Weightlifting exercise for maximizing topspin?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Quadium, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Quadium

    Quadium Rookie

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    I've started weightlifting 4 months ago and i have noticed that while my arms and biceps have more mass, and i am able to hit harder...I don't have the function and flexibility to hit with more topspin. I think i have messed up my muscle memory with heavy weights & that has affected my form. I am just wondering if any of you guys have any specific weightlifting exercises that would benefit my topspin performance.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Quadium
     
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  2. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Squat 2.5X your bodyweight and do HIIT.
     
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  3. Lips

    Lips Semi-Pro

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    Muscle doesn't translate to top spin...technique does
     
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  4. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Maximum topspin is achieved through whipping the racket through the ball. You want to increase the angle you translate/rotate your joints through (more angle of increasing racket head speed). Flexibility is what you want, not muscle mass. Try Yoga.
    (you don't want a thicker whip)
     
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  5. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I'm not sure it is safe to play tennis unless you can squat 2.5x your bodyweight.

    In any case, I'd do shoulder and back work to maximize topspin. That means deadlifts, rows, pull ups, and shoulder work like throwers 10. This is because hitting heavy topspin requires a lot of racket head speed and usually the muscles contributing to internal rotation can get too strong and cause injuries to the rear shoulder girdle and all the rotator-cuff type muscularity.
     
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  6. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    just a note, but if you're internally rotating your humerus to hit topspin, you're doing it wrong, and putting your shoulder at significant risk of injury.
     
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  7. DevilDog

    DevilDog Rookie

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    I spend a lot of time in the gym and most people cannot even squat 135lbs with proper form.

    And it's really rare to see someone squatting 2.5 times their bodyweight. Now let's say they play tennis too, I would say never.

    A 185lb guy would have to squat 462.5lbs, that is four 45lbs plates and one 25lbs plate on each side of an Olympic bar.

    Unless you weigh 100lbs I would bet you cannot squat 2.5 times your body weight.
     
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  8. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    What!!!!! That's heresy. I can squat 2.5 times my bodyweight.......some have claimed that I don't **quite** go down to full depth, but hey, my squat passes muster (or is it mustard) in Gold's Gym.

    I wouldn't recommend it.
     
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  9. DevilDog

    DevilDog Rookie

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    Ok, now that we have weeded out the ridiculous posts.


    OP, fully developed legs should be at the core of your training. All your power on serves, ground strokes, and volleys should come from your legs and core. Squats, Leg presses, and lunges are great for gaining mass and strength on your legs. Look at Nadal, Berdych, and Murray they all have huge quads.
    Throw in an ab workout every other day and you should be crushing the ball in no time.

    One of my favorite quotes from Agassi's book:
    Gil Reyes " Strong legs obey, weak legs command."
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
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  10. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I'm partial to the rotary torso machine.
     
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  11. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    For power in tennis I'd think flexibility/range of motion exercises would be more beneficial than traditional weight training like bench pressing or squatting etc.

    Forearm rotation and rotator cuff strengthening and loosening activities would be a good start. The throwers ten advised - it'll help you with more than just the serve.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It's a fact, 65% of your power comes solely from arm swing.
    The other 35% is core, legs, all that kinetic crap.
     
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  13. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    I have found kettlebell training to be excellent for building functional strength without adding too much bulk. Rather than isolate muscles, most exercises work muscle groups in a synergistic, real-world fashion. If I had to pick only one exercise to perform because of time constraints, it would be kettlebell swings done in Tabata style intervals, throwing in some planks and push ups during the "rest" periods. Look into it.
     
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  14. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Kettlebell swings are a great exercise. Watch some videos from qualified instructors to ensure your form is sound, or better, book a lesson with a certified kettlebell instructor. You'll get more benefit from the exercise with less risk or injury.
     
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  15. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Yep, this is absolutely critical. Learning and sticking with correct form is paramount with this exercise. KB swings really translate well for tennis, or anything else for that matter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Heavy bag, body shots.
     
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  17. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I'm pretty sure there has never been a pro player who ever did a full ATG squat with 2.5 times their BW. I'm not saying that there was never a player able to do it, just sure that no one ever tried.


    people always want to implement weightlifting methods like box squats or power cleans into sports, but very few pros train like that. I have seen videos mostly of them doing conventional machines, some dumbels and in newer times also some kettlebells or med balls.

    But I have never seen one putting 300 pounds on their back and doing deep squats (maybe half squats).
     
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  18. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    ^^ You've never seen the video of Federer and Nadal in the gym together squatting 475 side by side?
     
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  19. comeback

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    Thanks PG, can you show us a link or explain further how this is done (incorrectly)? thanks
     
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  20. comeback

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    Agreed, i've seem some pretty effective "ARM" serves. Lots of very good players (even pros) don't bend at the knees or use their legs on every shot..It's all about the strings, racket head speed. (and a strong core)
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
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  21. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    My opinion is that exercise bands work the best..And all the pros use them
     
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  22. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    comeback....hold your arm straight out in front of you, palm facing inward so the thumb is pointing straight up. Your arm is in a neutral position. Now bend at the elbow and pull your hand directly back to your shoulder so your thumb moves as close to your shoulder as possible while keeping the palm facing inward, no rotation. Then extend back out. That's what your service motion should be with respect to arm movement.

    But what many want to do is pronate. To pronate, bend the arm back like described above, but as you extend it, rotate so the palm doesn't stay facing inward, it rotates inward so that the palm is now facing down when the arm is extended directly in front of you. That's pronation. A lot of people want to pronate when they serve in an attempt to generate more pace. It may do that, but doing that is death to a shoulder. If you pronate when you serve, it's not a question of if you'll have rotator cuff problems, but when and how severe.

    And if on a forehand someone tries to use pronation to 'cover' the ball and generate spin, they're doing it wrong. It should be the wrist hinging, like the beauty queen wave, with the racquet brushing the ball. Djokovic has perhaps the best forehand in the game today and does not pronate. Pronation at speed and under load is very, very hard on the shoulder.
     
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  23. comeback

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    Thanks for the detailed explanation PD , I'm pretty sure i do pronate only when i hit a flat serve. I have had some very slight shoulder soreness but rarely...Possibly because i am very diligent in doing exercise bands for my shoulder. As far as the forehand i think I'm ok. No pain even after switching to full poly for the first time in my life..
     
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  24. comeback

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    Here's a video on Pronation
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LyGN5YSuCY
     
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  25. Quadium

    Quadium Rookie

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    Thank you everyone for your helpful comments. Ive started doing quarter mile sprints, followed by leg press, squat, deadlift and leg extensions. Finishing up with lats, core & shoulders. Im getting great results. My shots are alot more fluid. I will be posting my exact workout routine soon with my before & after pics.
     
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  26. Boricua

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    lift low weight,push ups, pull ups, dips, squats, weight machines, abdominal exercises, some karate flex muscles and swim
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
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  27. DevilDog

    DevilDog Rookie

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    So what you are saying is that every pro in the modern era will have to have shoulder surgery.? Pronation is an integral part of the modern serve.
     
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  28. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Not every pro pronates, but those who do are putting tremendous strain on their shoulders. My instructor has worked with a lot of tour guys and knows folks from most of the top guys' camps. He estimates that at least 60% of the top 50 guys in the world have serious shoulder issues right now, and the majority of the rest have issues at some stage of development.
     
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  29. DevilDog

    DevilDog Rookie

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    Interesting. Can you give a name of a least one person in the top 500 that does not pronate? I would like to watch their serve and see how they follow through after making contact with the ball.
     
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  30. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    I'll ask him the next time I have a lesson with him and pass on what he says.
     
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  31. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    IMO i think most pros do pronate but do preventative maintenance with bands or something similar to prevent shoulder problems..i know that i have pronated for years with no shoulder issues
     
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  32. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    the more well positioned and functional the entire shoulder girdle is, the less destructive pronating while serving will be. Still puts a LOT of rotational torque on the shoulder while in an overhead position, which some shoulders handle better than others. For sure.
     
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  33. TimeSpiral

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    Alright, well, the reason you want strong legs and a strong core is so you can cover the court at a high level for the entire match. You have to be able to sprint, stop, change directions, jump, squat, lunge, and all sorts of stuff. All of these activities benefit from strong legs and core.

    You probably get a little bit of power from leg drive or core rotation, but I'm inclined to think that the majority of the power comes from the racquet colliding with the incoming tennis ball. An energy transfer occurs, and as long as the racquet impart more energy to the ball than the other way around, the ball is propelled forward with a new velocity, trajectory, and spin profile.

    Sure, maybe some of this comes from the legs. But that's not why you need a strong lower body to play tennis well.

    I'm inclined to agree with the TT GOAT, LeeD, although I really wish he'd source his work. :twisted:

    OP - there is no weightlifting exercise that has a direct relationship with topspin. Topspin is the effect of technique, not necessarily muscle strength.

    You mentioned that you felt your form was being compromised while weight training. From what I understand, "strength training" (heavy weights) is not recommended while you're "in season." But what the hell do I know? I'm not a trainer. But as your muscles grow you do have to adjust how to handle the new body mass. Stretching / flexibility and training on the court are essential to maintaining form. Just know that proper weight training requires rest.
     
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  34. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Do you mean this literally? As in you actually swing the racquet with the small muscles of your arm?

    I know for me, it's all (mostly) kinetic chain. Big muscles move small muscles. I like to feel like I keep my arm "weightless". As little tension as possible. So when I fire my big muscles (hips and sometimes shoulders), my little muscles (arm/racquet) are pulled into the shot. It's impossible to "lead with the butt of your racquet" with an arm swing.

    http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/...images/nick_bollet_killer_forehand_part1.html

    http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/...ollet_killer_forehand_part2.html?format=print

    And this technique is what the OP needs to use to maximize topspin. If you use your arm/hand to generate topspin, it will never work. Your arm/hand is just the end of the whip.

    Same goes for the serve. You shouldn't actively try to pronate your wrist to generate spin. This is something that "just happens" if you set up right and allow the big muscles to move the small muscles.

    If this doesn't work, try doing pullovers with 2.5x your bodyweight and see if that helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
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  35. comeback

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    Maybe Lee means racket head speed which is mostly your arm..It is possible to hit fast strokes/serves even topspin in some cases without using the kinetic chain it's just not as efficient
     
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  36. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Racquet head speed isn't mostly your arm IMO. For me, it's very, very little arm. Little as possible.

    And you won't have the consistency/repeatable action with an arm swing.

    Also have a much better chance of getting overuse injuries to your small muscles (tennis elbow).
     
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  37. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Use the proper kinetic chain to generate RHS.

    having strong arms is good but being out of sequence is severly limiting your RHS.

    I do not believe in a passive "along for the ride" arm but you cannot use the arm before the legs and hips have been engaged.
     
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  38. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    dominikk is right on. The term for this is "kinematic sequencing". If you put top player through such analysis where you put sensors on him and then use advanced motion analysis, you'll see a consistent pattern for both the setup and the swing where the hips begin to uncoil, then the trunk follows, then the arm follows from that. If you are trying to generate the racquet head speed from the arm and shoulder instead of the hips and trunk first, you're doing it wrong and you'll strain your arm and shoulder.

    Ever ice skated or roller skated at a rink with a group of people where you put 10-20 people in a line holding hands and start going in circles? The folks towards the center are not moving very fast but the folks on the end start whipping around so quickly that eventually they have to let go. That's the principle you want to deploy.

    When the hips and core lag behind the arm, your shot is robbed of power, you can just feel it.

    Golf instructors are starting to use this analysis in a big way, becoming much more common. Not super common in tennis instruction yet. The equipment is pretty expensive to do it right.
     
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  39. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    here's a very technical article on the subject, but if you go to the end and read the key points, the last one says it all. "to improve the forehand performance level of their athletes, coaches should focus on proper pelvis and trunk rotation."

    http://www.jssm.org/vol9/n4/15/v9n4-15pdf.pdf
     
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  40. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I may or may not mean this literally, I'm actually not sure. But it is the "feel" I like to have in my swing/serve.
     
    #40
  41. Clemsonfan

    Clemsonfan New User

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    Rotational throws with a medicine ball will help tremendously as will Overhead slams. Go to www.coreperformance.com for videos.

    The UNC medicine ball 200 is another great workout. They help strengthen your obliques and core.
     
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