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JackB1
12-02-2009, 12:00 PM
I am a 50 yr old male who just got back into playing tennis competitively.
I am currently a 3.5 on the improve. I need to increase my fitness and cardio. I get winded quickly and that translates into sloppy footwork and we all know what that translates to :) So whats a good way to improve my cardio in a way that I can start gradually and build up as I go? I don't want to spend thousands on home machines and dont want to pay a monthly fee to a gym. So what's left?

-skipping rope?
-bicycling? (I have a hybrid and a mountain bike)
-running or jogging?
-cardio tennis classes?
-spinning classes?

My problem is I get winded on tough points or long rallies and play MUCH better when not out of breath.

lawlitssoo1n
12-02-2009, 02:31 PM
in my opinion, i think the best cardio is swimming and cycling, doens't wear down on your joints.

rippatennis777
12-02-2009, 03:45 PM
Jogging cross country would the best!!http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif

rippatennis777
12-02-2009, 03:46 PM
Jogging cross country would the best!

charliefedererer
12-02-2009, 03:55 PM
I am a 50 yr old male who just got back into playing tennis competitively.
I am currently a 3.5 on the improve. I need to increase my fitness and cardio. I get winded quickly and that translates into sloppy footwork and we all know what that translates to :) So whats a good way to improve my cardio in a way that I can start gradually and build up as I go? I don't want to spend thousands on home machines and dont want to pay a monthly fee to a gym. So what's left?

-skipping rope?
-bicycling? (I have a hybrid and a mountain bike)
-running or jogging?
-cardio tennis classes?
-spinning classes?

My problem is I get winded on tough points or long rallies and play MUCH better when not out of breath.

The best way for YOU is to pick the activities that you like, will stick with, and not kill your knees.
So any and all of your listed activities would help. Indeed a blend may be the best way to avoid overuse injuries, as doing all you activity by just jumping rope or sprints on top of a lot of court time is asking for trouble.
Long sustained running or cycling can build an initial fitness level, but it is brief periods of maximal exercise with short intervals of rest (High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT) for the short intense points that tennis consists of.
For instance, every Wednesday after my doubles league I do twenty 50 yard sprints resting 10-20 seconds between the sprints. Then I do short bursts of maximal activity on a bike, stair stepper and Nordic Trak in the gym to avoid more pounding on my knees, but still fire the leg muscles as rapidly as possible. And of course Saturday and Sunday I do the best workout of all: running as hard as I can to get to the ball and recover back to a neutral position during long hitting sessions and singles play. In the winter when I'm not playing as much tennis, there is more rope jumping and stair running, and in the early spring more track work to get into shape.

JackB1
12-02-2009, 06:14 PM
I guess the best cardio workouts would be where you can practice bursts of energy in between a moderate pace, like cycling, running or Nordic track type of machine?

jazzyfunkybluesy
12-02-2009, 06:22 PM
Sprinting for strengthing legs and improving response time. I would do something low impact to improve endurance especially if you play alot on hard court.

JackB1
12-02-2009, 07:27 PM
Sprinting for strengthing legs and improving response time. I would do something low impact to improve endurance especially if you play alot on hard court.

I play only hard court.

Are Elliptical machines good for Cardio? Or should I consider a stationary bike or a contraption that lets me use my regular bike as a stationary?

atatu
12-02-2009, 07:59 PM
I go to spinning class and to be honest it's incredibly boring. For me, the best thing is crossfit, check out the website and maybe find a crossfit class in your area.

maverick66
12-02-2009, 08:02 PM
Are Elliptical machines good for Cardio? Or should I consider a stationary bike or a contraption that lets me use my regular bike as a stationary?

run or bike outside. I get bored incredibly fast indoors so i did all my cardio outside. I dont know what your current cardio or shape is so you might need a beginners program to build up your overall shape. It might not just be your cardio is bad but your overall fitness level could be low.

chess9
12-03-2009, 04:19 AM
If you are overweight and/or out of cardiovascular shape, here are MY views, assuming you want to be fit and fast:

1. Regardless of the type of cardio (running/biking/rowing), I would counsel a distance/time base for about 8-12 weeks. In other words, something like long, slow distance runs, starting at a pace you can maintain for 30 minutes initially. If that means walking, then walk. Slowly lengthen your distance or time. Do one to two a week, and throw in some short easy runs two or three days per week. By the end of 8-12 weeks, at your age, you should be able to hold something like a 10 min per mile pace for an hour.

2. Stage 2 would be where you add one day a week of speed training, such as 6 x 400 meters at a, say, 9 minute per mile pace (slightly faster than your long runs to start). I would also add in one day a week of uptempo work, where you run, say 30 minutes at a 9:30 pace, if possible. Keep at least one day a week for a long run. Some people prefer two long days a week.

3. Never run the same pace every day. Alternate pacing and distance.

4. After about a month of gradually improving your speed during your speed work days, feel free to add in one day a week of sprints, where you do, say, 6 x 200, very fast with a one to two minute rest interval.


I've run for over 50 years and I have no knee and hip problems. The idea that running causes knee degeneration is baloney. Knee problems come from a wide variety of sources, but I'm not going to get drawn into that argument. Rowing is a very good substitute, as is hard biking. But, running gets you ready to run on the tennis court. Once you are able to run on the tennis court, then you can maintain cardio fitness with rowing, cycling, etc. AND regular tennis. But, tennis alone will not keep you entirely fit unless you are playing at a very high level every day.

Just my humble opinions.

-Robert

JackB1
12-03-2009, 05:21 AM
thanks to all so far for the great suggestions. Let me add that I am 6'1", 190 lbs, 50 yrs old and in pretty good overall physical shape. Not overweight. Biggest problem is getting winded quickly. My lung capacity seems to be very small. Has always been my downfall with sports. I am very athletic, but when I get out of breath, cannot perform at nearly the same level.

chess9
12-03-2009, 06:01 AM
thanks to all so far for the great suggestions. Let me add that I am 6'1", 190 lbs, 50 yrs old and in pretty good overall physical shape. Not overweight. Biggest problem is getting winded quickly. My lung capacity seems to be very small. Has always been my downfall with sports. I am very athletic, but when I get out of breath, cannot perform at nearly the same level.

That's too heavy given your age and height and intended sport, IMHO. Look at Del Potro and Davydenko in the Masters' playoffs. Both are around 5-8% bodyfat. Unless you are very muscular, your bodyfat is probably closer to 18% or so. Furthermore, as you age, carrying that bodyfat gets harder and harder because your heart's stroke volume falls, your lung capacity falls, your CAD (coronary artery disease-we all have SOME) advances, your other organs don't function as well, your muscles and tendons don't recover as quickly to training, and so much more. Your VO2max sounds like it may also be natively low, which is a handicap. How far can you run in 12 minutes? Time yourself and get back to us. Tennis is running with some occasional hitting. Most tennis players as they age forget about the running part. :) So, they stand around a lot. Look at old guys playing doubles!

If you look at the guys who are at the top of the age group rankings, you'll see they are very lithe, and also smaller, and the older they are the more likely it is that they are SHORT and very thin. If you are taller, like me, you are at a disadvantage as you age. Gravity is mean to tall people. Btw, I'm 6'0" and 172 lbs today. I'm probably about 10-11% bodyfat. I also lift heavy.

These are just my opinions. They may be worth what you paid for them.

-Robert

JackB1
12-03-2009, 07:33 AM
That's too heavy given your age and height and intended sport, IMHO. Look at Del Potro and Davydenko in the Masters' playoffs. Both are around 5-8% bodyfat. Unless you are very muscular, your bodyfat is probably closer to 18% or so. Furthermore, as you age, carrying that bodyfat gets harder and harder because your heart's stroke volume falls, your lung capacity falls, your CAD (coronary artery disease-we all have SOME) advances, your other organs don't function as well, your muscles and tendons don't recover as quickly to training, and so much more. Your VO2max sounds like it may also be natively low, which is a handicap. How far can you run in 12 minutes? Time yourself and get back to us. Tennis is running with some occasional hitting. Most tennis players as they age forget about the running part. :) So, they stand around a lot. Look at old guys playing doubles!

If you look at the guys who are at the top of the age group rankings, you'll see they are very lithe, and also smaller, and the older they are the more likely it is that they are SHORT and very thin. If you are taller, like me, you are at a disadvantage as you age. Gravity is mean to tall people. Btw, I'm 6'0" and 172 lbs today. I'm probably about 10-11% bodyfat. I also lift heavy.

These are just my opinions. They may be worth what you paid for them.

-Robert

MY weight was a guess. It may be 180-185. I'll check it soon. But, I am sure I could get rid of some body fat. Especially around the midsection. That seems to be the only place I have any. I don't like to run, due to flat feet and my bad lung capacity. I can try 12 minutes on the treadmill and see how far I went???

charliefedererer
12-03-2009, 07:55 AM
MY weight was a guess. It may be 180-185. I'll check it soon. But, I am sure I could get rid of some body fat. Especially around the midsection. That seems to be the only place I have any. I don't like to run, due to flat feet and my bad lung capacity. I can try 12 minutes on the treadmill and see how far I went???

You certainly are not "overweight" compared to most people, but as a tennis player it is amazing how taking just a little weight off will let you move quicker and take more pounding off your knees.
Your treadmill suggestion to start sounds great.
Anything that gets you going would be great.
I love to be outdoors, but if winter ices up the courts, sidewalks, tracks and playing fields, then I have to do an indoor circuit routine to keep myself from getting bored: a couple minutes each on the bike, Nordic Trak, stair stepper rower, jumping rope and running stairs. I just can't do the one thing inside over and over and over. But that's just me. Some people really like one apparatus. (And of course snowy/icy weekends are great for cross country skiing.)
Hopefully the increased fitness from the workouts will be a breakthrough for you "low lung capacity". By the way, have you ever had this checked out? You don't have exercise induced asthma by any chance?

JackB1
12-03-2009, 08:56 AM
You certainly are not "overweight" compared to most people, but as a tennis player it is amazing how taking just a little weight off will let you move quicker and take more pounding off your knees.
Your treadmill suggestion to start sounds great.
Anything that gets you going would be great.
I love to be outdoors, but if winter ices up the courts, sidewalks, tracks and playing fields, then I have to do an indoor circuit routine to keep myself from getting bored: a couple minutes each on the bike, Nordic Trak, stair stepper rower, jumping rope and running stairs. I just can't do the one thing inside over and over and over. But that's just me. Some people really like one apparatus. (And of course snowy/icy weekends are great for cross country skiing.)
Hopefully the increased fitness from the workouts will be a breakthrough for you "low lung capacity". By the way, have you ever had this checked out? You don't have exercise induced asthma by any chance?

I have always been very active, but I learned to pace myself. I play softball, racquetball, basketball along with now tennis. It's never really been an "issue" but its one area where I feel I could improve a lot and it would help my tennis game immensely. I have yearly physicals and no doctor ever said anything. I guess I could get a physical where they really check you out on treadmills, etc. and see what that shows? The kind that athletes get before they sign a contract.

r2473
12-03-2009, 09:35 AM
If tennis is your focus, maybe the "tennis conditioning' book put out by the NSCA will give you what you want:

https://www.nsca-lift.org/secure/NMStore/NMDetail.asp?BookQuery_Action=Find%28%27ISBN%27,%2 7OPB-39%27%29&BookQuery_Position=FIL%3ACategory+%3D+%271%27ORD%3 AABS%3A10KEY%3AOPB-39PAR%3A

Newer version:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Conditioning-Tennis-Sports/dp/0736069380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259868323&sr=1-1

ttbrowne
12-05-2009, 07:01 AM
I've been doing tennis cardio about 3 times a week for 3 years. I'm 55. I started out winded, out of shape. I was overweight 15 lbs.

From my experience, tennis cardio only improves your fitness and your strokes. I am not including strength cause it didn't improve my leg strength. I wish I woulda started on a weight program 3 years ago. Just for the legs.

kishnabe
12-05-2009, 07:57 PM
Im you want to imporve Cardio(Endurance) for tennis it is not primarly a good idea. Since endurance will only decrease productivity in tennis because primarly tennis is about speed and power these days. You would want the right mix. For that is is best to train for power and endurance simulatnously. Sprnting at full speed( 20 m/10-30sec), then taking a 40 sec-60 sec break will give you optimal results. This will improve your speed(Anaeroebic base), the rest time will improve your (aerobic Base) that is endurance. These reatios also depict how a point may be. An average point alst 4 secs bu the rest time between a point is 2 to five times larger than the point itself. You also want yo do many reps on this to see results. Including with this training, Plymoetrics would be great. Like jump training which will also for more power and will help fasten reaction time. There are other ways to imporve cardio but these ways are much more fun and give the best imrpovement. If anyone doesn't believe me, then read Tennis Training by Mark Kovacs, How to train Speed, agility and quickness, and top 5 resons to improve tennis and etc. If not study Kinesiology in high school or university.

SuperDuy
12-05-2009, 09:12 PM
Run on a tread mill.

Cody
12-05-2009, 10:09 PM
Two words

Zombie Invasion

EcoRick
12-06-2009, 04:51 AM
I've been working out for years, however I started incorporating "burst training" into my routing and I noticed the results quickly.

http://blog.joshaxe.com/tag/burst-training/

First few times I tried this on my eliptical trainer, I thought I was going to puke. After a few weeks, it seemed to work wonders. I'd give this a try and see what you think.

jazzyfunkybluesy
12-06-2009, 06:20 AM
Good find EcoRick I will try this today also the healing diet makes alot of sense.

movdqa
12-06-2009, 06:29 AM
I use a treadmill at the office - it has a very soft platform. That coupled with a bluetooth headset and an iPod make for a smooth and efficient workout.

markwillplay
12-06-2009, 08:48 AM
I think eliptical is pretty good depending on resistance. I love to do wind "sprints" in intervals. I agree that running is not really bad on knees...however, jogging slowly on pavement is bad on mime compared to running sprints or even joggind a little faster on grass or a softer surface. Sorry, no doubt about that one.

I also think that joggin slowly for 3-5 miles in not extremely beneficial to a tennis player unless they are doing some other sort of interval high intensity training with it.

Best cardio I ever did was actually curcuit weight training involv8ing compoind excersizes with limited rest. Runners would wourk out with me and not be able to keep up because they were nt used to the aerobic load I was putting on them. There are some really neat resistance training curcuits that can get your heart rate up and keep it up without you ever taking as much as a step.

Oh, and the best way to train for tennis movement is to ......go to a court and do the type of movements you would do during a match. I have found that the closest thing to getting me ready for this is sprints (or some type of high intensity interval training) and circuit weight training with little or no rest in between sets of compond excersizes.

movdqa
12-06-2009, 10:27 AM
We have a new elliptical that is very easy on the knees but the OP said that he doesn't want to join a gym and the good stuff is usually expensive. I do think that running for 3 miles per day four-five times a week can greatly increase cardio performance at age 50 if you don't otherwise do cardio. It has for me this year to the point that players that used to be comparable aren't now. It's nice to be able to play a bit harder knowing that you can last longer than the other guy.

I also do weights to help prevent injuries.

markwillplay
12-06-2009, 03:58 PM
movdga, I agree with ....... anything will help if you are not doing much now. I used to run 3 miles every day...every day. I was certainly bin better cardio shape than those who walked...however, it was hard on my low back. Here is my point I guess....when I had to run a mile and a half for time, I realized that jogging three miles was not really a help. O only got better at the mile and a half by running the mile and a half. It was s different kind of running. Tennis is a tricky sport if you ask me. I knmow guys that can play all day and they don't do much c ardio....but guess what, they don't run for a lot of balls and they are best if stainging in the middle of the court and playing defense.. If you play a sport where you have to put out 100% effort in short bursts, that is how you should train if you don't have time to do it all. Sure, jogginb 3 miles a day won't hurt you as long as your body can take it and it will certainly help some with cardio....but I think that training sports specific is better if you can. I still run those three miles every now and then, but I do it for a change, not as a steady diet of training. I am 39 by the way and have just had my hip scoped so I am going to try to get the most out of the least banging.

movdqa
12-06-2009, 04:12 PM
I'm 50 and I'm not sure why you're having back problems with running as the five major running problems are in the legs and feet. I actually enjoy running and it's pretty efficient in getting me through many sets of tennis. My main injury issues are with knees and tennis does more damage than running. I was much more of a sprinter when I was younger and can still move very fast for short spurts of time. I also do some weight training for certain muscle groups that help with tennis movement.

At a good enough level of play, the defensive players hanging around the middle watch a lot of balls go by into the corners. If you hit something short and high, the other person will put it away. If you hit something high and slow, expect it to come back into a corner with a lot of topspin.

Frank BD
12-06-2009, 07:37 PM
I have always been very active, but I learned to pace myself. I play softball, racquetball, basketball along with now tennis. It's never really been an "issue" but its one area where I feel I could improve a lot and it would help my tennis game immensely. I have yearly physicals and no doctor ever said anything. I guess I could get a physical where they really check you out on treadmills, etc. and see what that shows? The kind that athletes get before they sign a contract.

I'm 38 and found out this year that i've always had exercise induced asthma. plenty of indications when i was younger that i had it, but no one picked them up. i'm not sure it's something doctors and grade school/high school coaches are attuned to or knowledgeable about. it was a serious tennis player turning coach who suggested it to me.

i think you should definitely look into the exercise induced asthma possibility. as for treating it, i'm hoping to minimize or avoid using inhalers. but i play in the tropics and when summer's back i suspect i'll need to use one. this is a link to a breathing technique that's supposed to help.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buteyko_method

the little bit i've tried it i'm encouraged, but i'm not ready to vouch for it yet. while i've found general aerobic training somewhat helpful, interval/short burst training has helped me more on the court. also, i completely agree with the person who said that any weight loss is helpful. i've gotten down to what my wife calls a 'painfully thin' 5'11" 162 lbs. (by bmi charts it's actually a pretty normal weight.) if i drift up even to just 165 i can feel the difference on the court.

good luck.

AlpineCadet
12-06-2009, 10:03 PM
For me, tennis is just tennis.. I don't put in the extraneous effort to improve my stamina. I just rely on my strengths like a low percentage beastly forehand/serve. But seriously, the cheapest way to improve cardio is just work on your footwork/aerobics via RUNNING (however much you can manage.) Put in the effort and see the results. I can't see any way around this.

Moz
12-07-2009, 12:25 AM
Sprnting at full speed( 20 m/10-30sec), then taking a 40 sec-60 sec break will give you optimal results. This will improve your speed(Anaeroebic base), the rest time will improve your (aerobic Base) that is endurance.

There is no way the workout as described improves aerobic base. Aerobic base is improved by significant and extensive training including easy running. Perhaps it's a terminology issue but your statement is otherwise nonsense (rest improves an aerobic base?).

The fact is most tennis players play without any aerobic base to begin with. Whether they need an aerobic base at all is another discussion entirely that you may want to have.

All

We have to be aware of the irony of avoiding easy running because of the potential for knee problems but then prescribing a diet of high impact sprinting. If you are going to do the sprinting etc you are far safer first building up connective tissue tolerance with easy running and then introducing the sprinting.

Also, there is considerable confusion on this website around the area of specificity and development. Sure, some of your training has to be very specific (on court agility drills, short sprints). But to develop your body's fitness which will improve your tennis you must address other elements (aerobic base, connective tissue tolerance, heart stroke volume, lactic acid tolerance, muscle capillarisation) which is done through general work which doesn't immediately look like something that is relevant to a tennis point.

Come on, let's stop giving the answers that sound right in our head and think about developing balance and the progression of exercise.

JackB1
12-07-2009, 07:28 AM
For me, tennis is just tennis.. I don't put in the extraneous effort to improve my stamina. I just rely on my strengths like a low percentage beastly forehand/serve. But seriously, the cheapest way to improve cardio is just work on your footwork/aerobics via RUNNING (however much you can manage.) Put in the effort and see the results. I can't see any way around this.

Why is RUNNING the only answer? Isn't any activity that gets you breathing hard going to help your cardio?

markwillplay
12-08-2009, 08:37 AM
I should not have said running hurt my back..lemme back up..I actually don't have low back issues...my hip issue disguised itself as that. I think my hip issue has been around since I was in late teens so jogging probably only helped to wear it down with the pounding. I must agree hole heartedly that playng a lot of tennis on a hardcourt is worse. that is why I don;t combine the two. I used to love running on a soft track while listening to music...or even grass (like a football field).

Tennis_Monk
12-09-2009, 07:50 AM
I finally managed to get a Tread mill and an elliptical at home recently. I am always on again off again with fitness but i stuck with my own program and i am seeing good results.

I play two days a week, one day of tennis and one day of Badminton in winter. I take one day off for recovery purposes. Rest of the days, i run 7-8 min mile for 2.5 miles. Sometimes i substitue elliptical for running but i prefer running. some days i do the Interval training. I personally dont get enough satisfaction doing the interval training and usually lean towards running. After running i do some weights and resistance training but i dont try building too much muscle as it seems to impact my flexibility (my serve takes a beating)

chess9
12-09-2009, 08:25 AM
Why is RUNNING the only answer? Isn't any activity that gets you breathing hard going to help your cardio?

Running isn't the only answer, and is a non-optimal answer if you are unfit and overweight because of the probability of getting an overuse injury from imbalances and a host of other issues. Cycling and rowing initially are two very good non-impact resources to help you lose weight and condition you aerobically. But, training for tennis isn't just about your cardiovascular system. It's about the whole body, including your body's ability to use O2 efficiently, your muscular balance, capillarization, bone strength, and so much more.

Having said that, nothing trains you to run like running. Read this: http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/endurancetraining.html

-Robert

TheFuture101
12-13-2009, 01:11 PM
I will tell you when I complete it but this is probably the best for cardio. http://www.teenbodybuilding.com/brent2.htm :)

Hominator
12-19-2009, 06:03 PM
IMO, running, cycling, or the elliptical machine are not ideal to help you get into better tennis shape. I was/am in a similar situation as you and found that tennis-specific drills work best.

Start with something simple, like my coach does for me:

start at the center of the baseline and have someone feed you 10 forehands in a row to the far forehand side. From the starting position, move to hit the forehand, hit the forehand, load your right leg and push off to recover, cross over step (right leg over left), and shuffle back to the center. Do this ten times w/out rest, take a short break, then do ten backhands similarly. Don't let the ball feeder feed you another ball until you've returned to center.

I know this sounds super easy, but if you're going full speed, you will be winded. My first time, I thought my coach was joking when he told me what we were going to do. Then I did it and couldn't believe how hard it was.

As your fitness improves, increase the number of repetitions and/or do forehands followed by backhands.

If you're skeptical - just try it. I think you'll be surprised at how difficult this is at full speed. Sometimes simple drills like these work best, IMO.

My stamina and footwork has improved greatly over the last several weeks doing this drill.

For your reference, I am a former college player trying to get my form/fitness back after 13 years...

Good luck and I hope this helps.

movdqa
12-19-2009, 06:08 PM
I wouldn't recommend this approach if you're over 50.

I did this when I was a lot younger but moves that put a high amount of stress on your joints isn't recommended at ages where joints take a while to recover.

In D Zone
12-19-2009, 09:27 PM
I would suggest cross training; alternating your excercis activities.

- 1 to 3 miles of jogging / swimming / spin cycling/ step aerobics is also very good (if you can keep up).
- Light Plyometrics (jumping exercises). This will help your quick explosive steps.
- Work on the lower part exercises with weights to build and strengthen leg muscles and back.

Too much pounding on your knees/ ankle will cause injuries. You got to add strenght training to your legs and back.