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T Woody
01-25-2010, 09:50 AM
So I finished up last season at 6'4" and a shade under 200 pounds. At that point, I made the decision to work hard at getting bigger and stronger in the off season. After 10 weeks, I'm now 220. I used Rippetoe's novice program and added 75 pounds to my back squat, 60 pounds to my deadlift, and 30 pounds to my overhead press. I've been getting back into hitting the last few weeks and I definitely feel a ton stronger. I'm hitting serves and groundstrokes harder than I ever have and can maintain pace for a long time into hitting sessions, but my movement and agility is definitely less than what it was 10 weeks ago. In all fairness, I really can't be sure if this is because I've gained size or because I haven't played much tennis at all in the past 2 and a half months. I'm guessing it's more of the latter, but probably a combo of the two.

It just brings up an interesting question; how strong is 'strong enough' for tennis? Without a doubt, an increase in overall strength is a good thing for sports in general, but increasing strength usually means increasing muscle and bodyweight. And in tennis an increase in bodyweight can be a serious hindrance and that negative may outweigh the benefits you get from a strength increase. The two guys I'd look at for comparison are Del Potro (6'6" 185) and Tsonga (6'4" 215). The question is, would Tsonga be better, worse, or the same if he dropped 20 pounds and would Delpo be better, worse, or the same if he gained 20 pounds? I've always been in the camp that adding muscle mass is always better with all else equal. This seems to be the case with Murray, who is certainly bigger now and has elevated his game from a few years ago. But then there are guys like Cilic and Davydenko who crush the ball and are durable despite their lean frames.

Maybe it wouldn't matter as much for pros since they're at such a high level already, but I'm curious what people's personal experience is with this. Have you guys always played at the same weight or have you tried leaning out significantly or bulking up to imiprove? What were the effects of this for you on the court?

r2473
01-25-2010, 10:10 AM
So I finished up last season at 6'4" and a shade under 200 pounds. At that point, I made the decision to work hard at getting bigger and stronger in the off season. After 10 weeks, I'm now 220.

What is your body composition (bodyfat percentage)? Any idea?

After 10 weeks, if you were undersized to begin with and made HUGE relative gains, the most muscle you put on is probably 5 pounds. The other 15 (and probably more) is fat.

At 6'4", I would guess your untrained LBM is about 175 lbs (assuming you are "filled out". If you are still physically immature like Delpo, then it could be lower. That is why Delpo is so thin. He just hasn't filled out yet. He will be getting a fair bit bigger in the next few years I would guess....and it will be hard as hell for him to drag that large frame around the court week in and week out without getting injured).

Were you somewhere in the 12.5% bf range 10 weeks ago?

I trained hard for about 18 months. Could rep deadlift 495 and rep squat 405. I went from 200 (about 19% bf) to 250 pounds (and about 28% bf). I would say 15 of those pounds are muscle gains. The rest is fat. Generally speaking, for a completely untrained man, 1 to 1.5 pounds a month for the first year is the MAX you can expect for muscle gains. These muscle gains will NECESSARILY be accompanied by fat gains of at least an equal if not greater amount. (This is why most people do the bulk / cut cycles).

Now that I have cut back down to 220, my lifts are significantly lower (and I doubt my muscle mass has dropped at all, or at worst a pound or two. My 15 pound muscle (LBM) increase was tested when I had fasted for 16 hours. In a "normal" state, I had just under a 20 lb. LBM increase).

Some of my "weakness" is due to being fatigued from not eating like I used too. But, just being bigger will make you stronger (don't read too much into this. I am not saying that a fat out of shape man is stronger than a lean in shape man. I am saying something more like, a 330 pound lineman will be stronger than a 290 pound lineman even if most of those extra 40 pounds are fat. All else being equal, bigger people are simply stronger).

To answer your question, specifically for tennis, a 5-10 pound increase in MUSCLE would be more than enough. And most of that you would want in your legs. 3 years ago, I cut down to 178 and was at about 10% bf. Honestly, for tennis, I felt great. Probably better than I will feel when I get down to 200 and be around 12% bf (I'm just guessing). I think adding muscle is overrated if your only concern is fitness for tennis. For me, when I cut down to 178, I just felt "too small", so I decided to bulk up. But, this decision had NOTHING to do with tennis.

I think you would be better off investing your "tennis fitness dollars" in endurance training. Whatever it takes you feel as good in the 3rd (or 5th) set as you do in the first. Some of your "dollars" could be invested in strength training, but I wouldn't be trying to get bigger. Just stronger (so just don't eat any more than you usually do).

Yes, I know, Murray got bigger and it helped him. True, but Murray was a little runt to begin with. If you are that thin, then maybe some size would help. Otherwise, probably not.

charliefedererer
01-25-2010, 10:54 AM
Welcome to the eternal question in getting fitter for tennis.

Clearly next year, you'll want to do more of a blend of three days a week lifting and High Intensity Interval Training and agility drills on the off lifting days.

And also welcome to the struggle of maintaining your strength gains as the tennis season starts. (Expect to lose some strength as the season progresses, but also be expect to be moving faster and playing tennis better.)

T Woody
01-25-2010, 11:01 AM
Good stuff, thanks for your take. You're about right in that I was 12.5% when I was 200lbs 10 weeks ago. And my % is certainly higher now, but I'm not so sure about the fact that only 5 of my 20 lb gain was muscle. I've read the theories from Lyle McDonald, Berardi and others about 1 to 1.5 pounds per month of muscle being the max, but I don't fully agree. That seems to be the max when people are trying to gain muscle while remaining lean, but I think if you're willing accept some fat gain and really put away the milk, steak and eggs while training heavy, you can push a bit past that 1.5lb per month limit.

Beyond that, that's interesting that you felt fitter for tennis at 178. That's kinda the suspicion I've been having these past few weeks getting back on the court, that I'd be a little fitter for the sport had I not added the mass. Though I'm sure things will improve greatly if I cut down to about 210 and back to 12.5% but with 10lbs more muscle than I used to have.

I guess I'm also a little bitter about the fact that my lifts go down when I get lighter since I really like to squat, clean, deadlift, and press. Oh well, I guess it's just a matter of finding the best balance in the weight room and on the court. Nice work on those lifts too. 495 and 405 for reps is very solid.

T Woody
01-25-2010, 11:07 AM
Welcome to the eternal question in getting fitter for tennis.

Clearly next year, you'll want to do more of a blend of three days a week lifting and High Intensity Interval Training and agility drills on the off lifting days.

And also welcome to the struggle of maintaining your strength gains as the tennis season starts. (Expect to lose some strength as the season progresses, but also be expect to be moving faster and playing tennis better.)

Yeah it is a tough question. I mean, here I sit slightly fat but also quite strong and I'm a little bitter about how rusty my game is. But now I'm going to start adding in some conditioning, sprint work, agility drills, and a lot more practice. So in a few months, I may be in much better shape but still strong and at that point very happy that I went though that 10 week strength-only cycle.

I think the big question here is how much do you periodize in the off season? Clearly, taking a break from condtioning completely will mean you can make huge strength gains. Then you can add the conditioning back in during pre season while still enjoying strength gains. On the other side of the coin, I'm sure there are people who train the exact same way year around and just practice their balls off at tennis to maintain a high playing level.

r2473
01-25-2010, 11:32 AM
I've read the theories from Lyle McDonald, Berardi and others about 1 to 1.5 pounds per month of muscle being the max, but I don't fully agree. That seems to be the max when people are trying to gain muscle while remaining lean, but I think if you're willing accept some fat gain and really put away the milk, steak and eggs while training heavy, you can push a bit past that 1.5lb per month limit. Though I'm sure things will improve greatly if I cut down to about 210 and back to 12.5% but with 10lbs more muscle than I used to have.

Your LBM could increase at a faster rate. But, it's not actually muscle. It goes away when you cut back down (just the way it is). The true muscle you are left with probably won't be quite as much as you expected if you cut down to lower bf% levels.

But, 10 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks just isn't possible. When I started lifting I went from 190 to 210. Made big increases in strength. Figured AT WORST it was half muscle and half fat. WRONG!!! My test showed that I had gained 1.5 lbs. LBM, or nothing at all (I probably just had more food and water in me). I strongly suggest that, even if you can fool everyone else DON'T FOOL YOURSELF!!

And don't underestimate 5 pounds of true muscle. It is a lot. 10 pounds will make you look "big". For reference, go the the grocery store and put 10 pounds of round steak in your cart. Now imagine that you started slapping those round steaks into your legs, chest, arms, and back and don't increase your fat. You would look much bigger. It is really a shame that the internet scams convince everyone that they can gain 30, 40 and more pounds of muscle. If you really gained that much, you would be winning NATURAL bodybuilding competitions (but look tiny in the more popular and virtually universal steroid contests).

People always claim huge "muscle" gains. The key really is to understate your bodyfat %. Each 1% you cheat will "magically" add 2 pounds of muscle (which is actually fat).

Beyond that, that's interesting that you felt fitter for tennis at 178. That's kinda the suspicion I've been having these past few weeks getting back on the court, that I'd be a little fitter for the sport had I not added the mass. Though I'm sure things will improve greatly if I cut down to about 210 and back to 12.5% but with 10lbs more muscle than I used to have.

I'll let you know when I hit 200 (and start eating again) how I feel. At 220 I feel *****loads better than I did at 250.

I guess I'm also a little bitter about the fact that my lifts go down when I get lighter since I really like to squat, clean, deadlift, and press.

I was a pu$$y when I was lifter heavier. I'm just a bigger pu$$y now. Not that much different :)

Honestly, I have no interest in strength sports or bodybuilding. I may try to add a few more pounds of muscle over the next few years (depends on how I look and feel when I get down to 200), but it won't be much.

I will never come close to moving the weight I was just a few months ago. No desire at all (I would have to get too fat).

borg number one
01-25-2010, 12:35 PM
For optimal tennis, I think the past results of pros are very telling. "Light and lean" players have had a big advantage over "big and strong" players, in terms of tennis results. That trend will continue, and even today, though Nadal is pretty big, he's also very lean. Of course, look at how Federer can hit the ball without a bulky upper body, though fairly strong/muscular legs are a real must. If you are lean in the lower body, while being strong, all the better.

Roddick is a good recent example. His results improved when he trained to get leaner and lighter. He still hits just as hard as he always has, but is faster, has more stamina, yet he's leaner and perhaps even has a bit less muscle mass than he did five years ago.

I also think Tsonga for example would be aided by losing some bulk muscle and becoming leaner. Again, you won't lose power necessarily, and your movement will be a new strength as a tennis player. Having said that, I don't mean to imply that you should be as thin as a rail, with very little muscle. Being lean, mean, and strong is the best combination, from my experience and observations of players.

Who is the heaviest Grand Slam Champion of all time? Becker perhaps? Of course Del Potro may be in the same league as Becker in terms of weight, but he's much taller. Though his height gave him certain advantages, there are inherent disadvantages in being too tall or too heavy, as well.

For example, it's NOT EASY being 6' 6" and winning a Grand Slam. Moving such a big frame quickly with all the stops and starts in high level of tennis has inherent disadvantages attached to it. There's a reason that there have been no other GS champions that were THAT TALL. Plus, he may find it difficult to have a lot of success in the future for the same reason. We'll have to see.

Anyway, look at a few of the very best players of all time: Laver, Borg, Sampras, and Federer. All those guys were/are fairly "light and lean", not "big and strong". The key is being able to generate racquet head speed through the strike zone over and over AND being able to move extremely well, while also having incredible stamina (both long term stamina over a long match and short term stamina during tough points). If you remove one of these abilities, a player will have a glaring physical weakness.

It can actually become MORE difficult to generate a lot of racquet swing speed if you get too bulky and muscular. Plus, you will have to carry that extra weight around as you move around the court over the course of a long match. The net result is that being light, but still being lean and very strong, will give you better tennis results rather than being big and strong. Think Bruce Lee, not Lou Ferrigno.

Power Player
01-25-2010, 01:26 PM
Charlie Fed is right. After 6 months of tennis, I was FAR weaker then I had been in years.

But I was much faster, leaner and in better shape. I looked a lot better and got a lot of speed back. I can cover the court a lot better now. I also hit much harder then I did before.

I now am working on a 3x a week weights regime that is based more on reps then weights. The heavy weights plus tennis got to my joints.

T Woody
01-25-2010, 01:41 PM
But, 10 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks just isn't possible. When I started lifting I went from 190 to 210. Made big increases in strength. Figured AT WORST it was half muscle and half fat. WRONG!!! My test showed that I had gained 1.5 lbs. LBM, or nothing at all (I probably just had more food and water in me). I strongly suggest that, even if you can fool everyone else DON'T FOOL YOURSELF!!


Well not sure how you measured it but you sound knowledgeable enough to know that bodyfat calcs are highly prone to error, whether it's immersion, calipers, etc. Okay, either way, you may be right about not putting on as much muscle as I thought, but I'm pumped about upping my lifts so much since I know that's an indicator that I'm stronger.


I'll let you know when I hit 200 (and start eating again) how I feel. At 220 I feel *****loads better than I did at 250.


Yeah definitely keep me posted. You seem to be one of the few dudes I know of who lifts really heavy and also plays a lot of tennis.


I was a pu$$y when I was lifter heavier. I'm just a bigger pu$$y now. Not that much different :)


Wow if you're a ***** pulling 495 for reps what does that make me pulling 340x5 :)

r2473
01-25-2010, 02:42 PM
Well not sure how you measured it but you sound knowledgeable enough to know that bodyfat calcs are highly prone to error, whether it's immersion, calipers, etc. Okay, either way, you may be right about not putting on as much muscle as I thought, but I'm pumped about upping my lifts so much since I know that's an indicator that I'm stronger.

The University where I work has a "bod pod". The stated error is 2% (so same as hydrostatic).

Seriously, I was devastated after this test. Very glad I did it though. I thought I was a bad*****, but I was really just a fat*****.

I think people underestimate how difficult it is to really grow muscle. Hypertrophy training is a lot different from what most guys are doing in the gym (and especially in the kitchen). When you think about it, it is pretty stupid and pointless. It is mostly just vanity.

If fitness, strength, or health was the true aim, there are MANY better ways to work out and live than doing hypertrophy training. I'm not saying that it is not beneficial, I'm simply saying that the main reason for doing that as opposed to other things is vanity (pure and simple).

I guess what I am saying is, if you are trying to get into tennis shape, I wouldn't sweat how much muscle you are or are not gaining. I don't think adding muscle will benefit you much. Having the energy to play strong in the 5th set (and be able to play 5 sets tomorrow too) will benefit you more.

Power comes from timing and technique, not from size. You see that displayed daily watching Henin, Davydenko, and so many others on tour. "Big" guys are usually at a disadvantage (all else equal).

Wow if you're a ***** pulling 495 for reps what does that make me pulling 340x5 :)

495 is a lot of weight, but it was only 2X my bodyweight. Guys that pull 2.5X and even 3X their bodyweight....that is serious weight (and is worlds away from 2X). I was pretty much leveling off right there. My biggest single was 525. There is an ex-D2 lineman that works out the same time I do. He only weighs 230 these days but could pull that weight without really even breaking a sweat (and he called himself a pu$$y compared to the guys he used to share the weight room with).

I was doing 2X5 at 495 for about a month. I got in trouble for dropping the weight so I had to stop. Essentially, I would pull the 495 to lock out, then basically let it fall. Not taking my hands off, but not holding it back either. I probably paused 2-5 seconds between each rep as well (repositioning my hands and getting mentally "pumped up" again). I also rested about 20 minutes between those sets. Deadlifting makes you tired in a way nothing else really can. It really tires out your entire body the the point that you are just "devastated". I used to eat non-stop after those workouts.

Now I do 5X5 with 405 "touch and go". I do a full negative rep as well and really control the weight to the floor. Took me a little while to build up those muscles. Almost injured myself the first time I tried it. Had to really back off the weight.

limitup
01-25-2010, 10:43 PM
Overall I think it's pretty simple. Train for strength, not mass. You definitely don't want to add 20 lbs if it's 5 lbs muscle and 15 lbs fat. That is definitely not a good tradeoff for tennis.

Power Player
01-27-2010, 12:19 PM
Im 160 and would go up to around just 315 on deads. They sure as hell do tire you out. What a day back day was. Just doing 5 sets of deads took 25 minutes.

Now I do reps of deads at a much lower weight (135). I still feel it in my lower back and hammys the next few days.

I am doing a LOT more pushups and pullups. I feel like you can't go wrong with those.

mike53
01-27-2010, 01:00 PM
All other things being equal, I would be a proponent of being bigger and stronger as a general principle, even if it didn't directly improve my tennis game. But here are a couple things I have noticed during various strength building cycles:

One may get noticeable strength gains by working on the bigger muscles, but if the smaller muscles are not corresponding strengthened, strength imbalances can result that set the stage for injuries or sub-optimal functional performance.

One may not be getting proportional strength gains over the entire range of motion of a joint with certain exercises. This may cause shortening of the muscles being worked and result in a structural imbalance with similar drawbacks to the strength imbalance.

So be sure you are getting balanced strength increase over the entire range of motion from your workout program. There is a certain loss of lean body mass with age so one needs to add some mass regularly just to stay even. Also, any increase in bone density has to be considered positive, even if it adds to overall weight.

albino smurf
01-27-2010, 01:20 PM
I'm zeroing in on my personal balance. For me it is somewhere around 185 lbs at 5'10 where I feel quick and strong. I went all the way up to 210 but have found very little loss in strength getting down to 185 with significant improvement in speed and stamina.

limitup
01-27-2010, 01:32 PM
I'm in the same boat. I'm 5'11" 193lbs right now. Need to lose about 10-12 lbs of fat and pack on a few lbs of muscle and I'm good.

dman72
01-27-2010, 02:21 PM
You're way too big for a serious tennis player. As someone else said, look at the pros. You're pushing NFL free safety type numbers and you are a tennis player. Most guys your height are well under 200lbs. You just don't need to be that big to excel in tennis.

I'm 6'1..the same height as Nadal, Fed and Sampras. The difference is I'm 192 lbs. I'd be much better equipped to play tennis at 180 or 175, but I like to eat, I lift weights, and I play for 3 hours a week as opposed to 15-20 or whatever those guys do.

r2473
01-27-2010, 02:47 PM
You're way too big for a serious tennis player. As someone else said, look at the pros. You're pushing NFL free safety type numbers and you are a tennis player. Most guys your height are well under 200lbs.

Were you referring to the OP or a different poster?

The OP was about 12% bodyfat when he was 200 (before he started lifting / bulking up). I think that is about perfect for him.

r2473
01-27-2010, 03:31 PM
Just for grins, here is a pic of guys that have what many people consider to be an "ideal" body. When I say "ideal" I am basically referring to "what women like" or if you wish "Greek ideal" standards (the Greeks were particular about size an proportion of the ideal male body. It is what their statues are based on). These guys carry around 20 more pounds of muscle @ 10% bf than an untrained man of the same height. I don't think that their extra muscle slows them down too much.

-Alex Castro (center) 5’11”, 185 lbs

- Grigorios Panselinas (the Greek man) 6’2”, 215 lbs

- Andre Benson 6’, 200 lbs

Detail is 6 pics down from the top in the link:

http://www.musclemania.com/news.htm

http://www.musclemania.com/images/home/113009/6.jpg

T Woody
01-27-2010, 04:09 PM
10% BF???!!!! Unless my perception is way off, those guys are like 5 or 6%.

Yeah the last few days I've felt quite a bit slower at 220 than I used to at 195-200 even though my legs are stronger. Now that I'm eating normally and doing a lot more conditioning, I'm sure my bf% and weight will start to trend down in the coming months. Oh well, it was an interesting experiment to gain some weight and strength but it's probably not conducive to great tennis over the long haul. I guess there's a reason almost every guy 6'4"-6'6" is under 200 pounds on tour.

limitup
01-27-2010, 04:24 PM
Look at Davydenko. He's like 5'11" and 155 lbs which is a total stringbean, but he sure can smack that ball.

LeeD
01-27-2010, 04:32 PM
Size don't matter, Henin clobbers pretty good too.
I'm 5'11" and 150 lbs., and nobody ever mentions I hit soft or slow. If anything, it's "why hit so hard, you don't need to".

r2473
01-27-2010, 05:19 PM
10% BF???!!!! Unless my perception is way off, those guys are like 5 or 6%.

Maybe a touch higher. 5% is pretty extreme (and not very attractive).

albino smurf
01-28-2010, 05:11 AM
Ukkk those body builders are fricking gross

T Woody
01-28-2010, 07:20 AM
"Old school" bodybuilders used to compete around 8-9%. Schwarzenegger claims he competed at 9% in articles. 5% is very extreme. The models just look "good".

Yeah the guys back in the day looked much better IMO. Arnold, Franco Columbu, Reg Park.

Sumo
01-28-2010, 07:54 AM
A quick google search point to about 5% max for a competitive body builder.

Seems a lot has changed since Arnold was doing it.

travlerajm
01-28-2010, 08:28 AM
Light and lean is definitely the way to go for tennis. And cardio training is more important than most people realize - when your heartrate starts to go up even a tad, your ability to control your shots can disappear.

r2473
01-28-2010, 08:54 AM
A quick google search point to about 5% max for a competitive body builder.

Seems a lot has changed since Arnold was doing it.

I think he was more like 7-8% in earlier competitions, but lower in later competitions. Preferences changed.

I can say with more confidence that Steve Reeves was about 8% and Reg Park was about 7% when they won the Olympia in '50 and '51 respectively.

I am far from an expert on bodybuilders %'s. My only intention was to say that the models are not 5% but closer to 8%. Maybe 7%. Not 5%.

Sublime
01-28-2010, 09:13 AM
My 2 cents which may not even be worth that...

When you have time and are in position to load up on a ball and utilize your legs and core to hit, 250lbs or muscular strength or 150lbs of leanness will produce the same pace of shot.

It's when you're out of position and your feet are crossed up and you need to arm a ball to stay in the point, that that shoulder and bicep muscle weight will help you. Then again, you might have been faster and therefore in better position if you were leaner.

So it's finding the happy medium. You'll have to find your sweet spot, based on your abilities and style of game you play.

TennisCoachFLA
01-28-2010, 09:35 AM
To the OP, you are wasting your time with "adding pounds to lifts". That was dumb advice.

Tennis strength is not easily defined like that. Once you have a good level of strength, which you did to begin with, you should have concentrated on improving your flexibility and kinetic chain loading.

As you found out, you hit the ball harder after increasing your lifts. So? Honestly not trying to offend but so what?

Did you win any more matches? Beat guys you used to lose to? Thats all that matters.

This forum is full of useless overanalyzing. Your lifts should emulate tennis moves. Everytime you touch a weight you should think "how will doing this lift translate into being a better player" and "how will doing this lift help me beat Joe who always beats me".

Thats what matters as far as tennis and working out. Establish a solid level of fitness, after that only target things that will help you win more.

Give me a set of medicine balls and I will improve a player way more than a trainer with a room full of Olympic weight equipment. Why? Because I can improve his practical power in relation to his tennis.

r2473
01-28-2010, 09:45 AM
^^If the OP wants tennis specific training, TennisCoachFLA is 100% correct.

Power Player
01-28-2010, 10:53 AM
yes..the medicine ball twist is an awesome exercise for tennis. It really develops torsional rotation.

Unfortunately my new little gym has none..so I will have to just use dumbbells instead.

I am doing a lot of pullups and pushups. I feel like if you can push and pull your body weight over and over, you will get strong and stay lean. Tennis keeps me lean, and I just want to retain strength.

maverick66
01-28-2010, 11:24 AM
Give me a set of medicine balls and I will improve a player way more than a trainer with a room full of Olympic weight equipment. Why? Because I can improve his practical power in relation to his tennis.

This is a stretch. It depends on what you are doing with the weights. Show me how you are gonna build stronger legs with a med ball than i can with a squat rack?

Med balls are a great tool and should be part of a tennis players training but at the same time he should have a solid lifting program to build up his strength level.

GuyClinch
01-28-2010, 11:30 AM
I like Ripptoe's program - provided you can use proper form. I don't think most people can. That's a big problem with his workout. I'd say its more like a coaches handbook and the vast majority of trainees should be getting some professional input.

And sadly I agree with r2473 that if you gained 20lbs in 10 weeks its probably alot of fat even though your lifts have gone up. Even then its a bare bones program you need to do a lot more for tennis fitness. Once you have squats and deadlifts down you should progress and add in the powercleans and the snatches. These should really be the two exercises you want to focus on as the develop explosive strength.

Then you really want to work on things like box jumps and depth jumps as these too will develop explosive strength. The squats and the deadlifts make a nice base - but IMHO you don't need much beyond 2x your weight. That's just the start of things though there is a whole lot more to think about if you want to get into it. Things that ripptoe shy's away from like lunges, ladder drills, jumping rope - should have places in your workout..

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Conditioning-Tennis-Sports/dp/0736069380/ref=pd_sim_b_2

I'd consider picking up something like this and changing your workouts around if you want to improve your tennis game..
BTW medicine ball drills are nothing to laugh at. I sadly don't have regular access to do some of those drills but they are in fact very helpful..

T Woody
01-28-2010, 12:03 PM
To the OP, you are wasting your time with "adding pounds to lifts". That was dumb advice.

Tennis strength is not easily defined like that. Once you have a good level of strength, which you did to begin with, you should have concentrated on improving your flexibility and kinetic chain loading.

As you found out, you hit the ball harder after increasing your lifts. So? Honestly not trying to offend but so what?

Did you win any more matches? Beat guys you used to lose to? Thats all that matters.

This forum is full of useless overanalyzing. Your lifts should emulate tennis moves. Everytime you touch a weight you should think "how will doing this lift translate into being a better player" and "how will doing this lift help me beat Joe who always beats me".

Thats what matters as far as tennis and working out. Establish a solid level of fitness, after that only target things that will help you win more.

Give me a set of medicine balls and I will improve a player way more than a trainer with a room full of Olympic weight equipment. Why? Because I can improve his practical power in relation to his tennis.

Thanks for the input TC FLA. So you're saying you don't advocate any actual strength or heavy power training? Since strength is such a loose term these days, I don't want you to misunderstand me. When I say strength and power, I mean ability to exert max force and exert force quickly. When you say 'tennis strength', it sounds like you're talking about muscular or strength endurance.

I'm not trying to get into a battle over semantics and definitions, I'm just curious if you use any heavy work in your program. From my experiences in baseball, basketball, football, and soccer, at least SOME strength and power training in addition to sport specific work makes you better at the sport. Since I'm relatively new to the tennis game, I guess my real question is: Is real strength training even all that important, or will I get more bang for my buck on court with med ball work, maybe some high rep kettlebell stuff, bodyweight exercises, and conditioning work?

I'm all about experimenting, so I'll definitely try a few different things this season and see how it works out for me.

r2473
01-28-2010, 12:12 PM
This is a stretch. It depends on what you are doing with the weights. Show me how you are gonna build stronger legs with a med ball than i can with a squat rack?

Med balls are a great tool and should be part of a tennis players training but at the same time he should have a solid lifting program to build up his strength level.

I didn't read what TennisCoachFLA said as an either / or proposition. I read his attitude toward weights summed up in his first statement:

To the OP, you are wasting your time with "adding pounds to lifts". That was dumb advice.

I agree with that. You don't need to lift heavy for tennis. But, some weight training is a good idea. If I had to choose one or the other, I would probably go with medicine balls over weights too (but I don't know why you wouldn't do both).

maverick66
01-28-2010, 12:29 PM
Is real strength training even all that important, or will I get more bang for my buck on court with med ball work, maybe some high rep kettlebell stuff, bodyweight exercises, and conditioning work?

Its about finding a balance. Obviously you dont wanna train like a bodybuilder or a powerlifter but you need to have a strength base or you are gonna get injured. If you just do med ball tosses or body weight it will be ok but if you can add in weight lifting with heavier stuff it will be better. Its all about finding what keeps you performing at your best level and staying injury free.

I didn't read what TennisCoachFLA said as an either / or proposition. I read his attitude toward weights summed up in his first statement:

It sounds like its from the older thought of lifting heavy breaks your swing. His understanding of weight training might not be high but he is not wrong with the importance of rotational work. its kind of half right with modern ideas. At least he admits that there is off court training needed unlike some of the other coaches around here.

bee
01-28-2010, 01:16 PM
If they are 5%, what % is this guy?

http://www.musclemania.com/images/home/011410/DSC_0864.jpg

Or these guys?

http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/body_builder_22sfw.gif

Compare the legs especially. The lowest the models are would be 8%. People really don't look "good" much lower than that. "Old school" bodybuilders used to compete around 8-9%. Schwarzenegger claims he competed at 9% in articles. 5% is very extreme. The models just look "good".

This site is about tennis, not narcissistic steroid freaks that like to pose and look at themselves in the mirror.

albino smurf
01-28-2010, 01:32 PM
I don't know how anyone would want to look like that. They're like caricatures of people.

r2473
01-28-2010, 01:39 PM
This site is about tennis, not narcissistic steroid freaks that like to pose and look at themselves in the mirror.

Ya. Not my intention to sidetrack the thread. Just wanted to do a quick bodyfat comparison. Pics are always better than words.

Just try to ignore them.

r2473
01-28-2010, 01:43 PM
It sounds like its from the older thought of lifting heavy breaks your swing.

I don't know Coach's thoughts.

Personally, I don't think heavy lifting is "bad". I just don't think it is necessary for tennis. In addition, it is a massive energy demand. Might be better to lift lighter and use that energy elsewhere.

mucat
01-28-2010, 02:14 PM
"Bruce was only interested in strength that he could readily convert to power. I remember once Bruce and I were walking along the beach in Santa Monica. All of a sudden this huge bodybuilder came walking by, and I said to Bruce "Man, look at the arms on that guy" I'll never forget his reaction, he said "Yeah, he's big, but is he powerful???".
"Bruce had tremendous strength in holding a weight out horizontally in a standing position. I know because I've seen it. He'd take a 125lb barbell and hold it straight out".

limitup
01-28-2010, 02:23 PM
That kind of strength is what I was talking about. You can totally train for strength instead of mass. Yes you will get bigger but you can be SUPER strong and not big and bulky. Just look at Andre Agassi and so many other people.

Andre is/was STRONG as an ox. I think he benched around 350 or so. All else being equal, for 99% of players, the guy who can bench 350 is going to be an overall better player than someone like Federer who can probably bench half of that.

Federer is just a total freak of nature though. I don't know if he would be "better" or not with more muscle. Shoulder strength is super important - especially for a 1HBH. Fed has decent shoulders.

FastFreddy
01-28-2010, 04:04 PM
That kind of strength is what I was talking about. You can totally train for strength instead of mass. Yes you will get bigger but you can be SUPER strong and not big and bulky. Just look at Andre Agassi and so many other people.

Andre is/was STRONG as an ox. I think he benched around 350 or so. All else being equal, for 99% of players, the guy who can bench 350 is going to be an overall better player than someone like Federer who can probably bench half of that.

Federer is just a total freak of nature though. I don't know if he would be "better" or not with more muscle. Shoulder strength is super important - especially for a 1HBH. Fed has decent shoulders.

Andre bench press was 300 for one rep I wonder how much Gil was spotting or doing the lifting for Andre. 300 @170 is pretty good for a tenns player.

albino smurf
01-29-2010, 04:28 AM
Meth assisted lift?

Power Player
01-29-2010, 09:26 AM
I don't know Coach's thoughts.

Personally, I don't think heavy lifting is "bad". I just don't think it is necessary for tennis. In addition, it is a massive energy demand. Might be better to lift lighter and use that energy elsewhere.

I agree with this. Heavy lifting is nice, but it stresses the joints after a while too. It also takes away your energy, so if you play tennis later on, you will not be nearly as good.

limitup
01-29-2010, 10:17 AM
Meth assisted lift?

Classic! :)

FastFreddy
01-29-2010, 10:18 AM
Meth assisted lift?

Andre was doing meth with his buddy I am sure Gil was giving him roids and other performance drugs. Gil was the strength coach for UNLV it's not like powerlifters do roids right.

jimanuel12
01-29-2010, 12:29 PM
So I finished up last season at 6'4" and a shade under 200 pounds. At that point, I made the decision to work hard at getting bigger and stronger in the off season. After 10 weeks, I'm now 220. I used Rippetoe's novice program and added 75 pounds to my back squat, 60 pounds to my deadlift, and 30 pounds to my overhead press. I've been getting back into hitting the last few weeks and I definitely feel a ton stronger. I'm hitting serves and groundstrokes harder than I ever have and can maintain pace for a long time into hitting sessions, but my movement and agility is definitely less than what it was 10 weeks ago. In all fairness, I really can't be sure if this is because I've gained size or because I haven't played much tennis at all in the past 2 and a half months. I'm guessing it's more of the latter, but probably a combo of the two.

It just brings up an interesting question; how strong is 'strong enough' for tennis? Without a doubt, an increase in overall strength is a good thing for sports in general, but increasing strength usually means increasing muscle and bodyweight. And in tennis an increase in bodyweight can be a serious hindrance and that negative may outweigh the benefits you get from a strength increase. The two guys I'd look at for comparison are Del Potro (6'6" 185) and Tsonga (6'4" 215). The question is, would Tsonga be better, worse, or the same if he dropped 20 pounds and would Delpo be better, worse, or the same if he gained 20 pounds? I've always been in the camp that adding muscle mass is always better with all else equal. This seems to be the case with Murray, who is certainly bigger now and has elevated his game from a few years ago. But then there are guys like Cilic and Davydenko who crush the ball and are durable despite their lean frames.

Maybe it wouldn't matter as much for pros since they're at such a high level already, but I'm curious what people's personal experience is with this. Have you guys always played at the same weight or have you tried leaning out significantly or bulking up to imiprove? What were the effects of this for you on the court?

i am an older player (61) and i am 6'3" and weight at around 180.
i was beating players 15 years younger than me until i hurt my arm last year.
most men as they age, get heavy and i am going to remain thin, i got up to 220 one time and i could not get my breath, must less climb a flight of stairs.
remaining thin will help you in many ways.
i was always able to hit the ball very hard even though i was much thinner than most of my opponents.

Zachol82
01-29-2010, 03:49 PM
You can still keep your strength, just start toning down so you can get your agility back.

ALten1
01-30-2010, 11:26 AM
There may be(I am sure there are) people on here more knowledgable than me about strength. Those people who are freakishly strong have slightly different tendon placement. Kinda like a monkey. Their tendons are attached further down on their forearms and further up on their biceps so it gives them way more strength thru leverage. Same with people. Those 135lb guys that can bench 350 but look like they never touched a weight in their life have this advantage. As one poster said about his friend seeing a bodybuilder and asked if he was strong, I guaranty that guy was strong. You don't get that big without being strong.

One thing about getting bigger is losing flexibility. Make sure you stretch out the muscles routinely. I think flexibility is very important for explosiveness and quickness.

Gmedlo
01-30-2010, 08:36 PM
Hmmmm, it's odd that the title rules out the possibility of being light and strong, lean and big, or lean and strong.

IMO, it's all about your strength-weight ratio. Nothing else really matters--if you're 6'0 without any flexibility issues and have a 5 minute mile along with a 36" vertical and an extraordinary shuttle time, the number on the scale is irrelevant, whether it is 150lbs or 225lbs.

zebano
02-01-2010, 07:49 AM
I took up Olympic style weight training a few year ago, and it has helped my tennis game. That said, it has helped my basketball game much more, but heavy squatting has made me a noticeably quicker player and doing various overhead presses has made my shoulder stronger (I can more easily hit high balls with my 1hbh).

I do not advise getting big but my goals were body weight based and have not made me big.
3x5 squat at 1.5x body weight
1x5 deadlift at 2x body weight
3x5 overhead press at .75x body weight
3x5 bench at 1x body weight.
3x5 row at .75x body weight

I've now almost achieved all of these after many stops and starts in training (OH press is insanely difficult for me). I was so out of shape when I began (23%bf by caliper) that any training would have improved. I don't know my current body fat but I've gone from 205lbs to 180lbs at 5'11" and since I'm nowhere near seeing abs I'd bet I'm at least 15% body fat still. I have come nowhere close to looking "big" and my flexibility is as good as ever so developing a basic base in compound lifts is certainly not a bad thing.

T Woody
02-01-2010, 12:43 PM
Thanks for the info zebano. Having lifting goals based on BW% sounds like a solid plan for tennis. I'm in total agreement about the standing press. It's a very underrated lift and probably the last thing I would pull out of a strength program for tennis. As of now, I'm sticking with a pretty bare bones program of squats, press, chins, and heavy ab work twice a week. I'll probably deadlift every other week too. Alongside tennis practice and conditioning, it seems to be working well so far.