Cardio for Tennis - What to do?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Govnor, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I do a once a week Winter Clinic and lift some weights twice a week. That's it.

    I feel my cardio is not great right now and would like to start to improve it with playing more tennis in mind for Spring and Summer.

    I have access to a gym one more time a week and can do some running at home if it's not too cold.

    What sorts of running/cardio should I look at doing with Tennis in mind?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. ferociousforehand

    ferociousforehand New User

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    Running long distance builds your endurance so you can last long matches.

    To handle long rallies long distance running wont be beneficial due to the fact that your heart rate is pretty constant. You need to work on not increasing your heart rate super high during long rallies but you also need to bring your heart rate down after long rallies very quick so you can be ready for the next point. For this purpose, i think short distance running for 20-30 secs at max speed with a rest period of 10 seconds imitates the match situations than running for 5 miles. Also doing suicides for 30-45 seconds and resting again for 10, and gradually increasing the duration helps to sustain long rallies without running out of breath. Your work to rest ratio should be around 3 to 1.
     
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  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    ^^^ Great first post.

    The advice is very similar to what a USTA coach advises:

    "When training the players the USTA works with, we usually do some sort of "running" four to five times a week. The running session usually lasts between 20 – 40 minutes, but there is a lot of variety in the types of running we do.

    You’ll note that we put running in quotation marks, because much of what we do is different from the long, slow distance running many tennis players are familiar with – there is some long distance running, but the “running” sessions also involve footwork/tennis agility work, or interval runs. The type of running depends upon the periodized strength and conditioning schedule of the player.

    Generally, the long distance running and longer interval repeats (400s and 800s) are done during the preparation phase when you are getting ready for the season. Shorter, higher intensity intervals (20s, 40s, 60s, 100s, 200s, and 400s) and on-court footwork/tennis agility are the main focus during the pre-competition phase in the weeks leading up to main competition or competitions. During the competition phase of the season, on-court footwork/tennis agility is the “running” focus."
    - http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Health-Fitness/Training-and-Exercise/Conditioning/

    Some more information on High Intensity Interval Training:
    HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training http://www.intervaltraining.net/hiit.html
     
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  4. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Ok, thanks. So if I have two opportunities per week to run, should I do one at long distance and one at the 3-1 ratio you suggest, or both at the 3-1 ratio??
     
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  5. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Since you have access to a gym you may also want to consider doing some cross training on a bike, stairmaster, rower or cross-country skier.

    You'll notice that most of the "modern" equipment has a monitor and different programs that will take you through different HIIT regimens.
    Or you can just do your own - pedal/step/ski/row at a high rate until you feel winded, slow down for a time, then speed up again.
    (Again you are mimicking the "play hard" for an interval nature of tennis, followed by a period of rest between points.)


    While running is the most specific cardiovascular work out for tennis, some cross training is beneficial to work muscle groups other than the hamstrings that get the biggest workout in running - and to give a break from the pounding on the knees and hips that is intrinsic to running hard.

    For instance the bike, stairmaster and rower will give your quads a better workout, and the skiier has more rotational movement with no joint pounding.

    Still, since tennis is a running sport, doing the most work as running would be the goal of most - as long as it feels the body can take it.
     
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  6. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Thanks!! My knees are of a little concern to me, so I will take advantage of the bike and Stair stepper. What are your thoughts on Elliptical?
     
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  7. NickC

    NickC Professional

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    Swim instead. Or use a kickboard if your strokes suck. Do a hundred laps a day, 3-5 days a week. Your knees will feel better and you will be fitter than anyone else you play.
     
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  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    It depends on how good shape you are in, how "beaten up" your body feels and how much you are willing to push yourself.


    The "best" from a pure tennis point of view would be to do mainly HIIT work if you are already in great shape.

    Some have to "work into" doing longer runs to build up a base at first before being doing more HIIT.

    I left out the next line from that USTA coach above - but it applies to all of us.
    "Recognizing that each player is an individual, we adjust the plan depending upon the player’s cardiovascular endurance, agility and their physical and physiological strengths and weaknesses."
    - http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Health-Fitness/Training-and-Exercise/Conditioning/



    Note that the HIIT principle can even be taken to doing agility drills to move better on the court (and even in our approach at hitting practice).
    USTA agility drills: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/USTA_Import/USTA/dps/doc_437_269.pdf


    It is a general principle that the closer the exercise mimics our sport, the more we will directly benefit.

    So, for example, doing spider drills and vertical and horizontal repeaters at high speed we are training out bodies to start and stop and change directions - just like during a tennis match.
    Plus these have the additional benefit of strengthening the muscles that stabilize the ankles knees and hips so are better prepared to avoid injuries on the court that running in a straight line won't prepare us for.


    That also reminds me that at some gyms pick up basketball is going on - a great sport cardiovascular conditioning, plus great training in those starts, stops and change in direction - particularly if playing defense and zigging when the other player zigs and zagging when they zag.
     
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  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Ellipticals can be great to provide some less jarring cardiovascular work than running.
    (Again, recognizing that the movement will be less specific for tennis.)
     
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  10. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Swimming is great because of its non-jarring nature.

    The shoulders get a workout to better prepare them for serving - especially if swimming all the strokes, particularly the backstroke.

    The only problem with swimming is that because the body "floats" and thus is essentially weightless, you have to swim pretty fast for a good cardiovascular workout that would directly benefit you for tennis.


    Plus ... having an indoor pool gets you in from all that snow in Tuscon!
     
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  11. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    er, yeah, I wish I had the time to do that! I don't, unfortunately!
     
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  12. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I like those drills on your link! When it's warm enough I'll start doing those I think!

    I'm in decent shape. I look like I should be in great shape (good genes!), but really I do need to buckle down and work. I noticed this at my last clinic. In a tough match, I would be struggling right now.
     
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  13. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Atfter reading about Agassi running up ski slopes.I started running up a small hill (many times) to build leg strength and endurance.. I would also do side to side mimicking tennis footwork with my racket on a football field. ..It really helped me in long matches in the heat.
     
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  14. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    100 laps but how many meters each lap? If its 50 or 100 meters per lap it is quite alot, at least in my terms. I would do less laps and complement with weights, some running (fats and slow), stretching, etc...
     
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  15. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    I'd suggest Jump roping; it's takiing me a while to develop the coordination but that makes it fun. I find it is strengthening a lot of little muscles in the arches as well as the big muscles in the calves. I practice indoors on a yoga mat or on the soft/rubber floors at the Gym.

    For tennis training, I'd also suggest high intensity interval training. You can do this w/ weights and kettlebells; you can also do this w/ body weight exercises and sprints. This mimics more closely those points where you run back and forth on the court and then have to recover and start the next point.
     
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  16. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Biggest Swimming Pool in the world?
     
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  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Skipping/jumping rope is an excellent exercise for tennis. Try to stay on the balls of your feet and jump in a low quick manner in order to be "light on your feet" -- not in a hard jarring fashion. You can use this for interval training. You might skip rope continuously for ~2 minutes to get the heart rate up. Then jump for 30 seconds or so alternating with 30-60 seconds of easy walking. After a number of these you can shorten the jumping phase to 15 seconds with a 45-second walk. You can vary the intervals a bit, say high intensity for 20 seconds with a 40-second walk.
     
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  18. Fusker

    Fusker Rookie

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    What type of weight training are you doing? Over the last few years, I've become a huge fan of high intensity circuit training using lower weighted dumbbells or body weight exercises. It's basically mixing weight training and cardio into the same workout. The name is hokey, but I've taken a workout I saw in Men's Health called "The Spartacus Workout" (http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/high-intensity-circuit-routine/index.php) and created a bunch of variations to keep it fresh.

    What I have found is that my "practical strength" is much better going into the spring over the last three winters of doing this. This has led to me being much better prepared for my two favorite sports, tennis and mountain biking, right away in the spring. I've also found my aerobic levels to be better than past years when I've separated my weight training from my aerobic workouts.

    I know you asked specifically for a cardio routine and my response wasn't deviated from that a bit, but thought I'd mention what I've found effective. If it's not for you, maybe somebody else might latch on to the idea.

    Good luck!
     
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  19. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    For cardio I work out on a treadmill a lot but break it up by doing footwork. Takes a bit of practice at slow rate, but start forward, then side to side step, backward skip, backward run, side to side (other side). Then mix in some cross over steps and forward skips. With practice you can get some pretty good speed going and high heart rate with intense mental focus required. I get a lot of funny looks in the gym from my neighbors, but it is a very effective aerobic workout and footwork drill.
     
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  20. MeHere2PlayTennis

    MeHere2PlayTennis New User

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    For me personally, I have seen that a quick sprint and break just a couple times a week (30 minutes) has drastically improved my fitness. I add some balance board with lifting to strengthen my core. I have never been a gym rat, so this quick blast seems to fit into my tennis schedule and work. It is entirely up to you, I believe you can do interval training on the ellipticals as well.
     
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  21. nyc

    nyc Hall of Fame

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    I think most has been said, but from personal experience I can only agree wholeheartedly.

    I have been running 18-20 miles a week for close to a year. This helped me shed some pounds and build endurance, but it also made me noticeably sluggish on court.

    A year ago I changed my whole approach by working out 3x / week, focusing 95% on Core strength and HIIT (boosting Agility, Explosiveness, lateral movement) and 5% on Shoulders/Back Strengthening, Stretching. The change has been, simply put, phenomenal.

    My reaction time, balance and explosiveness on court has been the best its ever been. I added a few mph on my serve and groundstrokes, and I have been injured less. The Best part was that within 2-3 Months I could see a difference already.

    I suggest you find a class in your local gym that provides this regimen to make motivation easier and your gym time as efficient as possible.

    Good Luck!
     
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  22. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    if fat, lose weight*...

    being fat is tough on joint, kills your movement and stamina. losing fat relieves stress on joints, improves movement and stamina.


    * Dieting well, daily exercise (running intervals, cycling, rowing, etc...), dieting well.
     
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  23. tbln

    tbln New User

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    For me, I made huge strides in my cardiovascular fitness, explosive leg strength and foot speed after I started taking spin classes. At my gym, we have Les Mills programs and the RPM spin class is basically 45 minutes of pure interval training. Its also easy on the joints. I know gym classes aren't for everyone but I personally enjoy the dance music, indoor cycling, and having an instructor yell at me to push harder/faster.
     
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