Game, Set, Match: Workouts for Tennis Players

Wellbeing Tips
October 8, 2018

Want to ace your next tennis match? There are lots of tennis workouts that can help you improve your strength and flexibility. Check out some of our favorites!

Whether you’re an amateur competitor, a seasoned pro, or you simply play tennis for fun, there are loads of different ways that you can tweak your tennis workouts to become a better player. Strength training is super important, no question, but it’s not the only form of training that diehard tennis players need to focus on. Intrigued? Read on to find out more about the most important workouts for tennis players.

What’s the best way to work out?

During a game of tennis, there are periods of high-intensity interspersed with shorter periods of rest. It’s important to recreate this pattern of play during your tennis workouts, so when match day rolls around, you’re prepared for the intense cardio workout that you’re about to experience. Points in competitive games last for around 15 seconds, while the work-to-rest ratio lies somewhere between 1:2 and 1:5, so that’s the sort of ratio you should be aiming for in your workouts.
HIIT—a popular form of interval training—is a great choice, as is resistance training. Try to aim for 20–25 seconds of rest between each set and perform multiple sets of the same routine to improve your strength and muscle endurance, two attributes that are extremely important for tennis. As with any form of physical exercise, you should always check with a doctor before you try something new. If there are specific areas of fitness you’d like to work on for your tennis game, a session with a personal trainer can help you develop a routine that’s tailored for your exact needs.

Warming up

Warming up is vital for tennis players. Why? For a start, it increases your body temperature, thereby helping your muscles work more efficiently. It also prepares your heart and lungs, stretches your muscles, improves coordination and movement, and wakes up your nervous system.
There are tons of ways you can get your body in the mood for some tennis. After some light stretching, do 5 minutes of light cardio to get your heart rate up. In addition, high-step trunk rotations, high knees, lunges, and butt kicks are great ways to warm up for your match.

Grand slam core workouts

After you warm up, it’s time to focus on your core. Core tennis workouts will help with your strength and stability, improve your groundstrokes and serve, and may reduce injuries.
According to Carl Petersen, Nina Nittinger, and Abbie Probert, the following workouts are a great way to prevent injuries and improve your core stability:

  • Sit-downs with medicine ball in hand: This is a great way of building up the strength and stability you need for overhead smashes and serves.
  • Seated diagonal torso twist: Mimicking the rotational movement that you’ll use for groundstrokes, this core exercise is a great way of improving your technique and stability.
  • Supine bridge and upper torso twist holding a ball: This core workout is another great exercise for improving your balance.

Of course, there are lots of other core workouts for tennis players that you can try, including crunches, reverse crunches, planks, side planks, bicycle kicks, and windshield wipers. It’s totally up to you!

Acing your lower body workouts

Now, it’s time to try some lower body tennis workouts. Lower body strength is important for any tennis player, with your leg muscles helping to power your serve and get you across the court. Check out these awesome lower body workouts for building up strength in your legs:

  • Five-way dumbbell lunge: These lower body workouts replicate movements that you will need to use on the court, while they also help to strengthen your thigh and hip muscles.
  • Barbell squats: Barbell (back) squats are a key part of Andy Murray’s strength sessions. How much else do you really need to know?
  • Hamstring curls: Your hamstrings play a surprisingly important role in your ability to generate power in your shots. Curls are a great way of giving your hamstrings a solid workout.

There are plenty of other lower body workouts you can add to your exercise routine. Why not build up your leg strength with forward bends, reinforced squats, or leaps?

Love tennis and want to take your game to the next level? Try incorporating some of these workouts for tennis players into your fitness regimen.
Did you know? You can log all your tennis sessions in the free Health Mate app, and if you have one of our activity trackers, you can have them logged automatically. Read about activity recognition here: Get credit for all your activity.