Originally Posted by vin
I think it was you who recently pointed out that Agassi benches over 300 lbs. You don't think that helps his forehand? Do you not think that's 'bulking up'. You don't get that strong without growing some new muscle, and you can't grow new muscle without eating more calories than you use through daily activities.
The challenge for a tennis player is to become as strong as possible without packing on too much extra weight. That's a tough thing to do. However, I think being stronger provides enough benefit to overcome the disadvantage of being heavier - within moderation. I think the 170 - 180 lb weight range for someone just under 6', maybe even a bit heavier, is ok for tennis. You'd be surprised how much muscle you can have packed on at this weight.
Here's something to think about ...
I played seriously in high school at about 130 lbs. I stopped playing after high school but picked up weight lifting. When I started tennis again, I was around 180 lbs. But despite the extra 50 lbs, I'm much faster and I hit the ball harder with less effort.
In regards to your bodybuilder reference, competitive bodybuilders train only for size and definition. Their goal is presentation. Athletes lift weights to gain strength and stability. Their goal is functional. Just because you're lifting weights, even if they're heavy weights, doesn't mean you're 'training like a bodybuilder'. Is Agassi a bodybuilder because he can bench press over 300 lbs? And do you think there's a lot of decatheletes that can bench that much? It's possible, but I highly doubt it. The more endurance based a sport is, the harder it is for it's athlete to maintain muscle.
I think too many tennis players are like many women with respect to weightlifting. They have the gross misconception that if they touch a weight, they are going to become huge like Arnold.
Anyone who is healthy, in good shape, and is looking to get stronger for tennis can't go wrong with picking a few good compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin ups, incline bench press, etc, and trying to add a few pounds each week.
I agree that flexibility and speed are important also. Especially flexibility. My main point is that tennis players shouldn't be so afraid of 'bulking up'. It's hard to gain muscle without gaining a little fat, just keep it under control. Give it a try and you'll realize how much work it is to put on just a few pounds of new muscle.
Hmm I'm just under 6 feet, well 5'10" actually, and I am 110 pounds. I have decent muscle, just wished I had a bit more =P
And that last sentence you wrote, how true...However, I couldn't put on body fat if I wanted to, so I just gain weight by working out.