprints, run around the block, or participate in organized races. You might not be able to run 5-10k if you don't have the endurance to do a full match of tennis. Shuttle runs and other similar activities can help speed up your endurance. If you struggle to create a routine or worry about injury, get in touch with a personal trainer or boutique gym in your area.
To prevent injury, you should include stretching and strength-training exercises (such as a Flexbar/Twist Bar workout) into your exercise routine. Although a twist bar workout doesn't improve your boot endurance, it can prevent tennis elbow and strengthen your grip strength.
Tennis Conditioning on The Court
You can improve your conditioning by doing the right training on the court. These are some of our favorite on-court exercises for improving your endurance. (Please note that you should consult with a professional for one on one training to make sure these exercises are safe for you.)
Dynamic Warm Ups
Dynamic warm-ups are a form of flexibility training that prepares the body for the demands of tennis. Warm-ups that work effectively help muscles to function efficiently, prepare the heart for intense activity, and "awaken" your nervous system. By mimicking the demands of a tennis match, dynamic warm-ups are different from traditional stretches. Shuttle runs, lunges, and jumping jacks are a few basic examples of dynamic warm-ups (you can find a more complete list on the USTA website).
Cross Court Rallies
Cross Court Rallies, a type of dynamic warm up that simulates the movements of tennis and prepares you for real matches, are called Cross Court Rallies. Players form pairs and hit the ball in an isolated area to compete against one another. To score points, the receiving players must hit a winning ball.
Quick Hand Exchange
You can use only one hand to hit the ball against a solid surface such as a wall in the Quick Hand Exchange. To decrease the distance that the ball travels and the time to react, gradually move towards the wall. This will improve your hand-eye coordination. The Quick Hand Exchange, similar to 10 Stroke Intervals, can help improve upper body conditioning as well as maintain your swing and volley strength for hours.
Ten Stroke Intervals
Ten stroke intervals can improve form, accuracy and hand-eye coordination. They also focus on upper body conditioning. As if you were in a match, have a partner toss the ball. You can do this 10 times. Switch places, then repeat the process.
Four Ball Pickup
Four Ball Pickup is a technique that places four tennis balls on the sideline. They are placed at the net, service line and anywhere in between. Players start at the baseline and pick up the first ball. Then they run back to place it down and then run again to grab the next ball. It's almost like a shuttle run. To improve your footwork, switch from sprinting to side-shuffles.
Although stretching is often done prior to conditioning exercises, it is just as important after a hard workout. Stretching after a workout helps to prevent injuries and speed up recovery. It also allows your body to "power up" for a game.
Off Court Tennis Conditioning Exercises
Often, off-court conditioning is a separate activity from the on-court workout. You can improve your game by using a few strategic exercises, but make sure you get in touch with a personal trainer to ensure these are safe for you to perform.
Drills for The Ladder
Ladder drills are designed to improve the footwork on the court. You can either place a rope ladder on the ground or draw one with chalk to create rectangles measuring approximately 15 inches in width. You can now incorporate any or all of the following ladder drills.
Single Leg Run
Run with your feet on the ground and only one foot touching each rectangle. To avoid getting caught in the rope or touching chalk, you should start slowly and then increase your speed.
Double Leg Run
Similar to the single leg run except that both feet must step down in each box. You can run as fast as possible without losing control of the movements. Double side stepInstead of sprinting, shuffle sideways and place both feet in each box.
The shuttle sprint involves short runs from one end to another. As the distance between the baseline and the service line increases, so does the sprint from the baseline towards the net. This exercise improves leg power, agility, speed, and short bursts. Shuttle sprints can be used as a cardio exercise and a way to build endurance. They also mirror the movements you'll need to make on the court.
Burpees, high-energy exercises that use leg, chest and shoulder strength, are very popular. They are a more intense conditioning exercise and may leave you feeling sore if you're just starting your conditioning training.
Burpees can be a great workout for your whole body and increase your speed, endurance, and explosiveness on court. Place your feet on the ground and jump into a crouch. Then, explode into an upward leap. Slowly land softly, bend your knees, and then drop back into a plank. That's it.
Diet & Sleep
A healthy diet and enough sleep are essential for success in any sport. A balanced diet and adequate sleep are key to conditioning. They help the body recover from intense training and provide energy for workouts and strength through rest.
Train for Long-Term Health and Wellness
Conditioning is more than endurance. It also includes mental conditioning, speed, agility and strength. All these factors are essential for a successful match. You can also reduce injury risk by including proper tennis conditioning in your training program. This will give you an edge over the rest.
If you’re looking for tennis conditioning tailored to your health and fitness needs, contact SRQ Health and Fitness today.