If tennis match has ample anaerobic phases, how much recovery do you need?
While trying to build an interval training regimen into my workout program, I learned that people may actually overtrain (or under-recover) when doing interval training. Because interval training incorporate anaerobic phase, you need time to recover from it, which means one or two sessions per week of interval training would be recommended.
That got me thinking. People play different styles of tennis, of course. Some recreational players play it almost like a cardio. But for the vast majority of even recreational players, I think tennis employs a plenty of anaerobic phases, much like interval training. If so, shouldn't that affect the frequency of tennis matches (not tennis lessons or clinics) that you play? By employing the same logic for interval training, wouldn't two matches per week be more than enough?
Do you regularly have long rallies dashing from sideline to sideline?
For most, there are periods of a match with short points where you are not getting an aerobic workout.
So you may not get the aerobic workout from just playing to prepare you for the several times during the match where successive long points will really test your reserve.
If your goal is maximum anaerobic fitness to face any situation on court, you probably will have to do some off court HIIT.
Don't forget HIIT can involve doing agility drills at maximum speed to work on your changing direction.
USTA agility drills: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/USTA...oc_437_269.pdf
But don't beat yourself up about this. Enjoy your tennis and decide whether an extra hitting session of nonstop play would be better overall for your tennis skills and meet your conditioning needs.
Anaerobic & Aerobic and Tennis Recovery
I have read that 'singles tennis is an anaerobic sport'. I have also read that tennis is a mixture typically with '60% anaerobic and 40% aerobic'. The second view seems more reasonable to me. Also, individual tennis will vary a lot. In my doubles and also my singles rapid breathing hardly ever occurs, in any case, less than 3%(?) of the match time.
I have also seen calories expended per hour for various sports including tennis. Maybe 700-900 per hour for singles? The information presented looks a little internet cut and paste and not based on well understood research.
The pros play very intensely, often for more that 4 hours, and often they perform very well in the last set (even a 5th set). What is that intensity of tennis doing to the glycogen, stored in the muscles & liver, that supplys energy for anaerobic exertion?
Recovery for the pros. In a typical tournament the pros play every day or two. They have a day between matches for 5 set grand slam matches. After each match they must replace muscle & liver glycogen for the next match. They most often seem to recover pretty well for the next match. Do people in condition replace depleted glycogen better than the average club player?
The TV announcers are always pointing out how so-in-so had two 5 set matches and might be spent.....or played for so many hours in their previous matches. But they never ever quote any research to support the claim that it is significant. That information would be available in the match result records - variation of the probability of winning the next match after 2-set, 3-set, 4-set or 5-set matches, etc.
Has anyone seen scientific data on recovery, the time required to replenish glycogen and win-loss results after long or short tennis matches?
From this 1998(?)reference some of the basic issues are still to be determined:
Review Paper - Glycogen Replenishment & Exercise
Circuit training sounds more glycogen depleting than tennis. A tennis instructor of mine said to do 'gym after tennis' but not 'tennis after the gym'. As I recall it we were discussing on the same day. I seemed to play flat after the gym so I stopped going before a tennis match.
I hope you get some informative replies, it's an interesting question.
IMO, it comes down to the details. Types of training being done, frequency of the training, relative intensity, and order of the training in a week. It all needs to come together "like a symphony".
The thing to remember is that, no one single workout or type of workout is sufficient. The key is consistent training with sufficient intensity for the type of training you are doing and ensuring that you will also retain enough energy for your next workout.
With that said, in my training, I'm only able to do 1 or at most 2 pure interval training sessions a week. Most often I do one session and incorporate another one (or maybe even two) into my other training runs. For example, I might incorporate 6X150 into a 5 mile run.
You'll have to determine if tennis is like interval training for you. I play a decent game of singles, but I don't really see tennis as interval training for me. So for me, playing more than 2 matches a week is fine. I see no problem with playing multiple times per week and don't feel like the recovery from a match is comparable to a true interval session.
I could go into much more detail, but I doubt the interest level is really there along these lines for too many people. The general guideline I use for overall fitness for myself (and this I believe also makes me "tennis fit') is the ability to run a 5-K in 20-minutes (6:30 pace). To do this, you need to train in a variety of ways, intensities, distances. It's not really a difficult standard, but I find that being able to do this makes me fit enough for pretty much anything (and almost always fitter than my opponent).
At any rate, train smart, get fit, and stay healthy. Good luck.
Here's an article you might find interesting. I'd guess that playing tennis is mainly "aerobic interval training" as opposed to "anaerobic interval training", though doing anaerobic interval training once (maybe twice) a week will improve your tennis speed and fitness.
Aerobic intervals involve working between a low aerobic zone (55 percent to 65 percent of maximum) and a high zone (75 percent to 80 percent of maximum). Anaerobic intervals call for a work period falling within 80 percent to 95 percent of maximum heart rate, while the rest periods may drop to an aerobic zone or even lower (below 50 percent of maximum).
Although interval training is a valuable training tool, it should be used in moderation. Intervals, especially high-intensity ones that dip into your anaerobic zone, provide the most benefit when performed only one or two times per week, or you risk overtraining. Steady-state cardio training, at a zone of about 60 percent to 80 percent of maximum, still offers benefits for overall health and weight management.
You may be interested in reading the USTA TENNIS RECOVERY A Comprehensive Review of the Research which is free and can be downloaded at http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/dps/...CT%20FINAL.pdf
The second chapter is The Physiological Basis of Recovery:
Special Considerations in Tennis on pages 65-128.
But you may be disappointed that there is no absolute answers to your question as r2437 has already suggested.
It is hard for anyone to quantify how intense an anaerobic experience his match has had. For instance, double bageling your oppenonent may leave you ready for more HIIT the same night.
Tennis Training by Kovacs, Chandler and Chandler even emphasizes sometimes doing some speed agility work after practice when the body is fatigued, even though the majority should be done when "fresh" to get the maximal amount from the training. http://www.amazon.com/Tennis-Trainin.../dp/0972275975
The above sources, and almost every book on tennis training emphasizes "periodization". There may be several week sessions where you can push the anaerobic training, but then back off to let yourself recover.
Here is a description of a USTA coach about his approach to running:
"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.
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."
Here is what Suzanna McGee (author of Tennis Fitness For the Love Of It http://www.tennisfitnesslove.com/ ) had to say about training in a TT post last week:
"I play tennis 6 days a week (47 years old -- the body doesn't recover the same fast, so I have to be smart with all the training, eating and recovery) I fit in my fitness training after my tennis practices. If I am too pooped from the court, I do more "injury prevention" workout - planks, side planks, scorpions, monster walks, etc. If I only play 1 hour and feel fresh, I do plyometrics or kettlebells or just more intense (leg intense) workouts. I may do only 30-45 minutes, followed by 20 minutes stretching. If I do it 4 times per week, I am pretty covered. Sometimes (2-3 times per week) I work my shoulders and rotator cuff with the rubber bands while walking my dog early in the morning.
I found that weight training before tennis doesn't do good to my stroke production, so I have to do it after tennis. We all are different, so find what works for you the best. Then when I am done I eat super big and healthy meal, which helps the recovery. Also, I sleep 8 hours per night, which helps the recovery."
So, find a heart rate monitor and decide what range of intensity you play at.
This stuff gets complicated with the different systems that supply energy and the times associated with each. They all work together.........
From Periodization Training for Sports T. Bompa, M. Carrera(Pg 28 ):
1) Anaerobic Alactic (ATP-CP) System - supplies very intense energy for up to 10 sec. CP is creatine phosphate. Example, weight training, the first 6-10 reps of a 12-15 rep set to failure.
2) Anaerobic Lactic System - supplies energy for intense exercise lasting up to 40 seconds - Examples, 200 & 400 meter dashes and weight training at 40-50 reps. Uses Glycogen.
3) Aerobic System - requires 60-80 second to start. This system uses oxygen and exertion requires heavy respiration. Uses Glycogen....
With the point durations in tennis and the time between points the % of play in each category makes tennis mostly anaerobic. The reference, page 132, characterizes tennis as
1) 50% alactic (#1),
2) 30% lactic acid (#2)
3) 20% aerobic
Energy supplied by creatine phosphate (1) & glycogen(2 & 3).
^^ That's interesting. I would have assumed that, as tennis is played over several hours and average club participants rarely reach anerobic heart rate zones (at least this is true in my case), that the aerobic system would be a larger percentage.
But you are saying that each point is basically an interval with rest periods in between and that most points are defined as anaerobic because they last fewer than 60 seconds, thus tapping anaerobic energy supplies (and not aerobic energy supplies), and possibly because of the intensity involved (meaning points are played at the anaerobic heart rate levels).
I think the relative intensity has to have something to do with it. After all, you wouldn't think I was getting an anaerobic workout if I walked for 30 seconds, rested for 30 seconds, walked for 30 seconds, etc, just because of the duration of each interval.
I'm not saying how these systems interact because I don't understand them. But there is some information from research on these 3 energy systems. The power or force? and output duration that is required from the muscles determines how the body uses these systems. I'm also sure that they work together, in an overlapping manner. If you have to lunge for a serve your heart & respiration have not changed but the greatest force is supplied apparently by the ATP-CP system. Run for some balls and all the systems are probably contributing.
The average calories per second over a tennis match is probably not very high. The calories per second during some intense points is probably much more than the aerobic system can handle, similar to lifting heavy weights for a few reps.
I was given a VO2max test. As best it was explained to me they keep increasing the resistance on an instrumented pedaling machine to find your aerobic limit. As the resistance goes up you can handle it easily at first. You also slowly fatigue. They are raising the resistance in increments faster than you are fatiguing and so at some point they exceed your aerobic capability. At that point you know you can continue but not for very long - just several more seconds. I believe that at that point your aerobic system was not able to handle the power and that you are then exhausting the last contributions from your fatigued anaerobic energy systems. At that point your heart and respiration rates are very high.
I'm sure this stuff is well researched for many simpler sports such as rowing and running. It would be interesting to see an evaluation for tennis.
If you are playing a tough point that involves running from baseline to baseline as fast as you can, you are likely using anaerobic mechanisms during that point.
But once the point stops, and for the next 15 seconds before the next serve you are likely using aerobic calories. And your heart rate is starting to fall.
And a game may be over in as little as 4 points.
Aces or missed returns result in our heart rate falling.
Many points are over after just a couple of hit balls.
We change sides after every other game.
Few play best of 5 set matches.
Most play tiebreakers.
Although tennis is a "good workout", there is plenty of time for the heart rate to fall so that a heart rate monitor is probably not the best indicator of whether a tennis player is using aerobic or anaerobic mechanisms.
I certainly can "feel" more taxed playing full court pickup basketball (without refs for frequent whistles), than in playing tennis.
I haven't worn my heart rate monitor playing basketball. (One team is usually "skins" - it would just look too weird.)
But wearing it a few times playing tennis the heart rate stays much higher with continuous rally practice using 6 balls than playing sets.
Still, I think I am burning calories anaerobically during the long points playing sets.
^^ It all becomes a little academic after a while I guess trying to define exactly what is anaerobic vs. aerobic when it comes to tennis.
But I think to answer the OP's question, playing multiple tennis matches each week and working in a track interval session should present no over-training problems IMO as a tennis match is a far cry from a proper hard interval session.
Basically, I don't think tennis and hard track intervals are really very much related training-wise.
Historic View -Archibald Hill
If you like the historic view
See "Hill's challenge to biochemists, 1950"
(Hill also had some things to say about the stretch-shortening cycle that are important for athletics.)
Honestly, I found that at my level of play I was sufficiently fit to handle any 3set match simply by having one non-stop hour and a half long hitting session per week.
Just playing 3 games of 21 with little rest you will hit way more balls than you will in a 3 set match and be far more gassed.
I'm not sure how that applies to 5.0 and higher players, but watch a WTA match even. Some of the top players aren't exactly in great shape. Kvitova has love handles, Serena ain't sleek. I think long distance running for tennis is way overrated.
By the way, I don't think long distance is good for tennis. Long distance and tennis use muscles totally differently. Judging from the body build of top tennis players, tennis is probably close to short-to-medium distance running (long distance=thin, lean; sprinter=muscular). Actually, this goes to the very topic that I wanted to raise in my OP.
Because you mentioned 'anaerobic' my replies have been oriented to that interesting subject. I used to eat lunch at 12 and then play tennis at 4:30 PM after work. My energy in the 2nd set would crash. I believe that nutrition timing issues are often related to losing energy in a tennis match.
Another issue is that heavy exercise requires recovery time, the over training that you mention. That is less related to the nutrition timing and more related to allowing muscles time to recovery. For circuit training + tennis both nutrition and time for muscle recovery seem important.
When I was younger I would play a lot of singles tennis throughout the summer. By each August my thighs would have increased in size. The size increase indicated that the tennis alone was causing quad hypertrophy and probably some recovery after matches would have been called for. My doubles now does not produce quad hypertrophy, I need the gym for that.
In other words, I don't know how much rest is good when doing both circuit training and tennis. But I would be especially aware both of the glycogen nutrition issue and muscle recovery.
Taking your question to the next level there have been TW threads on 'periodization' for goals of serious muscle hypertrophy and tennis. The approach emphasizes each over a different period. I guess that the tennis pros are often using periodization.
Reference: Periodization Training for Sports, T. Bompa, M. Carrera
As is often the case, the devil is in the details. I think many, many different training plans can get you "tennis fit".
I do agree with 2x a week of interval schedule but this is a bit of a loaded question. It is difficult to determine under or overtraining from the information provided. What exactly does your interval training session look like? How many hours do you play matches, practice, and do other fitness each week? How intense? etc.
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